Essential Steps for a TelCo’s Success Story
The speed at which offline experiences shift to the digital land outruns the ability of various industries to transform arising challenges into growth opportunities. The online environment brings a new series of market aspects to businesses: stronger non-traditional competitors, price pressure and better-informed consumers that urge them to rethink their business models. At the same time consumers demand comfort and connectivity, and the ability to fulfil their needs promises a healthy business growth on the market.
This is good news for Telecom operators, because the online medium is strongly linked to the mobile experience today, to which TelCos are innately connected. This said I will name a few opportunities Telecommunications companies could take advantage of.
- Omni-Channel commerce
Many TelCos currently manage their channels as separate entities, and being isolated from each other leads them to stealing each other’s customers in a form of market cannibalisation. As a result, customers receive different offers and recommendations that match the channels particularities more than the TelCo’s overall brand experience. Each channel has its own representation of customer data and customers perceive each channel differently. For the end user this translates into a painful shopping experience, as channel switching produces confusing results if the TelCo isn’t prepared to support this interaction model. Painful channel switching creates unsatisfied customers and churn increase – 2 outcomes TelCos should definitely avoid. Omni-Channel commerce comes as a response to the multi-channel shopping that defines customer behaviour and allows TelCos to project one single consistent brand image via all available channels. It also involves capturing customer information in one centralised place and making the most of it. Implementing Omni-Channel commerce comes through business and technical transformation.
The roadmap would imply pursuing the following:
- Adopt a commerce platform solution for leveraging the power of the existing backend systems and power the TelCo’s online channel (eShop).
- Enable the BI capabilities of the commerce platform.
- Use the commerce platform to send the brand’s offers on all available channels (apps for mobile devices, IVR, USSD, customer support, POS).
- Consider a commerce-based Self Care application, rather than a CRM-based Self Care.
- Integrate Social Media as a source of information about the customer, but also as means of performing next-generation Customer Service activities.
- Make the most of the mobile platform channel (e.g.: react to customers being in the proximity of TelCo shops, for instance, or in the proximity of TelCo sponsored events).
- Adjust offerings to the market needs
Customised Mobile Internet Plans
This buzzing demand for real-time information transformed smartphones into newspapers, calendars, chat devices and most of all wallets. Mobile data is growing rapidly due to people’s obsession with staying connected to and through their phones. Mobile data traffic has also increased along with the growth of the smartphone user base, which demands an improved and adjusted offering of mobile internet plans. Each user expects a customised plan when it comes to personal usage of communication services. The We Are Social ”Global Digital Statistics 2014” report states that there are around 13.7 mil. active mobile subscribers in UAE, out of which 38% made a purchase via their phone. That points to a high degree of internet usage and to a great opportunity for TelCos to attract subscribers by satisfying their need to stay connected without any unnecessary concerns.
Diversified Service Portfolio
TelCos have the huge advantage of already holding a large customer base, the infrastructure in place and of being trusted. Based on all these, they can consider diversifying the services they offer, in an attempt to fulfil better the customer needs, attract new ones and increase ARPU. Examples of such services, already offered by some TelCos, are:
- Personal Cloud services
- B2B Cloud Services
- IP TV services
- Entertainment Mobile Apps
- Maintain Customer Trust
As mentioned before, TelCos are already operating in a habitat where trust is essential.Customer trust can be earned via predictable and consistent customer interaction through all channels, transparent billing, usage statistics and a secure service delivery. Considering the previous recommendations, Omnichannel commerce will lead to increased customer interaction, due to the multitude of channels. And due to the fact that each of them comes with its own security constrains, they all need to maintain the sense of already established security for the customer as a whole. Security is paramount – the customer expects their data, interactions and services in a safe manner.
A PayPal study reports that people would rather leave the house without their wallet than forget their phone. In such context, no wonder mobile commerce has broadened its margins. 1 in 5 people are looking for easier ways to pay on mobile devices. But even so, a big part of consumers still have concerns when opting for an online purchase. Two of the most common concerns people face when deciding whether to make an online purchase or not, whether desktop or mobile phone, are “fear of online fraud” and “worries over payment details being stolen”. Security is a basic need and Maslow’s Pyramid testifies to it. Users still seek for this need to be fulfilled in the digital environment, especially when it concerns their financial safety. TelCos that understand the importance of such an essential factor could be one step ahead of the competition.
The recommendations above are not easy to implement – they imply a business and a technical transformation for TelCos. However, the TelCos have the advantage of being accustomed to changes as they operate in an industry that has evolved very quickly (devices, services, delivery methods, etc.), so one could say rapid adaptation to change is in a successful TelCo’s DNA.
Tackling the challenges emerging from organisational adjustments and IT improvements could be the first step towards breaking the boundaries of a traditional business and towards harnessing the power of the digitally savvy consumer.