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3 problems keeping CSPs up at night—and how to fix them

November 25, 2021

Communications service providers (CSPs) used to rest easy knowing they were equipped to meet their customers’ needs. Want a cable package? They’ve got it. Ready to bundle your phone and internet services? Easy. Eager to record your favorite shows? There’s a device for that.

Today, customer behaviors—and needs—have changed in ways only a few imagined just a decade ago. As people connect more devices to their home networks and rely on those networks more often for remote work and study, customers are demanding higher quality from their digital, in-home experiences. As a result, CSPs are under increased pressure to provide more value and keep up with an ever-changing market. Meaning, they’re facing some sleepless nights with few sheep in sight. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. In a recent interview with Intelligent Briefings about how smart home experiences have evolved, Plume CCO Tyson Marian broke down some of toughest challenges CSPs are facing and the solutions they need to future-proof their businesses—no matter how often customer expectations may shift.

Lack of agility
One of the toughest challenges facing many legacy CSPs is their inability to adapt quickly to changing customer preferences. They spend so much effort making the sale and getting hardware into people’s homes, but once they do, updating that hardware is a chore—or, worse, not even an option. So when customers inevitably want to expand or upgrade their services, their CSP isn’t equipped to meet their needs and those customers go elsewhere.


Cloud-based networks that automatically adapt
Enter: the cloud. By setting up cloud-based networks, CSPs can easily update their customers’ software and adapt to meet expectations. This way, they don’t have to waste precious time and resources switching out the hardware or building new services from scratch. “The cloud services that we deliver allow the CSP to immediately turn on new services at the snap of their fingers, so they can get to more people at a very fast pace,” Marian said. “Our belief is that it will no longer be about the speed of the network but about the speed at which you can deliver new services. And that can only happen if you’re delivering those services from the cloud.”

“Our belief is that it will no longer be about the speed of the network but about the speed at which you can deliver new services.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO

Frustrated customers who need support
No customer wants to spend hours on hold, jumping between customer- and tech-support representatives just to find out why they don’t have service. Unfortunately, that’s still the reality for many subscribers.

Systems that predict issues before they happen
CSPs can prevent these frustrations by using data and technology to anticipate—and address—issues before they occur. Take, for example, Signal by Plume, which uses AI to monitor WiFi speed and connection across devices in customers’ homes. Once it spots a potential issue, Signal alerts CSP support teams before the customer is affected. From there, the CSP can proactively reach out to the customer with a ready-made solution or use their software to solve the issue remotely. During the pandemic, Plume saw that many customers were using more WiFi to take calls on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The system immediately sent targeted emails to those customers that said, “Working from home? Upgrade now from 50 to 75Mbps speeds for an extra $10 a month.”

“That’s how you can turn what was a symptom and a problem into incremental revenue. All of that is 100% data-driven.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO

Decreasing market share
Due to the obstacles above, CSPs are losing market share to more agile competitors. Just look at big tech companies like Amazon that are swooping in to deliver advanced broadband and video services. If CSPs want a chance at competing and surviving, they need to adapt not just to win new customers but to retain the customers they already have.


Partners to help boost customer retention
When Plume is delivered through a single access point in customers’ homes, CSPs have seen customer churn decrease by as much as 30%. When those CSPs add Plume coverage options like WiFi pods and extenders, churn can drop by another 30%. That amounts to major increased revenue. As Marian pointed out, a lost customer can cost CSPs more than $1,000. And then acquiring a new customer to replace them can cost another $400.

“If you can keep a subscriber in our industry for an additional two years, about $1,700 goes to your bottom line. Those are pretty big savings for our CSP customers.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO