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Four Technology Challenges Telcos Must Tackle

The telco industry has seen a steady rise in consolidation and M&A activity lately. Telecom deals hit a five-year high in 2021 in the telecom sector, according to KPMG. Strategic leaders recognize the need to grow while also diversifying their business to remain competitive and agile.

As these companies acquire new services for their consumers, they’re also acquiring new technologies, and with them, challenges with integration. We see this clearly in the payments sector. When services are consolidated under one umbrella, so are multiple back-end systems – but not always as seamlessly as businesses or their customers would like. Cybersource can offer practical solutions for telco leaders hoping to modernize and streamline their processes.

Don’t let bifurcating technology stacks decimate your customer experience

Something as simple as paying a monthly bill becomes a tedious or confusing process for customers. Am I paying my wireless provider, my broadband provider, my video provider, or all of the above?

That’s the root of bigger problems for CIOs, marketing executives, and other telco stakeholders. M&A activity, services diversification, cybersecurity threats, and consumer expectation create four tough challenges:

    1. Disjointed customer experience: Providers struggle to build cohesive, elegant experiences that keep customers happy.
    2. Increased risks: As an organization expands, so do its cybersecurity and fraud risks. This can lead to trade-offs that put security strategy and customer experience in conflict with each other, which doesn’t need to happen.
    3. Missed opportunities: As the risk of payment data breaches and payment fraud grows, many telcos are moving payment data out of their environments to reduce risk. But this comes at the cost of losing access to data that companies have used to understand their customers’ purchasing behaviors.
    4. Increased churn: As tech stacks splinter, the potential for friction increases – such as auto-pay interruptions after an expired or lost card, which increases the probability of churn.

The good news is we’re solving these very challenges at the payments level, delivering technical innovations that match the pace of change in the telco industry. You can offer top-of-the-line telco services and a unified consumer experience – while proactively rooting out fraud and reducing cybersecurity risk.

Adapt strategies to keep customer content and payments protected

To tackle these problems, telcos should adopt these payments-oriented strategies to affect meaningful change:

    1. Leverage “acquirer agnostic” payments. During an acquisition, typically the acquiring business can accept payments via a single, unified front door while continuing to keep that division’s back-end accounts separate. This ensures that business diversification doesn’t degrade customer experience.
    2. Separate marketing insights from card data. How do you reduce the risk of payment data breaches when that same data is critical to analytics and insights? CIOs and CISOs have wisely decided to reduce risks by storing payment info securely offsite. Eliminating this trade-off by issuing a unique token associated with the customer’s card creates a digital footprint that enables marketers and data scientists to perform valuable analytics and gain insights that create transformative business opportunities.
    3. Add intelligent card verification to existing checks. Strategies like checking credit have long been in place, but fraud can occur after someone gets past the initial screening process. We are now able to check card data more comprehensively and intelligently at the point of sale to reduce fraudulent or stolen card use for device purchases or recurring transactions.
    4. Embrace card network token technology to reduce customer churn. We know that friction in the customer experience is a major source of churn. Something as simple as an expiring or lost card triggers a service or auto-pay interruption, which easily prompts the customer to look elsewhere. With network token technology, we ensure uninterrupted billing in those scenarios –payment data is automatically updated with no action required from the customer, reducing friction and churn.

Telco businesses aren’t just surviving – they’re thriving – expanding their product and service portfolios and pursuing new revenue streams. This growth comes with technology complexity and customer experience challenges. Tackled strategically, these challenges can become competitive advantages.

— Tim Stallard, Senior Director, Cybersource Customer Success

This content is sponsored by Cybersource.

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