Customer data – a great tool in a Telecom’s hands!

Monday 11th, July 2016

Girl with cell phone photoCustomers are a “need to be carefully managed” lot – it is a well-established fact that one dissatisfied customer tells 12! Those 12 people tell another six each. And nothing can be more detrimental to a business than unhappy customers. Which goes to emphasize the importance of handling customers well and offering them a high level of satisfactory customer service.

Studies and surveys have shown that the telecom sector hasn’t done well when it comes to delivering great customer experiences or offering engaging customer service to its clients.

The reality on the one hand is that Telecom companies have a unique advantage in the modern marketplace – they have more data than any other industry about their customers. They have multiple terabytes of data in their networks – data that is humongous, varied and complex. LTE/4G mobile networks, GPS, location-based services, social media and IPv6 that creates as many IP addresses as there are grains of sand – together produce some unthinkable amounts of data. This data comes in myriad formats. Insights need to be got from unstructured data that comes from the Web, social media, and machine devices.

Telecos have access to some of the largest amounts of personal data about its customers – data from demographics, usage history, communications preferences, location, presence (network monitoring), purchase behavior, direct interaction (via call center  and web) and responses to campaigns. They know where they are, how they interact, and how they transact business. And unlike most other segments, they create all this data that they can consume as well.

All this data helps in understanding the customer – their needs, preferences and unique position in the lifecycle – and in getting a complete picture of each one. The data from the customer’s touch points offer a lot of insights as well – why does he choose to engage with the Telco through this particular channel, and not something else. Understanding the customer and making a profile for him will tell the staff what would interest the customer – which is where cross-selling and up-selling comes in. You will be able to tell what would work for each customer or for a group and what doesn’t. You will then be able to send the right message to the right customer at the time that is most right for him. This whole process of engaging with the customer can be automated – messages that are relevant and consistent across all channels can be sent out to each customer. In the automated process, an intelligent database will understand the background of each customer and recommend even a channel mix. All that is needed is an optimal multi-channel strategy with the right tools.

Along with this, Telecom companies need to factor in some trends that will affect this sector tremendously –

  1. There is a very large number of people born between 1980 and 2000 – they are the Gen Y – a bunch of people who have always had the internet and computers, mobile devices and video games consoles. One typical characteristic of this group of people is the fact that they come with very short attention spans and tremendous amounts of impatience. They want things done / resolved / sorted out – yesterday!
  2. Handling all the huge amounts of data in Telecom companies cannot be done manually. There is a great need for technology. Studies find that not even half the large Telecom players have the technology that is needed to be able to handle all this data.
  3. Customers expect the ease of Omni-channel engagement. They expect to interact with a business across channels – and expect to pick up where they left off each time, regardless of the touchpoint they are currently using. The only way this is possible is when all the insights from customer data that is updated in real time, is available at each touch point for customer relationship executives to use.

In such a scenario, Telecom companies need to pull out all stops in their bid to create and nurture happy customers –

  • Customer data needs to be available at all touch points – in a form that can be understood and used readily. This will facilitate instant customer recognition by all customer service executives, power each interaction so that it is meaningful and ensure the utilization of cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
  • A single customer view – loaded with all the available information about him – that is integrated across product, channel and segment is essential. Data must include customer usage, associated history, lifestyle and transactional data. According to Gartner just having this information alone would result in a revenue increase of 48% 4!
  • Great analytics – Most analytical tools will help you predict the best time for selling him something and also present you the next best offer. The best kind of campaigns are those that are multiple, concurrent and highly targeted which are based on real time triggers and retention campaigns based on current usage behavior and historic data.

Data puts an end to assumptions. With so much information, there is no need for guesses – it changes everything. Decisions can now be made based on facts. Not assumptions or clever guesswork. On the other hand it empowers the company with information and insights. We have reached a point where one can safely say that no longer should any business discipline operate without the power of data.

Data-driven customer engagement can well be the differentiator that can make or break your Telecom. Because, let’s face it – in this age of prepaid connections, it is very easy to switch service providers!

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