From Customers to Advocates: Telco's Retention and Growth Strategies Fueled by CX
4 Minute Read
As the business world continues to evolve into a hybrid, remote workspace, Telcos are acutely aware of their vital role in keeping everyone and everything connected. The past few years have been a steep learning curve—in terms of ramping up capacity and understanding what’s important to customers and how it is influencing their use of media and mobile devices.
While the demand for fast, reliable connectivity increased, this didn’t automatically translate into increased revenues for Telcos. Looking for easier or more convenient methods had many customers increasing their utilization of app-based services such as WhatsApp and FaceTime rather than texting or making calls. This meant less revenue generated from calls and texts while the demand for more competitive data packages grew. In addition, the broad adoption of smartphones and their “always with me” form factor expanded how mobile phones are used in everyday life. They’ve now become the fundamental link for customers to shop, communicate, connect, and pay. How does a Telco support and capitalize on this mobile trend? It’s creating both opportunities and challenges in the ever changing business landscape.
To deliver on rising and changing customer expectations, CX (customer experience) efforts need to mature. Especially if a Telco wants to retain their customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace and curb churn as well as grow the customer lifetime value (CLV). They also need to find ways to become more agile—which means being able to more effectively track how customers browse and buy online and keep pace as these trends change.
Digital transformation is already helping leading Telcos scale their CX efforts to improve customer retention. Here are three examples of how they’re going about it:
1. Leverage first party data for personalization
Personalization remains a key priority in delivering effective and memorable customer experiences. It is often the deciding factor for whether or not an existing customer will renew a contract. Statistics reflect that 45% of customers will choose to take their business elsewhere if brands fail to offer personalized experiences.
Telcos have an advantage in that they already have detailed first-party customer data and access to financial information. The problem is that while the data exists, due to privacy concerns, it is often filed away instead of being leveraged to personalize CX. By understanding what information is relevant to improving CX, a Telco can avoid privacy concerns and yet still leverage first party data to personalize CX to grow and retain customers.
For example: When an existing customer logs into their account, information on past buying history can be used to tailor the experience. Serving relevant offers and being able to access the right information quickly and easily creates a positive customer experience. This is instrumental in creating a friction-free path to renewal that requires minimal effort from the customer.
2. Create consistent CX
Creating consistent CX ties into personalizing customer experiences and understands that digital experiences differ across channels and devices.
For example: reading through a lengthy document of terms and conditions on a desktop is difficult. On a mobile device it can be practically impossible and at the very least extremely frustrating.
Technology such artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to optimize CX for each specific channel. AI learns from real visitors and how they navigate through web pages and the customer journey. In this process it identifies which ideas or combinations of ideas visitors respond to. The massive advantage of AI-driven experimentation and personalization is that Telcos can test multiple variables in different combinations which results in thousands of unique experiences being served to visitors. This not only supports personalization efforts, but also paints a more realistic picture of customer behavior that the AI continues to learn from.
Significantly, even if trends change, it is possible to add, remove or change ideas mid experiment. This ability to continually optimize the customer experience, regardless of the device or channel visitors are using to engage, helps deliver a more consistent CX.
3. Improving CX to differentiate
Customer expectations have increased but the types of devices and contracts are quite similar across service providers. A quality and consistently good CX is one of the few differentiating factors available to Telcos to drive retention and growth.
While the devices and plans are very similar, there are so many choices available which can complicate the buying process and frustrate customers along the way. Finding ways to simplify and remove friction from the customer journey requires ongoing experimentation with the objective of continually improving the customer experience.
It can be something as simple as experimenting with the layout of various product detail pages (PDP). The size of the image, where customer reviews are displayed on the page and the color and text on the CTA button are all small changes that can make a big impact on moving visitors further along the customer journey to buy. Similarly, finding ways to simplify the checkout process helps to reduce friction and cart abandonment. Having the ability to experiment with many different variables can optimize CX to the point that it becomes a differentiating factor to retain and grow the customer lifetime value (CLV).
Customer churn in Telcos is high and an ongoing challenge to mitigate. Improving CX has the potential to solve this while continuing to drive greater customer retention and growth. It starts with creating a customer-centric culture—one that revolves around understanding what’s important to customers and what’s influencing their buying decisions.
With the amount of first party data available Telcos are better positioned than many other industries to improve CX. Statistics from 2021 reflect that 60% of customers will make a repeat purchase based on a more personalized customer experience. This is up from a 2017 statistic of 44%, highlighting the importance of personalization as part of a strategy to improve CX.
Leveraging technologies such as AI-driven experimentation and personalization that seek to continually improve and optimize CX, enables Telcos to keep a pulse on customer behavior, identify trends and be able to pivot quickly when these change. Given how the pace of change has accelerated in recent years, continuous optimization is an advantage that can give Telcos the power to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, retain customers and achieve the ambitious growth targets they’re after.