Educating Customers – a Challenge for Telecom Companies
The extremely dynamic advancement of the digital world has influenced both human beings and business entities to adapt their behaviour and daily habits to evolving trends. Innovative gadgets, new smartphones, state-of-the-art technology, and smart apps – it is inevitable that a big part of our interactions have a digital component. People now text, chat & share online content on their smartphones more than ever. This might be perceived as a ‘golden age’ for Telecom Operators, because the need for communication reached a level where it no longer needs to be nurtured, it rather requires to be channeled towards the right customer base.
Telecom companies have a very diverse customer base, which can be both an advantage and a burden. Subscribers research, buy and use communication services, such as data, voice and messaging in different ways. To answer the wide variety of customer needs in an efficient way, Telecom companies turn to digital services, covering personalisation, Self-Service and so on.
The customer’s journey shift from face-to-face interaction to digital services, besides business & technical transformation, requires customer adaptation, which have different stages of accommodation to novelties. That’s one of the reasons why aligning customer behaviour with the company’s business perspective is essential for any service or product to succeed and serve its purpose. This implies developing activities which aim to help subscribers get familiar and at later stages adopt a Telco’s product & service offering. Educating the customer is a routine and building a routine is time-consuming. But there are a couple of things you could start with, that won’t imply an enormous effort. We believe these two ideas could help your Telecom company get started on the whole process.
- Don’t Pitch, but Inform & Involve
Educating customers about services and products implies providing information about their features, usage or benefits. Creating and sharing sales oriented messages exclusively might fail to position you, the Telecom operator, as an authority for the customer. Think of it this way, a customer who understands the service and learns how to use it, recognises and values its benefits and is capable of making informed decisions, which gives companies leverage over the customer’s decisions and behaviour. Look at Tesla, they sell their cars only through dealerships. Even if they have showrooms over 2500 square meters, Tesla believes that their stores should first of all focus on informing and educating potential customers with no pressure from a commission driven retailer. Being informed helps customers understand the need for change and therefore leads them to appreciating it more. Asking for feedback means involving the customer in the ’’making-of’’ process which generates great loyalty and leads to the desired behaviour.
- Educate the Super Consumer
Super Consumers are a Telco’s best subscribers. As Nielsen explains, this group consists of great spenders with strong engagement. Roughly following the Pareto Principle, the Super Consumers are the 20% of users which generate 80% of revenue and word-of-mouth. The Super Subscribers are a combination of what Malcom Gladwell calls Connectors and Mavens. They have a big network of people with which they share news and interesting facts (the Connectors) and they are information gurus (the Mavens) with the ability to start “word-of mouth epidemics”. Given their fortunate mixture of behaviour traits, the Super Consumers are a Telco’s allies in the adoption and the promotion of new services or products. Identifying, listening to this group of subscribers and educating it pays-off long term and ensures continuity to the operator’s initiatives.
Customer behaviour is no longer linear, as their needs and preferences can be easily influenced by new trends, apps or products. On the other hand they do expect a consistent and recognisable experience from their service providers. It is a Telco’s responsibility to make the necessary effort to ensure that their message differentiates from the competition and gets to the right people, in the expected form, and on customer’s preferred channel. Ensuring that subscribers make educated decisions is a great investment into the successful development of an operator’s new service or product.