This article is a follow-up on a previous article, Why CRM is not enough for your fiber journey, in which we talk about potential problems you might face in your fiber journey.

So, what is the solution to all potential problems you face? According to our experience, there are three basic components that you should focus on.

  1. Robust and well-defined processes
  2. Automation
  3. Integrated and available data

When it comes to processes, they should be based on system support and data that is available in order to function effectively. Important process parts are “Availability”, ”Installation”, ”Order-to-cash”, ”Trouble-to-resolve”, proactive maintenance and the extra functions and processes that are needed to handle a wholesale business model, rather than a retail model.

If we look at automations, data must be available, and the processes need to be well-defined. With a minimum of manual processes, you will also minimize human errors. Note that human errors usually happen very sporadically, but more often if the work tempo is high and this is where the consequences are the worst. Automations increase the operational effectivity and build structural capital in the business.

But, do note that there’s always an automation “road map”. Once you start dealing with a few thousand customers, you will need automations, this is just a small part of the need you will have once your business grows into 10 000 customers or even 100 000 customers. It is vital that your system support can gradually automate things, whenever the need arises. To look forward and knowing your exact needs for automations is very difficult when you first launch your fiber. Therefore, your system support must to be able to handle whatever you haven’t been able to anticipate, and this is where it really starts to deliver value.

Effective processes

With regards to integrated and available data, it’s important to automate and maintain effective processes. Data must be available when needed. You should never have to use a manual process and involve several people in order to receive the correct data whenever a task needs to be solved. Different processes take up a lot of time when data isn’t structured and connected.

crm-data-model

To have a data model where you can access network information, address information, tasks, monitoring information, subscription and agreement information connected to a technical service and later on, a product catalog with prices and campaigns, is fundamental in the fiber business.

It will be a lot easier for customer service to work when they have address information, but still needs to be able to access technical details about how the service works. In a fiber net, the customer might come and go, but the address will remain. It is only once this model is in place that you can directly see which customers are affected by a network error. If you create tasks as tickets towards network elements, you will be able to tell right away if there is any maintenance work occurring which might impact a certain customer´s connection by looking up their information.

This data model also allows a customer to have multiple addresses with different products and services. The technical service may include information regarding bandwidth and other technical parameters, while the product includes information regarding campaigns, packaging, prices and validity. Without that separation, commercial changes will affect the technical delivery.

All this data must be connected in one way or another for an automated and robust business with a high level of effectivity, ready for massive growth.

What does a CRM-system do?

Let’s get into what a CRM is and what it does. Mainly it’s a way of managing interactions with clients.

What is a standard CRM built for?

  • To create a view of the customer
  • To understand which marketing channels are profitable and to follow up on sales activities
  • To structure sales teams and to make sure that they are working effectively
  • To handle sales opportunities
  • To solve customer errors quickly

A standard CRM tool is built for an entirely different business, not a fiber business. It presumes a way of work where you are dealing with a smaller volume of costumers with more manual interactions and bigger business. The fiber business is about effectively handling a lot of customers and a lot of transactions. It’s a matter of volume. Standard CRM-tools are generally built for B2B, while a fiber business is generally B2C (even in cases where you deliver to SME small medium enterprises).

CRM is focused on the customer object, but in the fiber business the object that lives the longest, that is the address to which the customer is connected.

CRM is naturally a large domain, but generally has a small focus on automations, customer self-service and businesses with large volumes of transactions.

The address is a very important object in the fiber business, and it is even more important in a wholesale-scenario.

Why you shouldn’t start with a CRM

If you are planning to start your fiber operator business with a CRM, you need to understand that a CRM only delivers a very small part of the functionality and structure that you are going to need. The worst problems with CRM are that the data model for fiber operator businesses is not supported and that it is very expensive to automate the business. CRM-systems usually don’t have any integrations to networks and other systems that may be needed. If you start out with a CRM, you will end up having to spend a lot of time building everything that is needed around it.

To summarize

CRM-systems are mainly built around the customer as the most important object, while the fiber operator business has another very important object that needs to be included – the address.

A standard CRM is not enough as a system support for a fiber journey but may work in combination with a purpose-built system.

If you start with a CRM, there is a big risk that the cost of process modelling, automations and interactions will end up very high in the long run.

Watch a webinar on this topic:

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