Monday, June 7, 2010

Do Customers Want Telcos/Technology to Slow Down or Speed Up? A Revenue Assurance Perspective

When I present at Revenue Assurance conferences, I like pretending to be stupid – largely because, being a relatively young guy, it’s often difficult for people to take me seriously and believe I know what I’m talking about.

One of the ways I pretend to be dumb is I tell the audience I love working in telecoms because telecoms is about old things – it’s the same stuff we’ve always done, it’s boring, predictable and nothing ever changes. By that point the conference organizers are usually looking nervously for a way to yank me off the stage, until they realize I’m just joking.

The other way I pretend to be dumb, is I talk about why telcos exist – I say that telcos are here to perform science experiments, that we’re artists looking to create perfect things of beauty, and most of all, that we exist because we love our customers.

But the truth is, whether we in Revenue Assurance actually love our customers or not (and you know me, I LOVE everything), we work in a special industry called telecoms, and in telecoms, we torture customers for fun.

Now that may be a bit harsh (and hopefully a bit funny), but it’s absolutely true – I don’t know of a single person who’s never had a bad experience getting their telecoms services to work the way they’re supposed to. And obviously this matters to Revenue Assurance, because when customers churn, that absolutely affects your telco’s revenue share.

But whatever the implications for Revenue Assurance, you have to know I’m not saying any of this means we should actually torture customers for fun, and I’m certainly not saying telcos shouldn’t do their best to improve customer service – I’m just saying there’s a reason why things are the way they are.

And the reason is because telecoms is not about old things, it’s always about new things. When you have new things all the time the way telcos do, I don’t know if it’s humanly possible not to have things be messy and chaotic. But if that’s the case, why are telcos so obsessed with doing new things, even when it causes so much pain for their customers?

In my opinion, the truth is that telcos actually do love their customers and are being as responsible as they know how, by giving customers what they really want. Because despite what anyone might say when they’re cancelling their service (usually prices are too high and customer service is bad – something I’ll address in another post), telco customers only really want one thing – they want what’s new, and they want it now.

They want new technologies, they want new price plans, they want new services, new gadgets, new phones, new functionality – all they want is new new new new new. And they want it now now now now now.

And because we who work in the telco really do love our customers (especially if we’re in Revenue Assurance), we give them exactly what they want – as much “new” as they can handle, as fast as we possibly can.

If we didn’t do that, we would be ignoring what our customers most want and what they trust us best to do. And you know as well as I do, that customers are willing to let us torture them for fun, as long as they can get the newest thing as fast as possible.

So the next time you complain about how your job as a Revenue Assurance professional is so difficult because things always change, remember this: the tail cannot wag the dog and we cannot do things backwards.

If we work in telecoms, things are always going to be new. So if you want to work in this industry you’ve got learn to love change and love new things as much I do. Because when it comes down to it, I have to love change and new things, because I work in Revenue Assurance.

And that’s why I LOVE Revenue Assurance.

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