Like most industries, Communication services providers (CSP’s) have seen significant changes in the business landscape over the past 5-10 years. Changes have come in the form of increased competition, new technologies, exponential data growth, new products, changing customer preferences just to name a few. With so many challenges how can service providers ensure that they remain profitable now and into the future?
Traditionally many service providers have been product-centric, that is they have focused much of their attention on the product offering and its features. A strategy such as this may have been successful in the past but we seeing that this approach is no longer effective in today’s markets. Service providers should be moving toward focusing on the customer’s needs, wants and demands and in so doing becoming a customer-centric organisation.
To become more customer-centric CSP’s should look at the way they use and administer communication channels. Most CSP’s use a multiple channel approach to interact with their customers; these channels may include phone channels, email, web chat and mobile applications. A typical customer interaction may use one or more of these channels, for example a customer may contact the CSP in regards to their bill over the phone, later that day they use the organisations iPad application to check on the progress of the issue, additionally the customer logs onto the organisations website in the evening to see if the issue has been resolved. The communication that passes through these channels is rarely consolidated, which means the customer interaction is often disjointed and doesn’t allow for one continuous steam of dialogue. Ideally a CSP with a customer centric-focus will keep track of all customer engagements, these engagements will be linked across channels and one stream of dialogue will exist between the customer and the CSP. This type of approach to customer communication drives deeper and more personal experiences for the customer, while significantly improves operational outcomes through efficient use of information.
As well as improving customer dialogue, the use of analytics allows CSP’s to provide a superior multichannel marketing program. Through analytics CSP’s are able to segment their customer base allowing for improved targeting. Streamlined targeting such as this allows CSP’s to create directed messaging campaigns that increases conversion rates and lower costs of communication. A successful multichannel approach saw conversion rates increase on average from between 6.2 and 18.7 percent. A multichannel approach also allows CSP’s to cater to their Tri-channel customers, these customers have been identified as using multiple channels for purchases or interaction with the CSP. Tri channel customers were found to be spending on average 2.5 times more than single channel buyers. Significant improvements to conversion rates were also identified for B2B markets, in this instance marketers were able to increase sales and reduce overspending on promotions.
So where to start?
Recently I was involved in a short term engagement with an organisation. A road map was developed to identify both short term and longer term strategic goals. This engagement saw IBM work with the client to utilise customer insight tools, this allowed us to identify high yielding customers as well as their potential profitability. We were then able to devise strategies to increase the client’s share of these customers wallet; this provided immediate value for the organisation. Through customer insights we were able to significantly improve the targeting of the clients marketing campaigns as well as reduce many unnecessary marketing costs. The tools used will continue to provide value to the organisation going forward as they look to achieve longer term strategic goals.
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