Building customer loyalty: More than just rewards and punch cards

Technical Writer

In the business world, the word "loyalty" conjures up images of key ring cards, punch systems and reward points. But telecommunications providers that use these systems for building customer loyalty are only seeing part of the picture. "Loyalty is no longer a function of rewards programs and incentives; it is a function of great customer experience," Lane Terralever Vice President of Digital Media & Data Eric Duncan told NGData.

Creating an amazing customer experience can be a tall order, especially in an industry known for a lack of brand loyalty. The good news is that your telecommunications company already has the information necessary to make this happen in the form of data collected through various channels. The trick is to effectively use data analytics to learn what your customers want, and then redesign their experience with loyalty as the ultimate end game.

Here are three ways to use data analytics to build a loyal customer base:

1. Create a personalized customer experience

The first steps to building customer loyalty in telecommunications companies are as follows: Remove the data silos that often occur, create a full customer profile and determine how you can provide personalized, high-value service that helps customers solve their problems. To make a lasting impression, employ proactive strategies such as mining call center data, with which you can proactively call customers with recurring issues and let them know ahead of time about service issues. reports that a leading telecommunications company used this approach and learned that a third of the customers checked their balance through interactive voice response after paying. Therefore, the provider began proactively sending customers their bill after payments were submitted. "Similarly, if you know that certain customers always prefer a certain interaction channel for certain interactions, offer it as a default option," author Brendan Read notes.

2. Solve customer problems quickly customers define a great experience as one where they don't have to call customer service to get help. Data now tells you where your customer is on their individualized journey so you can provide the information that they need, when they need it. "If you know a customer is getting stuck at a particular part, you can message them guides, walk-throughs and instructional videos. If they're still getting stuck, you can utilize that data to escalate so that there's a personal outreach," says Don MacLennan, CEO of Bluenose, in the NGData blog post.

3. Create loyalty solutions based on customers' unique behaviors

While dedicated programs shouldn't be your entire approach to customer loyalty, they can be very effective as part of a larger focus on the customer experience, especially if a rewards program is customized for each customer's needs. A Comarch white paper recommends not focusing on the actual reward, but one that is "relevant, attainable and economically valuable." However, the key is that programs should be based on the customer's behavior pattern and needs, and it should communicate the value of membership. Carriers should use data from customer relationship management, billing and order management systems to tailor promotions and rewards.

Customers want to feel that service providers know who they are, understand what they want and have their best interests at heart. Your clients are no different. When it comes right down to it, that understanding is what makes people loyal to a specific company or product.

See how IBM is using predictive analytics to better understand subscribers and visit the IBM Analytics for Telecommunications solution pages.