Are our OSS / BSS contributing to customer churn?

Some simple principles:
– Software can change faster than hardware, which means that in changing markets, bet on software.
– It’s tempting to treat the user interface as a piece of fashion, some bling, a sort of jewelry. It’s not. It’s the way your user controls the tool you build. Change it when it stops working, not when you’re bored with it. Every time you change the interface, you better have a really good reason.
– Hardware always gets cheaper. If you can’t win that race, don’t run it.
– Getting users is far more expensive than keeping users, which means that investing in keeping users is the smartest way to maintain your position and then grow.
– Software can create connection, and connection is the engine of our future economy
Seth Godin
here in “Hardware is sexy but it’s software that matters”.

Some great principles there from Seth Godin (as usual).

In particular, the fourth is an interesting one for OSS / BSS. When we’re commissioning our OSS / BSS, I’m usually thinking of doing the best install I can, the best Engineering solution possible, which will hopefully allow us to keep this customer happy. I suspect this mindset is quite common in the industry. However, there’s something of a flaw in this mindset. You see, a customer will only keep using us if our solutions make them profitable in some way, so there is an implication that if we help our customers keep their users, then they will in turn have money for us to extend or improve their OSS / BSS.

I’ve recently worked on an assignment that is slightly removed from OSS, getting to see customer feedback on the services that they’ve bought from my customer (a service provider). From that feedback it is quite clear that customers are churning due to the hassles they’ve had with faults, billing problems and processing fallouts. All of these are the almost direct responsibility of OSS / BSS.

Whilst OSS / BSS, particularly some of the advanced analytics tools that are becoming commonplace, are helping to predict and reduce churn, we can also see that our OSS / BSS are also a significant contributor to customer churn too. Some relates to commissioning problems (eg incomplete scenario testing), some due to processes (eg a transaction traversing multiple disparate systems) and others just due to complexity (eg the number of possible variants can’t be fully tested).

We need to collectively get better control of this.

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