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Technology is advancing at a blistering pace, and the pandemic has brought digitalisation to the fore, with the world gaining a renewed appreciation for how crucial connectivity is in every aspect of our lives. With digitalisation taking centre stage, 5G is becoming more important than ever, for the transformation of the telecoms industry but also global economies on a larger scale. 

5G's continued momentum through 2020 opened new opportunities for telcos and forced them to rethink their existing business models and how they engage with their customers, who increasingly demand a digital customer experience. Telecom Review caught up with James Kirby, SVP EMEA at CSG to get his view on what telcos can do to approach and benefit from the new opportunities.

To begin with, can you explain what the most common challenge your customers are dealing with and how CSG helps them?

Customer experience and business model transformation continue to be the most pressing issues. There are typically two types of companies we are working with, start-ups that are building from the ground-up and traditional enterprises that have strong legacy businesses but understand the need to move to a digital platform model. We enable start-ups to launch fast, whereas our support in terms of traditional enterprises is focused around leveraging and protecting their core business while expanding new digital offerings. In both cases, it is about delivering an exceptional experience for the end consumer to drive loyalty.

Why is customer experience more critical now than ever to get right?

The short answer is that customer experience must be at the centre of whatever a company does, because new technology, increasing mobility, and growing connectivity have changed the expectations – they have evolved, and you must keep up!

Modern customers have already had a taste of good customer experience through access to a variety of new digital payment options. Now they expect proactive, personalised, and seamless experiences on par with the service they get from major digital players like Amazon, Netflix, and Uber.

The biggest customer experience request we see coming from our clients is to help them organise their systems and behind-the-scenes processes and enable them to map out the best way to engage with customers, at each stage of their customer lifecycle. To deliver the right message, at the right time, on the right channel, they also need support in leveraging new technology, such as conversational AI and journey orchestration, to surprise and delight their customers while building trust and loyalty.

How can the traditional and expensive “transformation trap” be avoided?

At CSG we are focusing on helping our customers build adaptable digital businesses that have the flexibility and agility to evolve and change as market and customer demands change. That is what digital business evolution is all about for us.

Big, expensive transformation projects are failing to deliver real ROI because it is a myth that any business can ever be done evolving and transforming alongside ever-changing market and customer demands.

Having systems and processes that are interconnected is only the starting point - telecom companies need to focus on business model transformation now. Companies that can expand their business model, stay customer-obsessed, and connect the company culture and operations around the transformation will succeed. 

What should telcos be focusing on to make a profit in the world of 5G?

First and foremost, they need to focus on using their networks to offer value-added services. Telecom companies have built their business on connectivity, but to take that next step to maximise profit will require new digital business models and strategic partnerships. They will need to stand up digital ecosystems that can manage revenue-sharing with different partners to deliver value-added services to customers and retain them over 5G.

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