Redefining and Improving the Customer Experience: An Innovative Strategy for Long-term Mutual Value

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1 POSITION PAPER Redefining and Improving the Customer Experience: An Innovative Strategy for Long-term Mutual Value Authored by Steve Hauck VP, Customer Experience Re-engineering Date: September 2009

2 Q uestion: When does an organization know they are delivering a superior customer experience? Answer: When existing customers recommend that experience to other businesses. Corollary: Global Crossing has no peer in the telecommunications industry for delivering a superior customer experience and for fostering a culture where innovation flourishes and customers are the highest priority. It s clear that Global Crossing outshines its competition when it comes to customer experience. In the 2009 Crystal Ball report published by Telemark Services Ltd., a market research firm, Global Crossing garnered the highest percentage of customers willing to recommend their current provider, compared to all the other network service providers included in the survey. Our vision of the customer experience is simple: to delight our customers. We aim to offer customers visibility and control coupled with world-class customer support. To that end, we are focusing much of our innovation on developing tools that will enable customers to access realtime information, as well as quickly analyze their network and instantaneously execute business decisions that are intrinsic to their day-to-day success. Steve Hauck, VP Customer Experience Re-engineering Behind this powerful statistic there is a compelling story. It s the story of how one company in a commodity business dominated by well-known brands took a unique, straightforward approach to improving the customer experience and came out a winner. Simply, Global Crossing asked customers to define what the customer experience means to them and then implemented changes, programs and technology based on this input and collaboration. The company fosters a culture where mutual value flourishes as a result of putting the customer first. Simple? Perhaps. Elegant? Surely. Effective? Absolutely! This approach has been implemented and re-enforced in the following ways: a methodology of Ask. Listen. Act. Learn. that drives mutual value through a continuous cycle of customer feedback, strategic investments and innovation; a service assurance co-development project that has resulted in the creation of a new customer service portal for improved ease of use and efficiency; and a global organizational structure that moves Global Crossing closer to its regional customers. A Complex Landscape for Telecom Services For today s enterprise user, the telecommunications landscape has become much more complex with an ever-increasing number of technologies, products, services, applications, devices and business needs vying for mindshare. As a service provider, rising above the at par components like product, capability or price, and offering end users a differentiated experience that delivers perceived value, is the end game. The secret to growth for the service provider lies in their ability to partner with their customers while 1

3 building enduring relationships with them based on the steady delivery of positive experiences over the course of the lifecycle. While availability of communication services still matters, customers are now, more and more often, judging quality of service based on experiences throughout the lifecycle of their service provider relationship. Metrics like activation and provisioning times, interactive services responsiveness, self-service portal availability, phone wait times and first-contact issue resolution, combined with softer metrics like the extent to which a customer will recommend their provider now feed the higher expectations that drive customer loyalty. A Mission to Consistently Raise the Bar and Delight the Customer How can you differentiate? Not on network and availability these are table stakes. The focus now is on Customer Experience and bringing products and services to market. Patrick Kelly, Analysis Mason / OSS Observer In this environment, delivering a consistent, high-quality, innovative customer experience can be quite complicated. Within telecom, customer experience is generally defined as the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. It can also mean an individual, memorable experience during just one transaction. Global Crossing thinks customer experience means constantly improving the quality of support and service it provides at all touch points: from something as seemingly straightforward as how proposals are generated to how Global Crossing provides hands-on support and ongoing trouble-shooting. Global Crossing s dedication to delivering a quality experience during all stages of the customer life cycle and the fostering of a customerfirst employee culture has resulted in an over-arching differentiation for the company. It s this differentiation that infuses the organization and sets it apart from the competition. It is imminently deliverable, and measurable, through a very structured approach via our people, our processes and our systems. Anthony D. Christie, CTO/CIO Early internal results show that this innovative approach to providing a superior customer experience has strengthened customer loyalty directly translating into revenue growth and increased profitability. According to the Comverse CRM Customer Needs Q4 08 Study, the top five customer management goals are, in order of priority: retain customers, reduce costs, minimize the time to launch new services, add new revenue streams and reduce the cost associated with acquiring new customers. Global Crossing concurs. Today, 75 percent of the company s growth comes from existing customers. In addition, more than 90 percent of Global Crossing s customers remained loyal to the organization during its restructuring in Additionally, Global Crossing s customer satisfaction scores for the second quarter of 2009 demonstrate that the company has a competitive advantage across six important customer-facing categories including Overall Satisfaction, 2

