18 January, 2021

The many handy applications of Web Portals, Part V: Telecom

By: Lotfi Alsarori

Continuing in our discussions of the value of web portals in different industries, in this article we look at the telecom sector. We have seen web portals in the enterprise, education, healthcare, insurance, and in a previous article on e-banking. The telecom sector is no exception to the utilization of this great tool. There are several applications of using web portals in the communications industry, but we will focus on the two most common areas which are customer self-service and partners portal.

Before going into the details of common web portals used in the communications industry, let’s first define the scope of this rapidly changing industry. The communications industry was previously composed of an ecosystem revolving around telecom operators. However, today the communications industry is made up of a diverse collection of what are called communication service providers, or CSPs. These are service providers that transport information electronically. They offer services ranging from telecom, information, media, content, entertainment, and application services over voice and data networks. They include, for example, telecom operators and Internet service providers (ISPs), as well as companies offering content, cable, or Cloud application services. 

Now that we have defined our key industry players and terminology, let us look at the two main types of web portals in this ever-evolving industry. 

Customer Self-service

It is estimated that around 270 billion calls are made to call centres worldwide every year. With an average of 50 calls handled per day per call centre workers, the cost and effort required to handle customer inquiries are huge. Therefore, enabling your customers to serve themselves becomes a very smart and appealing approach. 

It is not uncommon for telecom operators and ISPs to have millions of customers. Managing such a large number of customers can be quite the challenge. Customer management in communications enterprises can be very demanding and time-consuming. Customers contact call centres with different types of issues related to top-ups and recharging, bills, charge dispute, payments, and more. As a result, customer self-management portals are becoming increasingly common in the communications industry. Telecom operators offer self-care portals to their customers to cut down on the call volumes they receive daily from their customer. The aim is also to lower the time customer service representatives (CSRs) spend responding to customer inquiries regardless of the channel they come through. In other words, providing self-care portals alleviates much of the strain off CSRs working in shops and point-of-sales or responding to customer inquiries via phones, chat, or any other customer service channels. 

Moreover, self-service offers customers the convenience of 24/7 availability, so customers can choose the most suitable time for them to make use of the service they need. This convenience and time-saving customer service delivery enhances customer experience and increases their satisfaction while minimizing operational cost. Typical services offered to customers through self-care portals include customer account management, viewing account history, filing a support ticket, service adjustments, and processing customer payments. 

Partner Portal 

As we discussed at the beginning of this article, the communications industry is largely expanding to offer more than just airtime or Internet access. CSPs today offer a wide range of services today. From content providers to Cloud applications and other voice, data, and information services through communications networks. Offering such a wide assortment of services to customers requires CSPs to join forces with not only each other but with other companies in other sectors as well. An example of such cases is the partnership between Cloud service providers and hardware vendors. Another type of partnership could also be a reseller offering retail products/service from another CSP or a mobile virtual network operator partnering with a mobile network operator to lease their network infrastructure or buy bulks message, minutes, and data bundles to offer to their customers. Partnerships in the communications industry are becoming more complex due to the large range of services CSP can provide today and the large value chain of companies in the ecosystem. As a matter of fact, this value chain of interwoven CSPs and other partners from related industries is known today as the “value fabric”. This is due to the potentially large number of business partners and the interdependency among them to deliver one or more products/services to end customers. Such complex relationships require advanced partner management systems to handle all the activities related to service offering, management, billing and reconciliation, and other related tasks. One key system in this range is the partner portal.

A partner portal is used to provide enterprise partners access to the tools, materials, and certain functionality of the partner relationship management system. This provides partners with resources ranging from marketing materials, product and service specs, tutorials, and business templates to access technical support and customer care systems, and more. Partner portals can also facilitate partner onboarding and mutual service configuration and customer management. Partner enablement through web portals simplifies the management of business relationships among partners and makes the whole process more agile and responsive to market needs and customer demands. 

While there are numerous applications of web portals in the telecom/communications industry, these were the two most common uses. With such a dynamic market and an industry that is changing very rapidly, we expect to see more functionality added to these two types of portals to alleviate some of the burdens off internal operations. We should also expect more functionality in other areas of the communications enterprise to utilize the flexibility and advanced features of customized web portals as well. 

This article concludes our journey through the many handy applications of web portals for now. We may pick up on the discussion should some other worth-noting aspects come up in the future. 

To look at what ESKADENIA software offers in customizable web portals using the company’s own content management system, please refer to ESKA DCMS. Please also check out ESKADENIA's telecom page for more telecom products.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent and Informative Article... THANK YOU BROTHER LOTFI


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