Providing the best user experience is the core of successful innovation

By Karim Benkirane, Managing Director, Virgin Mobile UAE
Karim Benkirane, Managing Director, Virgin Mobile UAE
Karim Benkirane, Managing Director, Virgin Mobile UAE


‘Innovation’ has been the buzzword of 2018 so far. From the bitcoin and blockchain explosion to self-driving cars, Hyperloop and smart technology in the home, companies and innovators around the world are focused on the next transformational technology.

At the very core of this innovation has to be the objective of transformation for better user experiences - technology that makes customers lives better, not just for innovation’s sake. Remember the mini disc and MP3 players? Or CD-Rom? These innovations became defunct quickly because, although they were a small step in the right direction, they did not improve the user experience far enough in the face of radical innovation – the internet, customer access to data and the birth of information and entertainment streaming.

And this is how digital leaders are transforming the industry – by innovating to provide better experiences for their customers, following a customer first approach.

True innovation is not just about a transformation – it is about a continuous evolution to keep pace with changing customer expectations.

In 2017, Spotify users listened to 40% more artists than when the service launched in 2008, leading to people to discover, play, and enjoy more new music. This shift is not just because of a larger library of artists, it is all down to the implementation of a recommendation engine that allowed subscribers to discover new artists in a simple, easy way, based on what they have listened to before. This improves their user experience, and therefore changes the way that they interact with Spotify.

With Virgin Mobile UAE’s fully digital proposition, we wanted to simplify and reinvent the way our customers interact with their mobile. We reimagined the mobile onboarding process to allow customer to choose their plan on their terms and then provide fast, efficient home delivery of SIM cards and on-the-spot verification. We removed the need to go to a physical store and wait in a queue. We allow our customers the complete flexibility to set their own usage plans, and change them on a monthly basis without any long-term commitment, all in App, completely revolutionizing the customer experience and setting a new digital benchmark for the industry.

We also worked with a group of beta-testers before we launched and listened to what they actually wanted from a new mobile service. From this collaborative approach, we were able to develop a better proposition go a step further and build features such as pausing your plan when you are on holiday, bringing your existing number with you through the App, and our recently launch Recommend feature, which analyses your mobile usage and recommends a better value mobile plan for you every month. This feature was built with the sole purpose to benefit and serve our customers, and this ethos is what is needed for a real business transformation and to make mobile lives better.

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