4 Account Support Team, Customer Service Center, Service Activity Support, Billing Support, and Overall Value. And, in terms of Network Performance, Global Crossing is on a par with its competitors. For the second quarter of 2009, 96 percent of customers were satisfied and 70 percent were very satisfied. This outpaces Global Crossing s competitors where only 55 percent of customers were very satisfied. While customer satisfaction scores are valuable metrics, they are perceived by some as a point-in-time measurement. Customer loyalty, in contrast, is based on a long-standing set of performance criteria. These include: Are your customers very satisfied? Are your customers willing to stay with you? Are your customers willing to recommend you? According to this study, customers are much more likely to recommend Global Crossing than one of its competitors. Seventy percent of customers were extremely likely to recommend Global Crossing compared to only 58 percent who were extremely likely to recommend a competitor. A Proven Customer Experience Methodology What does all this mean? How are customer experience issues identified, improvements made and new practices implemented? Global Crossing s approach to improving customer experience is a four step process: Ask, Listen, Act and Learn. These steps reflect new learning into all seven of the touch points. Put differently, the 360 degree sequence suggests a continuous cycle of customer feedback. This feedback directly impacts the strategic imperatives which drive how and where to innovate and ultimately, the benefits delivered. Customers, as the company has proven, will stick around if they are getting what they seek, which ultimately drives value on both sides of the relationship. Ask, Listen, Act and Learn are, in effect, a foundation for enterprise-wide improvement and the delivery of long-term, mutual value. Ask: Global Crossing uses several techniques to gather feedback and rich insights from customers, including customer satisfaction surveys, customer forums and transactional surveys deployed within 72 hours of an installation or trouble-shooting request. Listen: Listening has become formalized. Customer-facing personnel, such as salespeople, operations or customer support staffers, who are on the front lines with the customer, assess, evaluate and weigh input from both customers and customer advocates. Act: Armed with new information and insights, Global Crossing is reengineering processes and systems to give customers what they say in surveys and face-to-face meetings will deliver a superior experience. 3

5 The Lifecycle of the Customer Experience A customer s perception of an organization evolves and shapes over the course of numerous interactions. During the course of buying products and services, customers can experience an entire range of encounters from positive to negative, during the different touch points of the lifecycle -- Quote, Order, Service Delivery, Billing, Service Assurance, Inventory Management and Account Services. Learn: Improving the customer experience is an ongoing process. The feedback loop is continuous, providing constant opportunities to learn from customers and then apply that knowledge in ways that will have maximum impact to help our customers be successful. Also embedded in Global Crossing s approach to customer experience is a final step: Repeat, which illustrates the value Global Crossing places on feedback. A Superior Customer Experience in Action: Improving Service Assurance and Introducing an Enhanced ucommand As Global Crossing continues its journey to perfect the customer experience, it has learned that across the industry customers are demanding greater value during the service delivery and service assurance phases of the interaction. Global Crossing believes that each and every employee is either directly or indirectly connected to at least one phase in the lifecycle and that it is at each one of these touch points of experience that it strives to improve and continuously build on the value it delivers. In order to address these issues as robustly as possible, Global Crossing invited four customers to trial a prototype and offer feedback. These organizations were representatives of the distribution/transportation, education, financial services and market research segments. They have global networks and a good working relationship with Global Crossing. The goal behind this development work was to provide a fully open, transparent environment to work as a group to define the requirements for a powerful new service assurance prototype. Ultimately, the outcome of the feedback gathered during the trial resulted in the development of certain key features of Global Crossing s electronic customer portal, ucommand, which provides 24x7 online access to provision, troubleshoot, control, monitor, support and manage services. These features include: a customized dashboard based on network map views real time monitoring of their network and IP services (performance, alarming, utilization) enhanced issue resolution self-serve changes to their services visibility to open order status 4

