The Anatomy of the Omni-Channel Commerce Experience
In my previous article, “Essential Steps for a Telco’s Success Story”, I slightly covered the topic of Omni-Channel Commerce, arguing the importance of being able to offer a consistent shopping experience to the digital customer. In the next couple of paragraphs I will detail some of the actions Telecom operators should take on their journey towards reaching the Omni-Channel experience.
1. Adopt a Commerce Platform solution to leverage the potential of existing backend systems and power the Telco’s online channel (eShop)
Building digital capabilities has become an important part of business development and it is no longer a buzz topic or a trend, it is a reality which would have knocked on your door sooner or later. Customers have become extremely demanding and not being able to align your digital business capabilities with their expectations could lose you some of the market. Give your clients the online shopping possibility, in order to stay relevant to your customer base.
But to achieve Omni-Channel Commerce, first you have to build and optimise the channels your clients are already using. Building an eShop does not imply putting aside traditional channels, which are still very much preferred. Omni-Channel is about how you make use of these channels to engage with your subscribers while designing and implementing the commerce platform in order to make it self-evolving.
2. Enable the BI capabilities of the commerce platform
Big Data analysis is not at all new in the field. Telecom companies have been crunching numbers for a long time to explore customer behaviour. But the traditional approach of the process stretches out. It takes days or even weeks to obtain recommendations or warnings, in the case of churn predictors. We are suggesting to integrate BI capabilities into the Commerce Platform in order to speed up the process. It will help a Telco retrieve data faster and use it, for example, in a retention flow scenario, to create personalised recommendations.
Big Data & Analytics are essential drivers of personalisation and great customer engagement. Gathering data about customer shopping behaviour, usage or personal information (geo-location, age, etc.) and building patterns around it helps a Telecom company perform a better segmentation and decide on the best personalised offer for each customer or group of customers.
3. Consider a Commerce-based Self Care application rather than a CRM-based Self Care
My suggestion is to use the Self Care application not only as a means to check the billing and usage statistics, but also as a personalisation channel for tailored offers (upgrades, add-ons, value-added services., etc.), suggestions for the next best action, such as switching from prepaid to post-paid or changing to a more data-oriented subscription plan.
The Self Care component comes as the 4th eCommerce step that completes the user experience and transforms it into a continuous cycle instead of a linear, bounded flow:
4. Integrate Social Media and use it as a source of customer information, but also as a channel for performing a next-generation Customer Service
This means that the Telco’s Customer Support would be given the opportunity to monitor the Social Media mentions related to the company’s brand, learn more from customer comments and provide quick answers to their queries, using the right channel at the right time. An extremely good example, although from a different industry, would be KLM. During the Aviation Festival MENA 2014, Caroline Spruijt, Social Commerce Manager at KLM, told us that she has a 150-member team that is responsible for 24/7 customer support and they answer every question and request in about 30 minutes. Besides building trust through intense customer engagement, the company drives great insights from client requests regarding their needs, and also regarding business operations and improvement needs.
5. Make the most of your mobile platform channel
Recently, Google announced that search traffic on mobile platforms outraced the one on desktop platforms. It was expected, as the tipping point for mobile commerce has already been reached and it represented 34% of global eCommerce transactions during this year’s Q1.
Smartphones along with mobile applications are a great channel for Commerce Self Care and it brings a significant advantage to telecom operators. Mobile apps enable proactive communication between the operator and the customer in the form of push notifications and real time offers. In a study published by hybris a while ago, the Mobile Commerce Forecast (2012-2017) is mentioned, which argues that exponential growth of mobile commerce is transforming customer shopping habits, with retail as the fastest growing category. What does it tell you? Think like a retailer, but act accordingly by balancing your customer behaviour with your business particularities. Engage the customer more proactively through mobile, it is literally the closest channel to your subscriber.
Omni-Channel commerce goes beyond the core shopping journey. Having a well-performing eShop is a basic must-have. And it doesn’t bring much value to today’s always connected subscriber if it doesn’t offer a comprehensive experience, connected to the other channels and a next-generation customer service, which you can bring through Self Care, Social Media, etc.
Customers are always on the lookout for new features and opportunities, and the easy access to information makes research possible on-the-spot. This alters customer loyalty. Use Omni-Channel to perform various forms of engagement in order to become your customer’s best choice, drive sales and grow into a more responsive company.