Survey: Customers Yearn for the Personal Touch from Mobile Operators

Posted: February 12th, 2013 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s no secret that customer experience is a crucial element to communications service providers’ (CSPs) business growth strategies. Last year, I talked about the necessity to anticipate customer needs to help accomplish this, as highlighted by a survey conducted with research firm Vanson Bourne. This year, we worked with the company again to gain a global understanding of subscribers’ feelings toward their CSPs and found that they indeed welcome, and in fact desire, this personalised communication at every touch point. This includes from the first interaction when joining the service (35%), to when they are experiencing issues with the service (61%), to when their needs are changing (40%).

When would you like to have more personalised help/contact from your operator?

The good news for CSPs is that these interactions can help recoup the 20% of revenue that is currently being spent on churn compensation and retention, according to telecommunications industry consultant tefficient. While this number is staggering, it also means there is a huge cost-savings opportunity – if CSPs can earn customer loyalty. For one, churn prevention can be significantly reduced as, currently, more than one-third of consumers indicated that they might consider changing their mobile operators now if they could.

Would you like to change your operator now if you could?

Adding to this, there is a significant revenue opportunity to be had if CSPs personally interacted more often with customers.  For instance, almost two-thirds of consumers said that they would like to download large files to their devices more often if they had a better rate plan for their mobile data, better bandwidth or a better device, and nearly half (49%) would pay for a temporary upgrade to download those files more quickly and improve their viewing experience, if offered.  On average, consumers are willing to spend $3.80 for a temporary service upgrade—accounting for an increase in ARPU of 12 percent.

If your mobile operator offered you a temporary bandwidth boost / data consumption upgrade for a small charge, how much would you pay?

As I mentioned in today’s press release, the key to making this a reality and, ultimately, to earn customer loyalty, is through contextual intelligence at every touch point. As the survey results show, consistent, personalised interaction puts CSPs one step closer to winning consumers’ hearts, more efficiently utilising assets and profitably monetising their offerings.

Data for this survey was gathered from consumers in Brasil, Chile, France, Germany, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. A full copy of the research report will be available at Mobile World Congress (25-28 February 2013 in Barcelona) in Hall 6 at Stand 6C30, or by contacting [email protected]. You can visit our show microsite as well, for further examples of intelligence at every touch point.

Once you go Mac you don’t go back

Posted: May 27th, 2011 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

A lesson on capitalizing on the needs and aspirations of the customer, from real users.

On a grey and blustery final morning at Management World 2011 (#mwd11) and in a week when I had received countless notifications about exceeding my mobile data roaming limit, I felt it appropriate to tune into the “Optimizing Customer Experience Summit” specifically its “Creating Loyalty” focus.

Ericsson had “creatively” pulled in a mixed panel from the Facebook generation, selected demographically from the Dublin student and young adult fraternity, to discuss their likes and loathes associated with the mobile subscriber experience.

Almost instantly it became evident that to this select group – who in reality are likely to be some of the biggest consumers of data – that Mobile operator brand was NOT important… a shocker, I know!

Buddy-Bundling: To this bunch of intellectually-apt users, their priorities were led by application bundles that enable them to maximize social interaction with close friends, for the least cost and with offers including group handset deals – some even switching from iPhone to Blackberry to get them. In some examples the panelists talked about entire groups of friends deciding through Facebook discussions to switch operator and handset to get the best inter-friend bundling deals.

Security observation: A common misconception of the younger generations using next generation technology and innovation is of negligence associated with identity and account protection. This group of individuals actually highlighted concerns around security and encryption, maturely stating that other than for iTunes (the exception) they would generally choose not to save credit card details on their handset-accessed accounts. Some of the panelists acknowledged the risks associated with phone theft and the potential identity theft that could follow. I was surprised but pleased to hear this level of maturity and awareness.

It’s of no real surprise that in the eyes of the panel as consumers, Apple emerged as the ultimate brand they would like to build their media and social lifestyles around. Barring the unfortunate high price of the iPhone and iPad, Apple could happily command loyalty. In the words of one of the panelists “Once you go Mac you don’t go back”.

So why is it that operators can’t create such brand loyalty?

Apple’s go to market is built pretty much entirely around the user experience with its intuitive interfaces, media, application and communication on-device ecosystem tailored for ease of use. But take a look at the top operators highlighted in the panel session – Vodafone and O2. The panelists regaled us with their experiences of all-encompassing bundles (with hidden over the top charges for the obvious extras that users would want to use), poor customer service, non-tailored product bundling, patchy coverage in obviously populated areas and unwanted, poorly researched marketing attempts. The fact is that “… Products will pretty much always get commoditized, so differentiation has to come from customer experience – the quality, the way you sell and the way you support them”, a comment made in the customer loyalty session that followed.

