I would like to share with you an article I stumbled upon that made me smile. Its title is “Life under the Chief Doublespeak Officer” and it was written in 1989 by William Lutz. In my view, it is as relevant as ever.
In this blog, I would like to challenge the definition of RA, following similar lines to the article above. I offer an idea why this function attracts only modest interest within a common telco.
No one would argue that the fundamental definition of Revenue Assurance is about assuring the telco makes money, this month. This necessitates that Marketing, Sales, and Operations have a joint and collective role in managing a customer experience that delivers the brand promise.
Yet, in how many telcos do RA managers have the freedom to evaluate the above functions, without first going through a career change opportunity?
Marketing defines the brand promise
Marketing identifies the most profitable customers and what they value. Marketing documents and understands all aspects of the purchasing decision. It defines the attributes of product performance. It determines the brand promise and communicates it to the marketplace. In an ideal telco, Marketing and Operations work together to translate the customer experience into specific processes and actions through which the organization can deliver on the promise. If the brand cannot deliver on this promise, it is destined for failure.
- In how many telcos is RA an active contributor in these processes?
- In how many telcos does RA have any say in these topics?
- Would someone allow RA to review market research findings about brand strength?
Without a skilled and productive sales organization, few firms can survive, especially these days. The sales function takes place in a constantly evolving environment. Sales organizations must adapt to continuous changes in their products, customers, competitors, and markets. Intense competition places great value on understanding and responding to current trends within and across industries.
- What RA department would call up residential customers and ask their view on the telco business?
- What RA department would pay a visit to a large corporate customer to learn about the issues that prompt them to take their business elsewhere?
Operations creates the right infrastructure and processes to deliver the brand promise
The brand promise is only as good as the internal processes that deliver it. Every process should be designed, monitored, and evaluated on its ability to deliver against brand promise. This includes defining and removing internal obstacles and then strengthening the organizational ‘enhancers’ (like communication systems and technology).
Successful organizational alignment means that Marketing and Operations have a joint and collective role in designing and managing a customer experience that delivers the brand promise.
- What RA department would call the call centre to experience the promises that Marketing states in its ads… without risking being right-sized by the COO immediately afterwards?
- What RA manager would propose metrics to evaluate operational effectiveness?
I guess I made my point. I would be intrigued to hear your comments.
I agree totally with your views. RA is very keen in the Telco industry. Marketing should work with all the departments not only with Operations. I have implemented Product Risk Assurance methodology, without our approval our CEO will not approve any new product/service launch. Effectively RA dept. should initiate otherwise the company is the loser.
This is an extremely interesting topic, and something which I agree with wholeheartedly. I have seen a few telcos where RA has been ingrained into the overall process map (but in selected areas). However, the key issue here is that it has not been implemented end-to-end.
What do I mean by that? The RA function has more of a “cursory check” feel to it, rather than a leak-proof methodology based on network data and facts. Many of the checks are based on extrapolations performed on a few parameters and a few data points. This is not to be confused with other business intelligence systems in place, which I’m sure do a very good job.
To illustrate the same, let us take the example you had mentioned. Operational metrics to track performance and efficiencies. In my opinion, any system where you cannot track growth/improvement/benefit, is not an optimal system. How do you know that you are truly benefiting? What is the “true KPI” based on which the team can gauge its effectiveness? Let us consider a sample scenario:
RA team identifies an issue with rating for a particular product. The total number of xDRs affected are 200,000. The team raises the issue to the billing team with suggested rectification. RA team claims 200,000 xDRs worth of leakage effectively “captured” after billing team validates the proof.
The RA team stops tracking the issue because as per its mandate, it has reported the issue.
After 2 days, another member of the same RA team finds another 100,000 xDRs with the same rating error. Again, the process is restarted and RA team claims another 100,000 xDRs worth of leakage “captured”.
Ideally, the team should have tracked the rating issue to closure, and then monitored the output of the billing system post-rectification. If I was tracking the efficiency of the RA team, I would see it as:
a) 200,000 xDRs of leakage “Captured”
b) 100,000 xDRs of leakage by day 2 of “Alleged rectification” – Due to inefficient tracking process (Total Leakage captured = 200,000 – 100,000 = 100,000)
c) Extrapolated leakage on Day 1 of “Alleged rectification” (based on leakage captured figures post-rectification) = 100,000
Total performance of RA team = 200,000 – 100,000 – 100,000 = 0
Critical perhaps, but honest. Reporting the same issues over and over again is a sign of a lack of a strong closure follow-up process.
I feel that RA will still take a considerable time to be ingrained into the typical telcos DNA. It’s nice to see people like Thameem talk about Product Risk Assurance within their environment, for these are the types of steps that Telcos can implement within their own departments to ensure higher profitability.
Prevention is definitely better than cure!!!