MPLS VPNs: Defining the total customer experience

* How customer experience of MPLS VPNs were measured

Now that MPLS has moved from the experimental and early-adopter stage to the point of widespread implementation, the question of how well MPLS is "working" for customers is meaningful. In particular, in late 2007, Kubernan, with the support of service-provider Masergy, began a project to measure the Total Customer Experience (TCE) with MPLS VPNs.

Of course, the project started with having to define the various areas of customer experience, which we broke down into five areas; the current overall experience, the buying and evaluation process, the delivery/installation of the service, support, and billing.

Then the most difficult question of all emerged. How does one measure the experience in these areas?

We began by adding a number of factors in each of the categories. But merely asking about the experience seemed too simple and misleading. Perhaps customers were quite satisfied in an area, but that was an area that mattered little. On the other hand perhaps they were marginally satisfied concerning an area that was quite important.

Thus, we ended up listing the same factors in each of two questions. First, we asked how important each area was. Then we followed that up with questions about satisfaction in each area.

The data gathered from these two areas gave us the ability to plot the relative satisfaction and importance in an X-Y graph with four quadrants.

1) Areas with high satisfaction and high importance – the “good” quadrant that we call the “green zone”.

2) Areas with low satisfaction and high importance – the “bad” quadrant that we call the “red zone” because it showed a significant need for imporvement.

3) Areas with high satisfaction and low importance – a “yellow zone” that was OK, but really might indicate wasted importance.

4) Areas with low satisfaction and low importance – a “gray zone” where improvement could be made, but one must question whether it’s worth the expenditure.

In the next newsletter, we’ll share some of the results of the TCE findings. In the meantime, if you want to get a head start, there’s a conversation discussing the findings here.

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