Short courses


Customer Service, Operations and Planning (Telecommunications and ICT)

  • 40 hours
  • 5 days teaching, 3 hour tutorial, (optional) assignment
  • 13 Feb 2023


This five-day course/module will provide a telecommunications business perspective on managing customers, and operating network services. It's aimed to anyone working, or seeking to work, in the industry.

It will look closely at the key to customer satisfaction, namely the effective day-to-day management of sales, operations and services.

The aim is to apply theory to the practices encountered in the real life of a telecommunication and ICT service provider. It's unique in the way it focuses on how service providers actually provide telecoms services. It will also present the best practice in operations and customer service.

Specific areas covered include understanding and managing customer experience, sales, service science, service-and-network management systems, field operations and network planning, as well as cyber security within telecommunications networks.

These aspects will be extended by introducing some of the issues involved in managing a global telecommunications business. There will also be an introduction to evaluating and managing business risk in a service industry, as well as a range of project management tools and techniques.

The course is run by UCL's Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE).

Who this course is for

The course will benefit all those who are working in, or interested in, today's rapidly changing telecommunications industry and are keen to appreciate what's involved in providing customers with high-quality service.

Apart from a background appreciation of the industry, you don't need any specific technical knowledge, although you'll need a good grasp of basic business principles.

Course content

1) Managing customer experience

The principles involved in understanding customers' expectations and the retention of customers by effective relationship management will be explored. This includes understanding customer experience today both off-line and online. The concept of customer relationship management (CRM) will be introduced and successful exploitation of CRM systems is considered. A framework for the customer management strategy will be developed and applied to the 21st century customer. The importance of effective communication with the customer will be investigated, with particular reference to the role of social networks.

2) Service science

The newly created subject of service science, which covers the systematic approach to developing, launching and delivering services, will be extensively explored through the use of case studies and academic research. Specific areas covered include the science of systems thinking, the analysis of business processes, the range of process architectures and operational models. You'll be encouraged to explore a number of case studies and to apply the principles of service science management to contemporary examples in the telecommunications business.

3) Risk management

This set of lectures will address the whole range of identification and management of risk in today's businesses and service environment. Specifically, you'll investigate what constitutes risk and the how this differs from hazardous situations. The whole question of tolerability of risk will then be explored, using case studies as well as contemporary examples. You'll address the difficult area of how risk and cost need to be traded and how this is managed. The techniques for analysing risk and the required levels of mitigation will then be explained. Finally, you'll learn to apply risk identification and assessment to the development of business cases for telecommunications services.

4) Management of operations

This lecture will explore the way that a service provider organises the management of field operations providing customer service. The topic covers both the cost and quality trade-offs as well as the analysis of how to maximise the efficiency of the technician work force in the field. The principles of operational support systems are also introduced, covering the required functionality for a telecommunications network service provider and their interconnection with other systems within the Telco's organisation. You'll also learn about the practical situations and how these are managed by today's service providers through consideration of real-life examples.

5) Planning

All aspects of the planning role within a telecommunications business will be covered by this lecture. In particular, the roles of strategic, long-term, medium-term and short-term planning and forecasting will be described. You'll learn how the planning of network capacity and equipment and systems deployment is linked into the business planning process of the Telco, and in particular how the capital expenditure (capex) budget is built.

6) Project management

This set of lectures will cover the range of project management tools and techniques currently in use across businesses. Through the use of case studies and practical examples you'll be introduced to the concepts of measuring success, managing relations with the various stakeholders, scheduling and programme monitoring techniques. Finally, the use of earned value as a way of managing large projects will be presented. Although the techniques considered are generic, you'll be able to apply them specifically to the contemporary telecommunications situations.

7) Global business

The global aspects of the telecommunications and ICT business today will be explored. The role of international standards in its various forms will be described, together with the characteristics of proprietary standards. You'll be introduced to the various forms of global telecommunications markets, including the multinational customers, international public services, and foreign-domestic business. A number of case studies of recent global alliances and joint ventures will be examined and the principle lessons extracted.

8) Sales

The importance of sales for any company and its relationship to marketing and customer service will be described. The particular challenges facing today's Telco's will then be outlined.

9) Cyber security

The range of cyber threats to today's telecommunications network operators are described. Some of the ways to minimise the threat of such attacks will be considered, together with examples of techniques for dealing with them. 

Dates, assessment and certificates

The course runs over five days, with 6 to 8 teaching hours per day. This is followed by a three-hour tutorial, and an optional written assignment.

Teaching will take place in person with some materials available online. Please note, dates and teaching arrangements may need to change in response to government guidance around Covid-19.

If you complete the course but not the assignment, you'll receive a certificate of attendance. 

If you take and pass the assignment you'll get a certificate stating this, which includes your pass level.

Benefits of taking this course

You can take this course as a standalone (one-off) course, or accumulate it as a module towards an Master's degree (up to two standalone modules can be transferred towards the flexible Master's degree).

Benefits to employees
The programme offers the opportunity for professional people working in the telecommunications industry to develop their career, be able to respond to changes in their environment, and learn while they earn. It's also designed to give you the opportunity of working towards an MSc qualification from an academic institution whose quality is recognised world-wide.

Benefits to employers
Our flexible CPD courses are delivered by staff with experience both of general business principles and of telecommunications markets and technologies. They enable your company's staff to understand and gain advantage over the competition by tapping into world-leading research and UCL's world-class telecommunications and business expertise.

View the full range of related courses available.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, you should be able to understand the:

  • principles of customer service management, with particular reference to the telecommunications business. You'll be able to assess the needs of different customer segments and the approaches that a service organisation needs to make in addressing the range of customers
  • application of service-science analysis to the development and management of services by any service company. In addition, you'll be able to analyse your own ideas for new telecommunications or ICT services using the systematic approach of service science in order and present your plans in a suitable business-case format
  • principles of risk management in terms of identifying, analysing and assessing risks in today's businesses. In particular, you'll be able to present the risks and their mitigation in a business case for a new service launch
  • range of roles of support systems in a service industry in general and the telecommunications industry in particular. You'll be able to identify the trade-offs of data storage, system functionality, accessibility and cost in a Telco's support system platform
  • principles of managing customer operations in order to best meet customer service commitments within the cost constraints
  • range of planning roles and how these are applied to network planning and dimensioning in a Telco. In particular, you'll be able to describe how the various planning stages involved in building the capital expenditure budget for a Telco interact with the various stages of business planning within the organisation
  • range of project management tools and techniques and how to apply these to examples in managing today's telecommunications and ICT projects
  • various markets associated with global ICT and telecommunications business and the role that international standards plays. You'll learn some important principles of successful and unsuccessful global business through case studies

  • role of sales for any company, as well as the particular challenges facing today's Telcos

Course team

Professor Andy Valdar

Professor Andy Valdar

Andy has had a wide-ranging career in telecommunications, including 30 years working for BT covering network strategy and planning, product management, and a three-year secondment to the UN in India. Since 1999 he's been a visiting professor at UCL running MSc courses on telecommunications. He's authored three text books and is an active board member of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP).

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:01