The Canadian Telecom Summit 2014 was held at the Toronto Congress Centre earlier this month. In one of his speeches during the course of the event, Rogers CEO Guy Laurence, made a bold statement – as an industry, telecom was resorting to complex pricing plans and methods that was not helping their customers get productive. One example of productivity that Guy mentioned was with respect to resolving issues through a call centre. Guy said that a lot of people do not want to talk to a call center person regarding these complexities because that inevitably stretches the discussion to 30 minutes or more. People want to go online and fix their problem in 3 minutes, not 30.
What Guy mentioned illustrates the growing need for telecom operators to make their after-sales support and service seamless and frictionless. With telecom operators today offering a wide range of services from landline, wireless, broadband, business networking, broadband TV, etc., customers find it cumbersome simply juggling through the various options thrown at them by the IVRS before they can talk to a customer service representative.
The good news is that the telecom operators are already looking at ways to streamline the operations. Guy Laurence is only six months into his job and has announced plans to streamline operations within the company to increase customer productivity. Rogers is not alone. One of the other companies that is seen to taking up rapid strides in this area is Manitoba based AllStream. Last month, AllStream became the first major telecom network in Canada to be MEF CE 2.0 certified. In a press release, AllStream noted that this certification is an acknowledgement of process innovation in their E-Line and E-Access line of carrier ethernet network services. These services in the company’s portfolio are aimed at simplifying the network infrastructure for organizations in multiple locations.
The announcement of simplification of processes is a great step for better telecom infrastructure in Canada. A study published by The School Of Public Policy last year noted that while the pricing policies of Canadian telecom providers was not out of the ordinary and compared well with similar markets worldwide, one of the main reasons that is ailing the sector is ‘political interference’ which in turn has been the reason for the general lack of innovation within the industry.
Various studies have shown that Canada is witnessing robust growth in modern telecom services including wireless technology. The subscriptions and consequently the revenue growth have been multi-fold over the past decade or two. The rapid growth could often make old restrictive practices redundant. The need of the hour is then for the government to take a re-look at all the policies and amend them in order to ensure telecom carriers can grow freely and widely in future. This, and the competition that will ensue will be the primary driver for simplification and process improvements that this industry so desperately needs.