A digital-first mindset is the key to customer retention for telcos says Hamish White, CEO of telecommunications software provider Mobilise
A survey conducted by Accenture revealed that 77 per cent of telcoms customers are willing to retract their loyalty towards a specific network operator. Lock-in contracts are no longer sufficient to retain a customer base long term. To keep customers satisfied, telecoms companies should do more with what’s already at their fingertips — data.
In the telecoms sector, customer loyalty is by no means assured. Churn rates, the rate at which customers stop doing business with an entity, are a shared concern among MNOs and MVNOs. While difficult to define, annual churn rates for most telcos are thought to be anywhere between ten and 67 per cent, making the industry one of the biggest sufferers of customer loss.
For customers, the grass may always seem greener on the other side — especially if it’s being offered for a better price. So how can telcos win more business, and keep it?
Digital-first means customer first
Understanding consumers’ expectations of their service provider plays a crucial role in customer retention, especially in a market with so much choice.
Consumers are becoming more digitalised. As the physical becomes antiquated, customer relationships are being developed through successful in-app or online experiences. Consumers have come to expect always-on and always-accessible services, making it more important than ever that telcos adopt a digital-first approach to meet the changing, digitalised needs of consumers.
Spurred on even more by the pandemic, customers are living and thinking digitally. Areas of their work, recreation and social lives are being increasingly played out in the virtual world — and it’s in this realm where telcos must strike. According to Salesforce, more than 70 per cent of customers expect companies to create new ways to access existing products and services, and the most effective way of creating more possibility is to do so online.
Like their customers, telcos must also become digital-first. In fact, digitally mature companies are found to be 23 per cent more profitable than less mature peers, and 64 per cent more likely to achieve business goals. A digital-first mindset involves making decisions based on the customer’s wants and needs and measuring newly developed features and touchpoints against these metrics.
Digital-first telcos have an advantage over traditional telcos in understanding the drivers of churn. By adding further dimensions of data, available only via digital channels, and combined with predictive analytics Digital-first telcos can have a far deeper understanding of the drivers of churn and when customers might terminate their contract. These enhanced insights allow telcos to foster better customer relationships, implement effective retention programmes and upsell tailored products and services before a customer becomes a risk of churning.
Data analytics can show operators customer profiles, device information, network data, customer usage patterns, location data and more. Customised service and product recommendations can be upsold so that customers feel like their needs are being met, offering a more personalised service.
No matter their size or maturity, retaining customers will always be a challenge for telcos. However, there’s a lot to learn from the changing behaviours of the consumer and MNOs and MVNOs alike must make the digital switch. In an industry that — fundamentally — facilitates connections between people, using digital tools to better connect with customers needs to be at the top of any telco’s agenda.