I’m watching TV and an advertisement for a home monitoring service from my cable company comes on. I grab my tablet, do a little research and start the order. After watching the hourglass spin for an uncomfortable amount of time, a message is displayed that says “We cannot process your on-line order at this time, please call XXX-XXX-XXXX and we’ll be happy to help you.” If I’m in a charitable mood, I might call and get sent to an overnight call center overseas, listen to an IVR and get put on hold. Then I hang up.
Orders are the first interaction where customers experience a level of service from an operator. They are asking and you are delivering. Customers don’t care that the connection to the server where the Order Management system is hosted isn’t big enough or fast enough. All they know is that you can’t deliver what you have clearly offered. Even though everything is in place to deliver home monitoring, customers can’t order it.
Clearly, the operator has lost control of the Order Management process. If that process was outsourced, chances are it wouldn’t change going forward. The managed services provider is meeting the terms of the agreement and the fact that an on-line order hang up was followed by a live caller hang up would not be noticed in the metrics that determine the SLA. However, if the operator owns the order-to-cash process, transaction data, customer data, and the OSS/BSS that delivers it; changes can be made, processes improved and that scenario won’t be repeated the next time a potential customer tries to order using any channel. Also, the data would be available to reach out to the customer, apologize and offer them an incentive to complete their on-line order.
Too Close for Comfort
When it comes to Order Management, CRM, product catalog, and channel management; most operators are not willing to risk outsourcing these complex and critical customer-facing processes. Orders are too close to the customer to risk losing control of the process by outsourcing. Unlike bill printing, cable installation, or other processes that are well defined and understood; order management is dynamic and interacts with numerous OSS/BSS, data, partners, and third party providers. The process is complex with a lot of moving parts that may need to be quickly tuned or adjusted once a product is rolled out and orders start coming in. If your employees, who are experienced with the OM system and well-trained with respect to the new product offering, experience a problem or notice a glitch – they’ll tell you and it will get fixed. Contractors that do this for multiple customers will likely not notice these anomalies or investigate the cause.
Problems will occur and issues will arise regardless of who owns the systems and data, but the ability to quickly adjust and solve customer-facing problems is critical. In this hyper-competitive market for retail connected services, operators may only get one chance to impress a customer. Do you really want to trust that to a third party?
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