Have you ever faced a situation in which the physician prescribed you a medication just at the face value of the situation, without delving deep into the real cause of the matter? That’s something which might work just due to a stroke of luck; however, the risk is always there that things may go awry. On the other hand, a thorough investigation or at times, consulting the family physician who has your complete medical history just makes things better.

A similar logic is applicable to the relationship between telcos and their customers. Gone are the times when telcos could just relax after selling a mobile or landline connection to their customers. Back then customer grievances on most occasions were limited to a bad connection; but no more.

Telcos still have the responsibility to sell mobile/ fixed-line connections; but what has changed is the fact that their role doesn’t end there anymore, not if they wish to sustain their position as one of the most profitable revenue-generators in the economy. So, what’s the extended responsibility they need to take over? Well, that’s where the concept of IDEA cycle comes in. Popularised by Forrester’s blog, the IDEA cycle entails four steps or elements: Identify, Design, Engineer, and Analyse. That aptly sums up a winning strategy for telcos in the current digital age. How?

As pointed above, the current scenario of diverse options and impatient customers necessitates the need to embark on a life-long (contract-long, to be very specific) journey with your clientele. The first step is to IDENTIFY. It’s crucial to keenly observe the interactions of a subscriber with the phone connection- be it the calls, the texts, or the data usage, and identify the nerve of the customer. Unless the operator studies the user behaviour, it’s not possible to pin down the areas of potential value proposition that can be made. For example, a subscriber might be browsing several holiday sites to plan a holiday. What if you could track that, and suggest possible ticketing and stay options? By strategically partnering with hotels and airline carriers, you not only can earn a commission in the process, but also further foster your bond with your subscriber. Contextual advertising and marketing done right (without being intrusive or posing as a security threat) can be a huge revenue generator for your company.

Then comes DESIGN. Once you have identified the preference of your user, the next step is to design a compelling offering. This can be a deal breaker if not carefully handled. So, make sure to take the important factors into consideration and offer something that not only fulfils the need, but also suits the budget, adds to value and enhances your ranking on the customer happiness barometer. Next comes the most expensive, and resource-intensive process- ENGINEERING. This is where the operator needs to translate the design into an operational implementation. Costs, consequences, scalability and feasibility all will need to be accounted for. Without proper planning, this can go astray and might end up eating into existing revenues in vain. The E in IDEA for telcos can also mean ENGAGEMENT. There are millions of apps available on the app store but why is it that you use few of them regularly while you might stop using the rest a few days after the download? The differentiator here is the way a particular app serves your purpose, keeps you engaged, is easy to manage and makes your life easy or better in some way. That, in short is the power of engagement- it’s very essential to give importance to how you engage with your customers after you have sold them a particular service or an add-on. The way you engage has an impact on the existing contract as well as the potential to cross-sell or upsell.

Last but not the least, comes ANALYSE- performance needs to be monitored, and analysed in order to optimise the outcomes. Though telcos have begun to identify with the importance of intelligence and analytics/analysis, the journey has just begun in most cases. Effective operationalisation of gathered intelligence can be instrumental in shaping a profitable route for any organisation. Analysis leads to identification of newer patterns and the IDEA cycle continues. So, are you ready to translate your ideas into actions?