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Transforming the telecommunications industry with customer centricity

Industry Marketing Manager - Communications, IBM

I want you to think about just one number today: 60 percent. That is the average percentage of subscribers for a communications service provider who are classified as antagonists: the subscribers who are unhappy with the service, have lowest wallet share and are at highest risk of churning (choosing competitor’s services).

Communications service providers across the globe have relentlessly rolled out multiple customer-centricity initiatives over the last decade, from retraining call center and store employees, to rolling out new website features, offering deep rebates on the latest devices and, of late, engaging subscribers using social mediaSo, what’s missing? What more can telecommunications organizations do to improve subscriber loyalty, reduce churn and increase revenue?

The answer lies in leveraging all of the subscriber data, internal as well as external (such as twitter feeds and other social media data), to transform business operations across customer care, marketing and network operations departments. All of these departments must look at things from a subscriber’s perspective and "switch hats” to understand subscriber usage, behavior and preferences in a way that will satisfy their current needs and help plan for their future needs. 
 

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Different departments switching hats with the subscriber

  • Customer care: Which apps does the subscriber use, and how frequently? How is the subscriber’s experience of the network at various locations (home, office, bus, train, mall)? How is the subscriber sharing their experience using social media and other channels? As customer care puts on the “subscriber hat” they can identify and resolve issues faster to delight the customer. A customer care team for a major European service provider did just that with help from IBM Big Data & Analytics technology, reducing call handling time by up to 33 percent and call escalations (from first line to second line support) by up to 50 percent!
     
  • Marketing: Which services does the subscriber utilize? How do the subscribers consume data using their smartphones? Marketing teams can create very effective personalized and targeted offers when they understand the subscriber’s usage of various services at a granular level. A marketing team for a Tier 1 Asia Pacific CSP did just that and delivered 400 percent increase in campaign uptake for converting pre-paid subscribers to post-paid accounts.
     
  • Network operations: What was the subscriber doing when they had an issue using network services? How frequently does the subscriber experience slow speed or dropped call issues? At which locations? The network operations team can identify and resolve network issues affecting the subscriber’s quality of experience, while avoiding unnecessary investments. A network operations team at a major European service provider did just that and saved over 10 million Euros in unnecessary capacity investment for transmission backhaul.

Telecommunications at IBM Insight

At this year’s IBM Insight conference, we have sessions specifically geared to the telecommunications industry where multiple service providers will be talking about how they switched hats using the IBM Big Data & Analytics portfolio and understood their subscribers better to drive outstanding business results.

Visit the agenda builder to find sessions focused on customer centricity in telecommunications and keep an eye out for our customer luncheon at Insight where Ms. Srividya Sridharan, research director for customer insights at Forrester, and Dr. Arvind Sathi, author of Engaging Customers Using Big Data: How Marketing Analytics Are Transforming Business, will be discussing effective customer engagement strategies.

So, for the best experience possible, don't just come to listen. Instead, switch hats so we can listen to you. Yes you're a part of a communications service provider organization, but you're also a consumer of those services. Usually, we just hear from the industry leader that you are—this time we also want to hear from the experienced consumer you have become. This exercise will teach us all how to switch hats with, and better serve, subscribers.

I look forward to seeing you online and in person at IBM Insight 2014 to continue this conversation.