Telcos are at the forefront of businesses that need to make significant changes in the coming months if they are to keep up with the tech and connectivity advancements, consumer shopping trends and regulation changes. Experts believe that there will be 20.4 billion connected ‘things’ globally by 2020 and this alone puts a huge pressure on telecommunications companies powering everything from mobile devices to smart cities.
Over the course of a number of blogs, we’ll be exploring the challenges and opportunities telco companies have in order to strike a balance between consumer demand and innovation, allowing them to not only survive but broaden their user base and open up new revenue streams.
Much of the information in the blogs is based on our research paper, ‘Supercharging personalisation: customer behaviour and attitudes in telco buying decisions – an independent research project on the effective use of intelligent guided selling’’ – which you can download in full and for FREE, here .
First up, regulation changes and convergence – how can telcos turn these huge challenges into opportunities for growth?
Around two in five mobile switchers (38%) – 2.5 million people – say they experienced at least one major problem when switching, while seven in ten encountered at least some difficulty(Ofcom Research)
All this looks set to change in 2019, as a significant shift in regulation will allow consumers to simply text to switch their telco provider, a regulation that has huge implications for any provider not up to the mark in terms of customer experience and satisfaction. In fact, the new regulations are so simple – mobile customers will simply request a unique switching code, either by text or online, to pass on to their new provider who must then arrange for the switch to complete within one working day– that customers could potentially request their code while looking for a new deal – for example, while on the phone to a new provider, or in store. The potential for churn is huge, and this will be one of the biggest challenge telcos face. Whilst previously a number of customers might have been put off from switching due to perceived complexity, this will cease to be the case with new regulations.
The opportunity is now for telcos to improve their NPS and their customer experience across all channels. Whether telcos are looking to keep hold of a customer or poach one from a rival, crucial to success is being able to give both prospects and existing customers an offer that meets all of their expectations and reduces the chances of them being miss-sold a product, regardless of how complex their requirements might be.
“Consumers have a strong need for high-quality product information, personalised recommendations and helpful, knowledgeable sales associates, backed up by a unified omni-channel experience” – Conversity’s Customer Behaviour and Attitudes in Telco Buying Report, 2018
Many telcos are beginning to realise the power of intelligent guided selling (IGS) to connect with their customers on a more personal level, IGS allows telcos to get to know their customers with lifestyle assessments, identifying their own personal requirements and producing deals, packages and recommendations based on these.
“To enhance personalisation, there’s no better way to do this than to empower staff across all sales channels” – Conversity Telco Report, 2018
We know that personalisation and providing great information upfront – will be critical in avoiding customer churn.
Opportunity Knocks – 5G and the need to connect, converge and create
Selling mobile phones and contracts might be the bread and butter of any telco, but cross-selling related products and services – particularly persuading customers to choose a quad play bundle – is the holy grail. If you can cross-sell effectively and pull market share away from the established players in TV and broadband, the potential for further growth can be massive. Opportunity knocks, as outlined below…
‘A 5G world is fast approaching and it’s set to revolutionise connectivity with 5G providing an experience for users with less delay and unlimited connections. Telcos and technology companies alike are hedging their bets on 5G given the strains existing network infrastructures face with increasing data demands. To deliver the services they want, technology companies such as like Google and Apple, who are already preparing for 5G cellular network, will look to telcos initially, but will ultimately build a network themselves if they have to to deliver the services they desire. At this stage operators should not be willing to take a risk like this. Building the necessary foundation now will cement their place in future.’ (TheCSuite.co.uk)
The challenge for telcos to stay ahead, to achieve differentiation and brand advantage, lies in their creative vision. How can telcos take the reality of the hyper-connectivity of 5G and create winning, profitable and secure digital products and services? One thing is for certain, there’s a huge amount of potential for the upselling of converged bundles. To make it happen, telcos need to make sure they have the tech in place that can draw databases and information together in an efficient manner, and in a way that makes the job of a sales associate easier.
What is becoming clear is that telco companies must improve the quality of their services to meet new consumer demands. For instance, ‘consumers may not purchase streaming movies if the media doesn’t come in high definition or the company’s services cannot handle such a data-intensive service. In general, technological hurdles become less important over time, compared to the strategy behind rolling out a new service.’(Chron.com).
IGS – An answer to telco troubles?
We’ve touched on Intelligent guided selling numerous times during this blog, and It’s time to get into the nitty gritty of what it’s really all about.
29% of respondents in Conversity’s telco research report said would like tech to enable them to compare product and feature benefits (remaining relatively static across all three generations). An additional 28% would like it to provide detailed information on what they’re thinking about buying, and 23% would like easier checkout and payment processes (rising to 27% for millennials).
IGS enables you to accurately personalise the experience for each individual customer regardless of the complexity of their preferences. This can be hugely powerful in driving improvements to NPS and reducing miss-selling, especially with switching set to become easier for consumers. Essentially, IGS is a powerful tool in enhancing the omni-channel experience and driving sales, ensuring that you’re able to cater to the preferences and needs of people from different generations, income brackets or family sizes.
Ultimately, opportunities are vast for those telco companies willing to extend their effort when it comes to connecting and converging. Customers are looking for truly exceptional customer experiences teamed with intuitive recommendations, with many already ready to buy bundles of packages if the offer and service level feels right.
Next up, the complexities of upsell and cross-sell, plus the real importance of personalisation.
The Conversity Team