An expert perspective on current trends and challenges for Internet Service Providers.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) continue to face significant challenges in their efforts to provide the best possible customer experience, driven by changes in B2C internet usage, changes in technology, and more. The consequence is dissatisfied customers and wasted potential for the state-of-the-art Wi-Fi technology that is inadvertently being misused.
To share leading insights on recent trends and challenges faces by ISPs, as well as the potential benefits of proactive customer care and AI analytics solutions for the industry, we sat down with Match-Maker Paulo Valente.
What trends/changes have you observed with Internet Service Providers in recent years?
1st Trend – Always on
ISPs have faced a major shift in their interaction with their B2C clients. Most ISPs‘ ambition is to provide a seamless connectivity to their clients, avoiding any interruption. This is highly demanding from the handover point of view. Therefore, ISPs must deploy increasingly reliable devices.
2nd Trend – Always on the go
The majority of Wi-Fi connections are made wirelessly, and that poses another challenge for ISPs: outdoor vs indoor coverage. From an economical point of view, the outdoor coverage has been mostly delivered through mobile networks (2G/3G/4G and most recently 5G). However, the cost of providing indoor coverage has been entirely left to Wi-Fi, and this responsibility has been followed by permanently improving Wi-Fi technology.
3rd Trend – Multiple users and devices connected to the same time
This trend was already self-fulfilling, but the COVID pandemic simply unleashed an extremely demanding surge of multiple devices connected simultaneously. With various lockdowns and Working From Home (WFH) becoming more than just hype, the resilience and robustness of Wi-Fi is even more key for a seamless connectivity at home
What major issues do customers face with WiFi? What issues need to be resolved in order to improve customer WiFi experience?
Wi-Fi has gone through major improvements, and today it is a technology that can deliver a service similar to 5G. Nevertheless, only new devices (both Access Points/routers and connected devices) certified for WiFi6 and WiFi6E can extract the full potential of home Wi-Fi, and even then only if they are used properly, which they often are not due to a lack of information on the side of the ISP and knowledge on the side of the customer. That poses an enormous challenge: ISPs and customers must deal with existing devices that use legacy technology which was not designed to deliver a future proof experience and requires a lot of fine tuning, mostly on multi dwelling buildings. Therefore, ISPs have a critical role to play in advising their customers on the best configuration and location to deploy legacy Wi-Fi equipment.
What key challenges are Internet Service Providers facing in customer experience today?
New Wi-Fi equipment has multiple innovations that enable the highly demanding service that is expected from customers. However, when it comes to legacy equipment – and that is most of the existing devices – ISPs must have a proactive attitude that monitors the customer experience and advises in advance multiple actions that can make the difference. This proactivity improves the user experience and, above all, reduces churn.
How could proactive customer service solutions impact ISPs’ business?
The majority of customers don’t have sufficient technical knowledge to decide on the best location for their Wi-Fi devices. Oftentimes, the customers’ biggest concern is aesthetic. Nevertheless, understanding that the low quality of experience is due to a badly positioned equipment doesn’t resonate easily with customers, and their main assumption is usually that the overall service from the ISP is not good. With a proactive customer service solution, the ISP not only anticipates a problem which will definitely impact the commercial relationship with the customer, but also shows concern and care towards the customer. This proactive service ensures the customer is truly profiting from the quality of service that the ISP aims to deliver.
What role will AI play in the future of ISPs?
Most potential performance improvements on an ISP network can be identified based on patterns. These patterns can be identified from multiple sets of data, like increasing customer service calls from a determined region, an abrupt variation of internet traffic and, finally, multiple KPIs provided by the Customer Premise Equipment. With this data, ISPs can use powerful AI tools that can not only predict poor service but can also recommend preventive and corrective actions. These AI tools have a critical role anticipating customer complaints and can reinforce customer loyalty.
Interested in understanding the best proactive Wi-Fi customer service solutions for ISPs? Check out our recent article on the importance of solutions like Match-Maker Ventures portfolio scaleup Lifemote to support improvements to home Wi-Fi experience.
Lifemote is a SaaS platform for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which uses AI to identify and fix home WiFi issues, and enables ISPs with various snapshots and insights** to get clear visibility of subscribers’ home WiFi QoE. Adopting Lifemote allows ISPs to provide fast and effective customer support, resulting in high subscriber satisfaction and reduced cost of customer ownership. Lifemote technology also allows ISPs to better target upsell, and more effectively deploy new hardware to those subscribers in greatest need. Low integration, fast launch and working with any CPE vendor places Lifemote in a favored position in the market especially for ISPs with multi-vendor deployments. Lifemote analyzes data from all devices everyday, enabling true proactive network maintenance for the ISP by providing actionable analytics for each home. Lifemote is deployed in more than 1.5 Mio homes and trusted by a variety of ISPs ranging from large Tier 1 operators such as Telia to regional ISPs in Norway, the Netherlands and the UK.
About Paulo Valente
Paulo Valente is an experienced manager with a passion for technology and 20+ years of experience. Originally from Portugal, he is now based in Brussels with a European focus.