So could I be so bold to suggest that if subscriber churn is such a problem for Mobile operators, they start using the data that is available to them from their network, services, devices, billing and CRM systems to up their game on personalization and think about becoming the “Apple of Communications – Social networking enabler or choice”. As commented by Amdocs in the following session, operators should take this extensive data, add some real-time processes and they open the door to a great Customer Experience opportunity.

The Innovation Revolution Makes its Way to Dublin

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Management World 2011 got off to a good start today despite the looming ash cloud. TM Forum reported an increase in attendance—up from 3100 to 3500—and we had the first of 100+ pre-set meetings with customers, partners and industry media and analysts.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama was unable to swing round to our booth today, as he left Dublin early last night to London. However, Ireland’s minister for communications, energy and natural resources, Pat Rabbitte, gave a nice welcome to begin the keynote session. The major theme for this year is: innovation, and how the industry needs to evolve to deliver revolutionary, profitable services. Like Mr. Rabbitte and the rest of the morning’s speakers noted, establishing collaborative partnerships and enabling customers’ journeys (in which OSS plays a particularly important role) are crucial to this.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Comptel partner Alcatel-Lucent, joined in via a video message from the eG8 to discuss the challenges of today’s digital economy. According to him, it’s important to connect the dots between operators’ interactions with consumers; as we’ve written before, customer loyalty will change if subscribers’ expectations are not met. The industry needs to be better able to cope with their demands.

Following Mr. Verwaayen was Stephen Shurrock, CEO of O2 Ireland, who explained how his organisation is trying to be

Stephen Shurrock, CEO of 02 Ireland

relevant to customers’ and Ireland’s journeys. To seize the data opportunity, O2 is focused on taking the complexity out of service / price plans—it’s about giving consumers the confidence to further take up data offerings, he said. The operator is also spurring innovation by expanding into new areas like financial services and the mobile wallet, and through its network-sharing deal with Eircom to provide better speeds and greater rural coverage.

What did you think of the morning’s presentations on the “innovation revolution”? We look forward to discussing this concept further while in Dublin.

Clear and realistic goals are key when building customer loyalty programmes

Posted: May 6th, 2011 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

By Samantha Tanner, Telecoms IQ at IQPC

It’s a key aspect of any marketing campaign—rewarding those who are loyal to you, so that they remain your customers. All businesses or brands do it in some shape or form, but how effective is your strategy?

New research into the way that loyalty marketing programmes work shows that currently around 65% of marketers believe that the key result of these campaigns is to entice new customers. The report, produced by Forrester Research, also shows that 40% believe their customer loyalty strategies are erratic and have unclear objectives.

This is a worrying statistic for brands and, indeed, customers. With competition high and a number of brands vying for the attention of the same segment of customers, rewarding them for staying loyal is a key aspect for any campaign.

Additionally, half of marketers interviewed for the research believe that their customer loyalty incentives are not in sync with their brands’ key marketing messages, causing confusion and uncertainty. So what can the telecoms industry do to ensure that their loyalty incentives are employing the right tactics in order to reward their customers and improve upon their service?

At a Customer Experience Management in Telecoms event, Peter Spencer, director of solutions incubation and thought leadership for the Customer Experience Transformation Program at Alcatel-Lucent, explained that: “Customer experience encompasses all interaction between a customer and a brand. If you understand which parts of your customer experience are important and where the critical decisions happen, then you are able to target your investments appropriately. It relies on a whole varied range of factors which need to be taken into account.”

In an age where word of mouth can circumnavigate the globe within seconds due to social networking platforms, it has become essential to correctly train employees, so they are able to pass on their knowledge to the customer. This is your first stage of creating brand advocates and rewarding them for being loyal to your brand.

Secondly, optimise your OSS so that you live up to your service fulfilment in offering a better quality of service and are completely transparent within key aspects of your customer experience programme. For example, if you are new to number portability, how are you going the extra mile in order to provide a superior network and service for your customers?

Finally, your long-serving customers are ultimately costing you less money and are promoting your products and services; surely they deserve to be rewarded for this? This is where your customer loyalty programme should start—with the aim to reward customers for their loyalty in order for them to feel appreciated.

This post was created from content on the upcoming Maximising Loyalty & Profitability event being held in Vienna in May. To find out further information and to read articles in full, please visit