Comptel recently hosted a focus group in Bangkok, Thailand, with attendees from fourteen communications service providers (CSPs) across ten different APAC countries. A multitude of topics were covered during the sessions, but the main thing on everyone’s mind seemed to be Big Data and analytics.
We surveyed attendees in the weeks leading up to our event—and the results seemed to reflect the same trends. With twenty-five respondents, 79 percent of which came from the Southeast Asia region, we got a sense of the issues facing CSPs today. We asked what IT, marketing and R&D leaders were currently focusing on, and one way or the other, it always seemed to come back to Big Data and analytics.
Here’s what our survey revealed:
1. Nearly three-quarters of CSPs say Big Data and analytics will have a big impact on their organizations
Whether CSPs are trying to better target customers or increase operational efficiency, it’s understood that they could benefit from Big Data. Although 71 percent agreed that Big Data and analytics will have a significant effect on their businesses going forward, only 58 percent said that Big Data was being used effectively.
Many CSPs could be in the same place as other businesses – data is being collected, but not being properly leveraged. New systems, processes and strategies need to be considered to truly turn all of that information into intelligence and the right actions. Only 16 percent of CSPs said that they had begun a Big Data initiative.
2. Almost nine out of ten CSPs believe integrating IT with marketing results in richer customer engagement
By breaking through the silos between those teams, CSPs can radically improve customer service, increase efficiency, ensure smart operations and realise many other business benefits.
3. 54 percent of CSPs say that their organization is undergoing changes
The landscape for CSPs is shifting, so it’s no surprise that more than half of survey respondents said that their businesses were undergoing some kind of change. A third said that their organizations had launched LTE services, many within the past six months, while 46 percent said that they were in the process of consolidating their OSS/BSS systems.
The ongoing changes may signal a search for more efficiency. Just 58 percent of respondents said that their networks and operations were efficient. A third said that the processes were “somewhat” efficient, and 8 percent said they were “inefficient.”
The Promise of Big Data and Analytics
One way or another, these three trends showcase the need for CSPs to find the right platforms to streamline their operations and bring marketing and IT together to reach the next level. Big Data and analytics are the key to this kind of success, but only if all of the pieces are in place and effectively working together.
It’s no secret that customer experience is a crucial element to communications service providers’ (CSPs) business growth strategies. Last year, I talked about the necessity to anticipate customer needs to help accomplish this, as highlighted by a survey conducted with research firm Vanson Bourne. This year, we worked with the company again to gain a global understanding of subscribers’ feelings toward their CSPs and found that they indeed welcome, and in fact desire, this personalised communication at every touch point. This includes from the first interaction when joining the service (35%), to when they are experiencing issues with the service (61%), to when their needs are changing (40%).
When would you like to have more personalised help/contact from your operator?
The good news for CSPs is that these interactions can help recoup the 20% of revenue that is currently being spent on churn compensation and retention, according to telecommunications industry consultant tefficient. While this number is staggering, it also means there is a huge cost-savings opportunity – if CSPs can earn customer loyalty. For one, churn prevention can be significantly reduced as, currently, more than one-third of consumers indicated that they might consider changing their mobile operators now if they could.
Would you like to change your operator now if you could?
Adding to this, there is a significant revenue opportunity to be had if CSPs personally interacted more often with customers. For instance, almost two-thirds of consumers said that they would like to download large files to their devices more often if they had a better rate plan for their mobile data, better bandwidth or a better device, and nearly half (49%) would pay for a temporary upgrade to download those files more quickly and improve their viewing experience, if offered. On average, consumers are willing to spend $3.80 for a temporary service upgrade—accounting for an increase in ARPU of 12 percent.
If your mobile operator offered you a temporary bandwidth boost / data consumption upgrade for a small charge, how much would you pay?
As I mentioned in today’s press release, the key to making this a reality and, ultimately, to earn customer loyalty, is through contextual intelligence at every touch point. As the survey results show, consistent, personalised interaction puts CSPs one step closer to winning consumers’ hearts, more efficiently utilising assets and profitably monetising their offerings.
Data for this survey was gathered from consumers in Brasil, Chile, France, Germany, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. A full copy of the research report will be available at Mobile World Congress (25-28 February 2013 in Barcelona) in Hall 6 at Stand 6C30, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit our show microsite as well, for further examples of intelligence at every touch point.
Over the years, we have surveyed communications service providers (CSPs) and consumers alike to provide deeper insight into the telecoms world. For instance, at this year’s Mobile World Congress, we revealed that a whopping two-thirds of subscribers feel neglected by their mobile operators—and that they are really looking for their CSPs to interact and engage with them.
Today, we are bringing this polling tradition to our blog, Compelling Conversations on OSS, and invite you to share your thoughts on pressing industry issues with us. We hope you will vote in our inaugural survey related to customer engagement, and welcome you to share any thoughts in the “Comments” section below, especially if you select “Other”.
