Even before “COVID” began entering our lexicon, we had started witnessing a shift in the long-established customer categories used in our industry, which until then, were seemingly set in stone.
For communication & media service providers, the typical customer was residential, and the contact person was an individual based at a fixed address. The SMB customer on the other hand was perceived as a small law firm, a dentist clinic or similar, while business or enterprise customers were large companies or public sector organizations such as a municipality, hospital and so on. The common denominator was the primary way they were categorized: by the number of devices connected concurrently to the network at a certain location.
In the residential sector especially, COVID-19 changed everything, re-shaping everything from our homes and families to our learning, shopping experiences, working environment and beyond. It heralded a new way of living, where everything had to be available online and private residences began doubling as small/medium business entities. In effect, the residential and SMB sectors had merged into one.
Yet today, when we view the average household through the traditional means of number of concurrent connected devices, the customer of the past and the present remains effectively the same.
Even so, a paradigm shift has clearly occurred, with multiple implications for our industry. Examples include the types of services being offered by service providers, as well as customer expectations in terms of service quality and availability. This is further augmented by the rapid and exponential increase in the popularity of gaming, eBanking, eShopping, eHealth and eLearning.
To keep residential/SMB users happy, service providers need to provide them with a reliable home network – meaning, their Wi-Fi needs to address the demand of all household users. This includes those working from home more frequently, those using the services mentioned above, and in the future, those who will be accessing 3D conference meetings and more.
To help service providers address this challenge, Amdocs is committed to addressing the needs of today, while helping them get ready for tomorrow – namely, by accompanying them on the journey to monetizing next-generation fiber and 5G networks. For example, we’re helping them enhance their customer journeys (e.g. self-service/self-care by profile, contact center bots) and we’re helping them make their services digitally accessible through initiatives such as virtual stores and intelligent queuing. We’re also helping them expand their online services to support new lines of business (e.g., e-Shopping, e-Banking, e-Learning and more). But crucially, we’re also establishing the groundwork that allows them to prepare for the exponential increase they can expect in data service consumption.
So while the traditional residential customer may no longer exist, the opportunities for monetizing the rapidly expanding “new” SMB market will provide more than ample compensation. For service providers, the biggest challenge is to be ready – and that means partnering with a company like Amdocs, who can accompany them along the journey.
About the author: Iris Harel is Sales Leader, IC&M Division, Amdocs