Smartphone penetration is over 60% in the Middle East region. Almost half of them are young and tech savvy individuals who expect a lot more from the technologies they use. These new age customers turn to their smartphones for everything from communication to entertainment, information, purchases, social networking and so on. Convenience and choice are absolutely essential for them. They also prefer to interact with brands more on these digital channels.
Telcos, on the other hand, are already feeling the pressure of ever increasing customer expectations. The customer experience spectrum is ever expanding in this digitally connected age. Telcos, now, not only need to ensure network speed and reliability but also proactively engage with customers to help them discover right content and provide a consistent experience across the digital touch points.
What should telcos do to navigate this ever expanding customer experience spectrum in this digital age?
The answer is not an easy one. Encouraging subscribers to migrate to 3G or 4G networks may solve one part of the problem. But the real challenge lies in customer engagement and customer experience management across the lifecycle. It is critical now that telcos have a much more holistic view of customers beyond knowing what’s their ARPU or their subscribed data plan. Telcos need to go beyond network usage to track each customer’s behaviour across digital touch points, digging out customers’ product affinities, social circles, travel patterns, spending habits, etc. This, in turn, can unlock a plethora of opportunities for Telcos to engage with customers and offer relevant content or services, either by themselves or through their partner ecosystem. Big data platforms integrate these kind of data in rest and in motion from diverse sources at a huge scale. Advanced analytics and machine learning techniques, on the other hand, facilitate multi-dimensional analysis to derive deeper actionable insights on customers’ behaviour to take smarter decisions.
The new age customers don multiple hats. Their needs constantly change as they transform from a business user to a sports enthusiast to a movie aficionado all within a single day. Complexity further increases as customers’ persona could change across touch points too. The operator needs to keep adapting to these changes and provide customers with relevant offers fitting their historical persona, contextual behaviour and sometimes even external market conditions like competitor actions. This leads to the other key requirement for telcos — which is the speed of decisioning. Opportunities are extremely short-lived in this digital age, so telcos need to derive insights in a very short time to take appropriate decisions and act on them very fast. Again, a timely proactive engagement take the experience to the next level.
The customer experience does not end there as the customer is always looking for more value. Incorporating insights from other data sources like social media, other enterprises and government paves the way for endless possibilities of delighting the customers. Consider for example, how convenient it can be if, based on the payment history of a mobile customer, a bank could offer him a loan. Or, when the reading on his fitness app indicate the imminence of a health crisis, his physician is automatically intimated and he remotely provides remedies to prevent it.
The customer experience spectrum widens further and so will the applicability of analytics to make customers’ lives better!