A friendlier, more customer-centric telco is just around the corner
With the arrival of technologies such as 5G, telcos have a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break out of the commodity bracket and define themselves by the services they are able to offer.
The prospect of innovation in connectivity enabled by AI, AR, VR and XR is energising and stands to generate new revenue streams. But to take full advantage of the opportunity, telcos also need to consider another facet of connection: the way in which they interact with their customers and potential customers.
The fact is that telcos sit on an expanse of first-party data that is fragmented and underused. Part of the reason that people tend to look at telcos purely as commodity service providers is that they have typically failed to see things from the customer perspective. To illustrate this point, while most people see fast response times to service issues as a basic requirement, close to half of Australian telco customers have reported failing to receive a satisfactory solution to their problem at first contact.
Data is at the heart of any personalised customer experience. But fragmented data makes it difficult for telcos to know who their customers are, let alone understand their problems or make relevant recommendations to them. While multichannel marketing is commonplace, omnichannel — as in holistic communications controlled from a central point — is not.
At the same time, there are encouraging signs of progress, which our special report into the telco sector highlights. Across Asia-Pacific and ANZ, we are seeing some providers re-tool themselves to process large volumes of real-time data and combine it with other reserves from sources such as billing systems and payments. Taking a big-picture approach of the customer conversely enables more granular segmentation and personalisation, which translates to more meaningful communications and higher levels of satisfaction.
Telcos are realising that customer data platforms (CDPs) are a key enabler of effective omnichannel communications. Employing powerful technology to consolidate and analyse data lifts the burden on marketers and other customer-oriented leaders and frees them up to think more deeply about the content of their interactions and the experience that they should provide.
Far from being standalone solutions, CDPs are integrated by nature, working with and optimising technologies across an organisation and ultimately helping to break down silos and unlock the data within them. Choosing to put one at the centre of the customer data supply chain is one of the most important and transformative decisions a telco marketer can make.
The ability to deliver a pleasing customer experience is largely what will set telco brands apart, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. We are about to enter a new period of growth for telcos: one that is not just more technologically powerful, but also more brand- and customer-focused. The customer-centric telco is the future, and in some cases, it is already here.
To explore this topic and what it means for your business in more detail, read our report on personalisation in the Asia-Pacific telco sector.