AT&T and NTT Com lead the way in the evolution to becoming customer-centric organisations, but even they fail to reach the benchmark set by a new study

Telecoms operators must evolve their businesses to create a culture of customer centricity in order to attract and retain customers in an age of digital transformation, but they are not there yet, according to a new study from customer experience specialist Ocean82.

AT&T and NTT Communications are some way ahead of their rivals in this respect, but even they fall short of the benchmark, shows the report, which tracks major global enterprise service providers.

Meanwhile, BT Global Services, Vodafone and others rank poorly by comparison.

Ocean82’s analysis is based on a new method created to measure the evolution of a customer-centric culture as operators seek to become trusted partners to their customers. The firm calculated what it describes as a dizeme transform score, or DZ, to help assess a telco’s progress.

No operator reached the benchmark score of 100, but AT&T performed the best of the global operators studied with a score of 88.1, while NTT Communications was close behind with 87.5.

"The rest rank markedly behind these frontrunners," Ocean82 said, in a statement accompanying the study.

Indeed, ngena – or the Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance, whose partners include Altice, CenturyLink, Reliance Jio Infocomm, PCCW, T-Systems, Telstra and others – comes in third with a score of 81. Ocean82 pointed out that at the time of publication none of the partners was believed to be offering services over ngena, but noted that the group’s score would provide a baseline for future comparisons.

Orange Business Services, Tata Communications and Verizon scored 73, 72 and 71 respectively.

Of the 10 companies featured in the report, relative newcomer Vodafone ranked lowest with an overall DZ score of 30. However, it performed well in the ‘consider’ category, which effectively looks at the brands customers would consider working with, and Ocean82 predicted that "it is most likely to become an evolving threat to BT in the U.K."

BT also recorded a weak score, its DZ standing at 47.

"BT Global Services’ perceived performance is relatively poor overall," Ocean82 said. "It is evolving a culture of cooperation to secure first purchase but it is unlikely to offer a sufficiently positive customer experience post-purchase."

Ocean82’s DZ ranking served as the basis for the Users’ Choice Award in this year’s World Communication Awards, which were presented on Tuesday night in London. As the highest ranked telco, AT&T took home the trophy.