6 The trial generated very positive, measurable results. For example, the average time between a customer request being placed and the assignment of a technician, decreased by 36 percent. The mean time to repair improved by 11 percent. And the cycle of Ask. Listen. Act. Learn. continues. Additional feedback aggregated during later stages of the trial is currently being refined and integrated into the development of Global Crossing s new enhanced ucommand. With the beta imminent, enhanced ucommand will provide clients with a view of their networks that parallels that of Global Crossing s Network Operating Center (NOC) engineers. With this transparency, clients are empowered to review the health of their network beyond traditional toolsets, and are able to fully interact using a graphical interface to make real-time changes. The Service Assurance Prototype gave customers what they ve been asking for one global virtual support center, one robust customer portal, one view of the customer s inventory, and one issue management system. By several measures, we delivered significant improvements, and the feedback from customers in the trial has been exceptionally positive. Steve Hauck, VP Customer Experience Re-Engineering Among other improvements, enhanced ucommand will give customers three views topographical, logical, tabular of their networks and circuits; the ability to see real-time circuit performance data; a display of edge alarms; and automated trouble ticketing directly from alarm consoles. It also provides one place to obtain circuit configuration details, open a ticket, see alarms, view performance statistics, and confirm their products and services. Global Crossing also responded to customers requests for more self-service control, by letting customers choose how and when they use the portal and the degree of personal attention they receive from a Global Crossing customer service representative. Clients appreciate the ability to make change requests on their own schedule and access information at their fingertips, but when they reach an impasse or need some assistance Global Crossing is still there to jump in and provide personalized assistance. Global Reorganization Changes to Support Customers To help Global Crossing better serve and support customers in the various regions and channels that it serves, the company also recently reorganized into Customer Facing Units (CFUs). This model was designed to ensure operational excellence and the highest levels of customer responsiveness, while acknowledging regional and cultural differences that importantly dictate how clients want to be served at the regional level. The functions of access management, client support, and service delivery are now decentralized to support each CFU on a dedicated basis. Today, Global Crossing has CFUs for North America, EMEA, Latin America and Worldwide Carrier Services. Customer Experience at Global Crossing: A Two-Way Value Proposition 5 Customer loyalty is a hard-earned by-product of a consistently high-quality experience based on persistent and ongoing improvements in quality and support. Additionally the degree to which a company is willing to take the initiative to be a business partner, rather than just a service provider, should be acknowledged.

7 About Global Crossing The industry leader in next generation global communications Leading provider of global IP solutions with the world s first integrated, global IPbased network. Today s businesses expect more; certainly more than just product or price. Customers today want to participate in a positive pleasant, actually interaction, at every stage of the process, whether during contracting, service delivery or billing. Every interaction is an opportunity for the service provider or vendor to build their relationship and drive longer term loyalty with that customer. Preference and permanence. Service providers today, if they re smart, have acknowledged today s new Ps for long-term mutual value. The company offers a full range of secure data, voice, and video products to approximately 40 percent of the Fortune 500, as well as to 700 carriers, mobile operators and ISPs. Total IP backbone traffic reached 1.87 Tbps in September 2009, up 43 percent from the same period in Delivers services to more than 690 cities in more than 60 countries and six continents around the globe. Total IP Interconnected minutes are up 28 percent to 3.15 billion from a year ago Global Crossing Holdings Ltd. Global Crossing and the 7 Cable Design are registered trademarks of Global Crossing Holdings Ltd. and ucommand is a registered service mark of Global Crossing Ltd. in the United States and other countries. Some services are subject to geographic availability. Other restrictions may apply. CEWP0909

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