Customer experience is the top priority of Middle East telecoms: EY

Business Sunday 26/June/2016 14:24 PM
By: Times News Service
Customer experience is the top priority of Middle East telecoms: EY

Muscat: Nearly 68 per cent of telecommunications C-suite respondents cite customer experience management as their top strategic priority over the next three years, according to EY’s latest telecommunications report ‘Navigating the Road to 2020 - Opportunities and challenges for telecom operators in the Middle East.’
Wasim Khan, Partner and Chief Operating Officer, EY, says: “A better customer experience can help telcos remain relevant. Every telecommunications player in the region sees customer experience as a top-three agenda item. Improving levels of customer support and personalising the customer experience are seen as the most important routes to improving customer relationships in the Middle East. “
“While many operators are diversifying into new growth segments and overhauling their organisational structures, better customer relationships are seen as the surest route to thriving in the digital era,” he added.
Middle Eastern telecoms stress cost control and smart services more than global peers
Regional players are even more emphatic in their focus on cost efficiencies and smart services. Three in four regional respondents cite cost control compared with one in two participants globally and 38 per cent cite developing new services as a top three strategic priority and see smart home services as a leading driver of digital revenues, compared with 17 per cent globally.
Tim Peters, MENA Telecom Advisory Services Leader, EY, says: “Greater levels of organisational agility are critical in a world where start-ups and web giants are reshaping demand scenarios. There is proportionately greater confidence in the revenue-generating potential of TV and cloud services too,” says Tim.
Although Middle East respondents are less likely to nominate network upgrades as a strategic priority compared with their global peer group, this does not mean that capex is levelling off. In fact, 63 per cent of regional players see capex trending up in the next 12 months compared with 50 per cent of respondents globally.
Additionally, 43 per cent of local operators see internal collaboration as a leading route towards operating model improvements, while one in four believe that talent attraction and retention is a strategic priority.
“While external factors are on top of the minds of executives in the Middle East, transformation within the organisation is an area that operators are prioritising. As boundaries blur between traditional industries, telecoms’ ability to widen their talent pool and collaborate across business units may be as important to their long-term health as new forms of customer engagement and smart services. New talent will be a leading factor when improving their operating model, while shorter time-to-market and big data analytics are also viewed as key competencies going forward,” Tim said.
Way forward
While almost three-quarters of global C-Suite participants believe disruptive competition is a leading risk facing the sector, Middle East telecom operators are more focused on the journey toward more intuitive, convenient and trusted relationships with customers.
“The telecommunications industry will continue to evolve in a number of new directions. Operators will continue to seek differentiation through network quality and breadth of service portfolio, underpinned by further industry consolidation and the appearance of new technologies to support data needs in the gigabit era. Operator strategies are expected to diverge on the basis of differences in geographic scale, level of digital ambition, and contrasting prioritisations of growth and efficiency within their strategic agenda. Yet higher levels of agility, more collaborative mindsets and a recasting of customer relationships will be vital to all,” concludes Tim.