The notion of customer service excellence is timeless, but exactly what it entails evolves continuously.
In our business – the delivery of a new world of communications – customer service used to revolve around uptime and availability statistics. Customer visits to one of our network operation centres were often used as a way to build relationships, and at the same time demonstrate the quality of our service.
In the evolving digital world, customer service excellence has moved on. Organisations are keen to extract more business value from their technology investments. They expect suppliers to partner with them, share insights and add value. In recent years, this has led many product suppliers to develop consultancy offerings that aim to commercialise customer service.
While there is much validity in that model, there are other ways to add value. At Tata Communications, for instance, we listened carefully to ways that we could help our customers and closely examined how we could utilise our own knowledge and resources to meet those needs.
As you might expect, in running the world’s largest fibre optic network, Tata Communications has outstanding performance management capabilities and reams of network operations data. In recognising its value, and how it could help our customers, we were able to build data-centric services for customers.
It is a B2B technology equivalent to Amazon using its books sales data to drive its recommendations engine. “People who bought this book, also bought that book,” is not far from the principles of benchmarking network performance based on similar sized companies addressing equivalent tasks and workloads.
By using our vast bank of data smartly, we are now able to feed meaningful performance data straight into our customers’ own IT and network management tools, to strengthen their performance and aid strategic IT planning.
Our ability to feed organisations with critical data to help them improve performance has been warmly welcomed. Our customers tell us that, in particular, it is helping to manage the move towards software defined networks.
By using our network data smartly, we’ve created a significant value-add for our customers. Not only that but, by creating modules that can be easily integrated into our customers’ systems using standard APIs, we’ve largely automated that value add too.
It means our customers are not having to pay a premium for an additional service, but that they are receiving a level of customer service excellence from Tata Communications that gives us a genuine market differentiator in an industry that is often seen as a commodity.
Customers will always want to visit a network operation centre once in a while, but they get far more value from the continuous supply of network data. In a fast evolving world, that’s what we believe counts as customer service excellence.
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