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Transforming Enterprise Experience: CSPs' Holistic Customer Journey Approach
Mon, 28th Aug 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape, enterprises work with multiple providers, setting high expectations. Cloud and IT companies have raised the bar with their instant on-demand services. To meet these standards, CSPs must seamlessly manage every customer journey stage, ensuring no gaps from exploration to billing. By investing in the customer journey, CSPs can address client needs and pain points, fostering deeper partnerships and unlocking upselling opportunities. Furthermore, by offering value-added services such as managed IoT, cybersecurity, and digital solutions, CSPs can expand their market share.

Recently, GlobalData and Amdocs conducted a survey of 345 executives from North America, Europe, and Asia who are responsible for buying IT and communications services for their organizations. They wanted to understand the stages of the customer journey that are most important to enterprises. The survey showed that each stage of the journey is valued by at least 10% of respondents, and no single stage was most important to more than 35%. This means that CSPs must invest in enhancing each customer touchpoint and can't ignore any one part of the customer journey. The most important stage is Provisioning and Implementation, followed by Service Performance and Service Exploration. Contracting and Ongoing Maintenance and Support are also important but have less impact on overall service performance.

During each stage of the customer journey, enterprises value different attributes. In the Service Exploration stage, they want accurate and consistent information about product features and functionality. In the Contracting stage, they look for flexible payment options that best fit their business needs. During Provisioning and Implementation, getting what they ordered without errors is critical. In the Service Performance stage, enterprises want their agreed-upon service level agreements (SLAs) to be met, and they want to monitor their purchased solutions easily. Finally, in the Maintenance and Support stage, customers value quick problem resolution. The survey found that meeting SLAs, flexible payment options, and quick problem resolution are the most important attributes throughout the customer journey, and CSPs need to prioritize these areas to enhance the customer experience.

Although CSPs are generally perceived to offer a superior customer experience, survey results yielded troubling findings. Over a third of respondents reported that their careers were negatively impacted due to poor delivery, and 38% reported CSPs failing to deliver contracted services three or more times over the past year. Understanding how customers rate CSP performance can improve the customer experience, and survey results show there's room for improvement across all stages of the customer lifecycle.

The customer journey has satisfaction gaps that CSPs need to address. Enterprises need seamless integration during provisioning, timely communication during contracting, and proactive support during maintenance. CSPs should invest in improved processes and backend systems, offer self-service features, and use AI to predict customer needs and improve the customer experience.

If a service provider fails to deliver, it can tarnish their reputation, hinder upselling, and even lead to customer churn. Survey respondents said incorrect or late service delivery and not meeting SLAs are reasons to switch CSPs. CSPs must prioritize the provisioning and implementation stage and continue to focus on service performance. Ignoring these factors can lead to enterprises choosing another CSP.

The survey data reveals that a significant number of respondents faced issues in the past two years. Incorrect service delivery, late service delivery, and SLA breaches were the most common problems reported. To tackle these issues, better visibility and closer integration are needed between order management and fulfilment. Service assurance should also be improved to reduce SLA breaches. Lack of a unified dashboard and difficulty in configuring and integrating services are other reasons that could prompt customers to switch providers. CSPs need to upgrade their CPQ systems, unified catalogues, and self-service ordering interfaces to improve customer retention.

It's apparent that several transformation endeavours have fallen short of their projected outcomes. Many of these transformations encounter impediments in terms of slower progress or escalated costs,  predominantly attributed to the intricate nature of the chosen solution landscape. The presence of numerous vendors and service delivery teams, unfortunately, often leads to suboptimal levels of collaboration and efficiency. This complexity further adds to the challenge of managing the environment effectively, consequently resulting in extended timelines for introducing new services to the market.

Many enterprises prefer to work with a vendor that understands their needs and challenges. CSPs seem to have successfully conveyed this message, with 43% of respondents indicating that CSPs best understand their unique business requirements. Enterprises report that CSPs have cultivated sales teams that can help them navigate complex implementations. They are the least likely vendor to be dropped from an enterprise's partner ecosystem, given their positive standing. CSPs are well positioned to grow enterprise partnerships and should communicate their capabilities, build partner ecosystems, and develop professional services to better support enterprise adoption of new solutions and features.

In conclusion, the journey to enhancing the customer experience for CSPs is an intricate undertaking that requires careful attention at every touchpoint. The insights drawn from the collaborative survey conducted by GlobalData and Amdocs highlight the significance of each stage in the customer journey. With no single stage emerging as overwhelmingly crucial, CSPs are tasked with a holistic approach to addressing client needs. By investing in seamless provisioning, meeting SLAs, and delivering flexible solutions, they can establish themselves as trusted partners in a B2B environment. The roadmap ahead calls for upgrading systems and adapting technology and processes to evolving customer expectations. In a dynamic landscape, CSPs have the opportunity to redefine excellence and create lasting relationships that truly make it amazing for their customers.