Real Time Communications Featured Article

Service Providers - It's Time to Step Up to the Digital Plate

February 08, 2016

How have your communications needs changed in the past few years? Have your habits dictated the way you get in touch with others or has the development of innovative technologies simply offered you a better way to get things done? Either way, the demand for real-time communications and the availability of more than we could have imagined just a few years ago is changing the way we connect.

We’ve come to be comfortable in our digital lives and the innovation isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Look at companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon. Each is paving the way for the use of the digital identity as a way to navigate. The digital identity is the next wave of giving consumers exactly what we want, when we want it. This digital identity is characterized by rapid innovation, fragmentation and reconsolidation, generational shifts and the balance between user privacy and user data.

In the midst of all of this is the service provider. An Inform article highlights the unusual relationship between the consumer and the service provider. While the latter has provided much of the infrastructure and the devices that we use in this digital transformation, we still tend to interact with these same companies through non-digital means. Too often, we spend time on the phone with the call center, receive bills via snail mail and track SIM cards.

In the day and age of the cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), why haven’t service providers moved into enabling real-time communications? Case in point – I needed to add a device to our mobile plan a few weeks ago. The service provider happens to have about four different websites customers can use to interact and the site needed is all dependent upon the type of account. While mine is a business account, there are actually three different options that indicate they are all business accounts.

It’s not the first time I’ve logged into the account, but it’s been long enough that I could remember which one I needed. But I really shouldn’t have to remember – the site should remember me and take me right to the page I need so I can easily manage my account. Given the amount of money I send this service provider every month, they should do this and much more. Instead, they make the website interaction experience frustrating and send me snail mail once a month, offering me technology they don’t even offer in my area.

This is nothing short of a number of missed opportunities. In the digital revolution, almost everything we do we expect in real-time communications. And the availability of instant connections is driving a number of trends, such as the Sharing Economy, which demands a flexible data model; the customer journey, which demands personalization; and the enabling of partnerships through the App Exchange, which drives true real-time communications in everything from eCommerce to task management.

Today’s consumer demands bigger and better from service providers, especially in the way they interact. It’s time the service provider take advantage of the very technology they helped enable and embrace real-time communications capabilities – and stop with the snail mail already.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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