The Complexities of Cracking the Cross Sell & Why Telcos Need to Know the Worth of Getting Personal

Success in telco is so often about fine margins. The difference between closing a sale or losing out to a competitor can hinge on the smallest yet most critical of factors, such as a small disparity in price plans or a superior level of customer service. It almost goes without saying that – in a telco world so fraught with choices and complex buying options – persuading a prospect to become a customer – especially a customer who purchases more than one service or product from you – is about being able to go that extra mile to make sure consumers are given the right guidance at every stage of the buying process.

More bread, more butter.

There is little more satisfying than killing two (or three) birds with one stone – and in the case of telcos, there’s also nothing more valuable to a prosperous future. Selling mobile phones and contracts might be the cash cow of any telco, but cross-selling related products and services – particularly persuading customers to choose a quad play bundle – is the holy grail.

If telcos want to not only survive, but prosper, then effectively nailing the cross sell (whilst also pulling market share away from the established players) the potential for growth can be massive.

But, as Sales Performance Company, Optymyze pointed out, “it will take an ability to adapt to change, along with a healthy dose of courage and vision, for industry leaders to take the heat off new customer acquisition – which has for many years formed the backbone of telco’s sales strategy – and refocus their efforts on building deeper brand relationships with existing customers. Improving the customer experience and garnering customer loyalty – which is currently at a low – are part of this effort.”

Why does cross sell for telcos provide such a compelling argument? Well, perhaps most importantly, increased customer dependence on the provider in turn reduces churn rates. For an industry often characterised by high volatility, this is no small benefit. It’s no surprise that a long-term commitment to a provider, especially in the telco world is hard-won and easily lost – and the addition of ‘one text switching’ set to make this even more so, but the more services a customer subscribes to, the more ties he or she has to that provider, and the more disruptive and strenuous it is to go with someone new.

As Steve Jobs said, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Which is where Intelligent Guided Selling comes to the fore for telcos, provides customers with the best solution to a problem that may otherwise seem very difficult to solve.

In Conversity’s most recent research paper ‘Supercharging personalisation: customer behaviours and attitudes in telco buying decisions’, it is perhaps unsurprising that the major players are most likely to be front-of-mind for people buying new phones or contracts. This is broadly the same for broadband and TV, with Sky, BT and Virgin occupying the top spots in these two areas.

Dig a little deeper though, and we see where the big cross-sell opportunities lie for telcos. When we look, for example, at those considering Vodafone for TV, the overall figure of 8 per cent rises to 14 per cent for those in households of four people, and up to 19 per cent in homes of six or more people. The picture is similar for both O2 and EE. Millennials are also markedly more likely than their older peers to consider telcos for TV services (14 per cent considered Vodafone, 12 per cent considered O2 and 10 per cent considered EE).

In short…

There’s no reason why telcos can’t chip away at this advantage and see results, especially when it comes to targeting families and larger households. These customers likely have busy lifestyles and children to support, so a product or service that can tie their mobile, TV, broadband and home phone together in one package – the coveted quad play bundle – is likely something they’ll consider.

The same goes for millennials, who seem to be more open-minded to the idea of combining different services with a single provider. Considering this, 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 advisor easier. With access to years of data on customer behaviour and preferences, telco companies can create insightful customer profiles and enable finely-tuned cross-selling offers.

Personalise, Optimise, Maximise

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again (and again, and again…) Reaching the next level of sales stardom is about being able to personalise the customer experience in a way that you haven’t done before. This applies just as much to telcos as much as other retailers. To achieve this, it’s pertinent to know how your customers feel about interacting with staff so you can plan your strategy accordingly.

For telco organisations facing a steady rise in online sales, doing it right may mean prioritizing the real, live people in customer service. In our most recent telco research paper, we found that a majority (57 per cent) consider it important to speak to someone in-store when making a purchase, rising to 62 per cent amongst millennials.

Those employees could well serve as brand ambassadors, and your best shot at establishing a positive personal relationship with an existing customer. This is where using data to anticipate individual customer needs and identify untapped opportunities comes in. The role customer service plays in the success or failure of cross-selling can’t be overstated.

In short…

The human touch is far from dead: in fact, it’s still a key part of the telco customer

experience. At the same time, it’s paramount that efforts to enhance personalisation are carried out in a way that respects the customer’s independence. There’s no better way to do this than to empower staff across all sales channels to provide a service that ticks all the right boxes in terms of what a customer is looking for, and does it as efficiently as possible.

Introducing IGS to your sales team and tech maximises the opportunity to both cross sell and personalise, with access to years of data on customer behavior and preferences, telco companies can create insightful customer profiles and enable finely-tuned cross-selling offers.

Download the full report, ‘Supercharging personalisation: customer behaviours and attitudes in telco buying decisions’ and look out for our next deep dive into the world of CX for telco and retail.