The old adage is that content is king. And while Netflix passed $100 billion in net worth, putting it on par with major computer hardware manufacturers and the giants of the financial industry it ultimately owes its success to the platform’s bells and whistles, rather than its library. From 4K video to advanced content targeting to downloadable video options, Netflix is determined with continuing to be the most versatile and easy-to-use media platform around.
But Netflix isn’t the only company embracing this mentality, which puts just as much emphasis on the delivery of media as it does on the media itself. The approach is becoming increasingly dominant for both consumers and service providers. For example, messaging via Snapchat may have certain restrictions relative to other services, but Snapchat has embedded its platform with such arresting and creativity-rewarding features that its rambunctious teenage audience simply can’t imagine using another service.
This presents a golden opportunity for the original powerhouses of the communications industry, which have ample funds to invest in technology but also deep-running, old-world infrastructure that naturally resists this sort of radical change. Such companies must develop competitive online capabilities while running a more traditional communications business on the side, which is no small feat. Can even the wealthiest corporations catch up to the breakneck speed of tech advancement before they lose the majority of their viewership to newer, more agile challengers?
Ken Kennedy, executive vice president and president of technology and product at CSG, thinks so. His company specializes in helping traditional media companies leap all the way up to the forefront of the digital age in a single bound. “Customers expect access to their services whenever and wherever they want,” Kennedy says, “and they expect a consistent user experience across devices. They expect to be able to start a show on their TV in their living room, pause the show, and subsequently watch the end on their mobile device while riding the train.”
But it’s not enough for finicky consumers to just interact with a company’s core product. For instance, advanced customer service systems must now include services available through the consumer’s communications method of choice, not the service provider’s. This includes chat, voice support, or even video conferencing with an actual, live human being. And once they’re on with a service rep, consumers demand that the experience be personalized and driven by real insight into their unique needs.
“Today’s customer is conditioned to expect immediate gratification,” Kennedy says. “Anything less will result in a dissatisfied customer.”
Kennedy is referring to what’s known as the “evolved customer,” and catering to this type of person comes with as many advantages as pitfalls. Evolved customers are willingly plugged into an increasingly interdependent tech ecosystem that includes the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced software and hardware trackers. Capitalizing on this network is the best way that companies can analyze and act on consumer preferences.
Additionally, evolved customers tend to be the people most comfortable shopping online. Both of these attributes create new avenues for generating revenue—but only if a company is ready to offer the services these people want most.
That’s where partners like CSG come in. It offers Ascendon, a robust SaaS, cloud-based platform that provides content and monetization capabilities hosted through Amazon Web Services (AWS). This enables communications providers to offer their customers desired personalized content based on their interests, customized self-care, and choice of viewing device. With Ascendon, CSG can enable providers with legacy platforms to launch new innovative services in just 90 days.
Ultimately, it’s up to each individual communications provider to figure out what its own customer base wants, and then to deliver those features in a timely fashion. But these days, both the most insightful methods of determining consumer desires and the most insightful ways to meet them will involve advanced online features.
So that means it’s time to punch the gas pedal as companies that willingly take on this course of action will be able to capitalize on the craze these features have created. That means getting up to speed before the target has moved on completely. Netflix certainly isn’t going to stop in its relentless march toward newer and more innovative features—nor will Comcast, Disney, and other traditional media giants.
Companies that fail to take full advantage of the opportunity may soon turn around to find that they’ve left an enormous amount of money on the table.