Microsperience… First Touch, Last Touch, Every Touch
Analyst Teresa Cottam explains why every interaction that takes place between a communications service provider (CSP) and a customer is important. The CSP often perceives the first touch, or first customer engagement to be a sales transaction where it signs up a customer to receive a service. However, customers believe that their relationship with a CSP doesn’t just begin with a simple sale—it takes a longer period of time to cultivate.
Teresa uses a personal experience with an old broadband operator to explain how CSPs should build better relationships with customers. After mishandling her service transfer process, the operator made her wait 30 minutes on the phone, and a support assistant accused her of signing up for the wrong package and dismissed her concerns.
Teresa says this example emphasises issues that currently exist in the market, and proves that CSPs need the ability to analyse data in real time to get a better understanding of and retain their customers. CSPs need to focus on not just the first touch but any and every touch in order to build loyalty. She also notes that in today’s competitive market, even forgetting that ex-customers could be future customers is a missed revenue opportunity and could hinder CSPs’ success.
telecomasia.net… APAC Telcos Concentrate on Quality
Joseph Waring gives an overview of a recent Telecom Asia-Ovum survey of telecom executives in 19 countries across Asia Pacific. The results revealed quality of service (QoS) to be the key distinguishing feature for operators in the region.
Interestingly, the survey also found that fewer respondents (38% compared to 54% two years ago) viewed unlimited data rates as the most effective way to charge for mobile broadband services. But Ovum analysts believe that the percentage of people who agree with this method is still too high, and urges operators to steer away from flat rates, which can over-burden networks and negatively impact QoS.
Additionally, survey respondents indicated that they believe video will be the key driver of continued mobile broadband traffic growth in Asia Pacific. Like Comptel, Ovum believes that operators must look to balancing the management of resources like bandwidth, while controlling customers’ data services, in order to maximise the customer experience and monetise their offerings.
CommsMEA… Right Path for Roaming?
Industry experts wonder if recent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regulations could potentially cause more harm than good. These called for telecom operators to slash mobile phone roaming charges to consumers by at least 50 percent beginning 1 February in a bid to bring costs in line with those in Europe. Roaming revenues account for a significant proportion of overall profits for many CSPs, and a sudden forced reduction in tariffs may, unfortunately, lead to price increases, less investment in other areas and other unintended consequences.
But, there is evidence that Gulf operators are already moving in the right direction towards decreasing roaming tariffs without the regulations. Peter Lyons, director of spectrum policy, Africa & Middle East for the GSM Association (GSMA), says that operators responding to the competition are driving roaming costs down and that they are making an effort to increase the transparency of roaming rates. On the other hand, some point out that regulation is needed to protect against distortions in the market that can be created by dominant players. What do you think is the right path for the Gulf in terms of roaming?
We at Comptel wanted to gauge what customers think about their relationships with their mobile operators, and shed light on how mobile operators can better engage with them to increase loyalty and capitalise on potential upsell opportunities. (A big thank you goes to research firm Vanson Bourne who we commissioned last month to survey 2,000 consumers from across the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States.)
The survey findings clearly indicate that customers need more love from their mobile operators. Two-thirds of respondents said that they feel neglected by their mobile operators, and more than two in five are likely to churn within the next two years as a result.
Would you appreciate your mobile operator being more interactive with you based on how you use its services?
More interaction would certainly go a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction. For instance, more than one in five respondents reported experiencing poor quality of service (QoS) at least once a week. Yet, the majority of customers (72 percent) are largely willing to forgive and forget if their mobile operator apologised and sent a special offer. Younger customers aged 18-25, in particular, are most likely to become more loyal if shown more love.
If your mobile operator noticed this poor service when it happened and sent you an offer (e.g. free coffee at Starbucks) and apologised, would you be more loyal to them?
The survey also revealed that there are significant revenue opportunities to be had if mobile operators were more attentive to their customer bases. Nearly three in five respondents said that if their mobile operator offered faster download rates, they would pay for it. In fact, nearly one in five respondents said that they would be willing to pay more than five pounds, euros or dollars extra monthly for such an upgrade.
If your mobile operator offered you faster download rates, how much would you pay for this a month?
Like I said in today’s press release, with so many customers expected to churn if their needs are not better met, mobile operators need to adapt to their demands for more personalised and dynamic services to survive. Comptel believes real-time data collection and analysis and increased customer interaction are critical to fostering loyalty and maximising revenue opportunities.
A full copy of this research report will be available at our booth at Mobile World Congress (27 February – 1 March in Barcelona) in Hall 1 at Stand 1C06, or email email@example.com. We hope to see you at the show and look forward to discussing the issue of customer engagement further in the coming months.