MVNOs and IOT providers have to attract customers early. When they have a new and competitive offering and marketing money is being spent, it is essential that an MVNO attracts customers. This creates a situation where a new business has to manage a sharp influx in business all at once and all the business process challenges that creates. If the MVNO fails to get a grip on its processes and this causes significant problems for customers, their brand can be badly damaged.
A good example of this happening in telecoms, if not to an MVNO, was when TalkTalk launched in 2005. This upstart ISP was going to revolutionise the business by offering “free internet”. They launched at speed. I was working for Carphone Warehouse (the parent company of TalkTalk) at the time. I wasn’t working on TalkTalk projects but everyone at the base level was talking about the reckless timescales being forced on them by TalkTalk management. After they launched there were huge problems with connecting people to the new service which made newspaper headlines. A customer satisfaction poll by uSwitch in November 2006 placed TalkTalk and Orange joint bottom for customer satisfaction. TalkTalk managed to recover and now has a reasonable position in the UK broadband market, but MVNOs need to learn the lesson.
The only way to scale quickly but reliably is to to have a grip on your business processes and to constantly adapt them as the business changes. Without this one department will make a change without thinking about the consequences for another department. That department will be unable to cope with this unannounced change and customers will be left in the lurch. We need to establish clear contracts between teams, or internal Service Level Agreements (SLA), that define the Five Ws – who, what, where, when and why of what needs to be done.
Documenting these internal SLAs can be done in many ways. A simple document living in Confluence or Sharepoint might be enough. Alternatively the formality of a document in a legal style can be a good way to focus everyone’s attention. A link to a proper legal contract may be required with third party suppliers. We always prefer to use process flow diagrams as they are faster to create and easier to understand and communicate. At the least they can supplement formal documentation.
This example diagram took me around 5 minutes to draw. Describing this process in writing would take far longer and would have much more ambiguity.
Clear business processes make it possible to use low code business process orchestration tools to automate repetitive tasks in billing and customer support. The diagram above was created in one of these tools. These tools allow fast creation of user interfaces that customer support teams can use to drive consistent processes and communicate between their teams. The low price and flexibility of these systems allow them to be the duct tape that glues your system together temporarily or permanently in times of uncertainty and fast change. Integration can be set up between your existing systems and change can be made as quickly as the systems were set up in the first place.
Having clear and documented business processes help MVNOs stay lean and agile. They keep costs down while improving service. Virtuser can guide and help you establish rock solid business processes while keeping flexibility.
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