Tag Archives: Loyalty

Big Data: Mountain of Differentiation

30 Sep

A mountain of opportunity for differentiation

A mountain of opportunity for differentiation

There have been many discussions on the topic of Big Data over the past couple of years. Is it being over-hyped? The Gartner Group thinks so.

Big Data has become the generic term for the massive amounts of data businesses have accumulated during the course of their operations. There are ongoing discussions on how useful it might be and how it can be used. By applying the right analytics software to the data, most believe it can lead to new efficiencies, improved business processes, lower costs, higher profits, improved customer experiences, services and loyalties.

Communication Service Providers (CSP) have an absolute mountain of Big Data within their domain that is clearly untapped – or at the very least under-utilized. Is this a missed opportunity for differentiation? Let’s take a closer look at their current business model and assess if there are new possibilities.

Mobile CSP’s revenue streams are based on service usage and their major costs are subscriber churn, device subsidiaries and keeping their networks current. To differentiate themselves from their competitors, they focus on devices, price plans and network. The problem:

  • They all have the same or similar devices and price plans.
  • They all claim the fastest 4G/LTE network.

Big Data
Within their domains, they have available both real-time and “static” or near real-time data. A small subset of available real-time data includes:

  • Currently active identity and device(s)
  • Current location, presence, availability
  • Active content
  • Charging preferences, prepaid balance
  • Minutes and data usage

A small subset of “static” or near real-time data includes:

  • Real Name and Billing address
  • Number of devices
  • Web-sites accessed, searches made
  • Friends and Family, Business associates
  • Defined preferences
  • Content and genre purchased and downloaded

For CSP’s that also offer wireline, broadband and video services, this list can grow to include number of devices in the home, devices active, channels watched, time of day, days of the week and many more data items.

Each service provider also has multiple third-party partners that augment their services. These partners are also going to have more information about subscribers relevant to what, how and when services and content are accessed and utilized.

With 10, 20 or even 100 million plus subscribers initiating a combined millions of transactions each day, all of which gets distilled into data records, that is a massive amount of data that can be used to establish insights and intelligence about subscribers and understand their preferences.

Identity and Master Data
All of the above data items are tied together by the mobile number/account number which acts as the common Identity or primary key of the subscriber. By using master data management techniques such as centralization, virtualization and federation, CSP’s can establish a single, universal view of the individual subscribers.

Analytics
With ongoing advances in analytics software, CSP’s have at their finger-tips the means to truly understand how their services are used and by whom. They can also define, redefine and fine-tune market segments, demographics and buying characteristics. As a result, it doesn’t take much imagination to brainstorm a list of ideas for service providers to:

  1. Personalize the service experience
  2. Develop enhanced loyalty management programs
  3. Enable targeted advertising specific to the individual’s preferences

Are there opportunities for service providers to differentiate themselves beyond just price plans and devices? Absolutely. There is a mountain of Big Data available to make it happen. With just a subset of the available data, there is much more that a service provider can do to enhance the experience of their subscribers. The category of personalization alone can create a whole new set of ideas and innovation.

Corner Office Wisdom:
In order to think outside the box when it comes to finding new opportunities and enhancing your business, sometimes you just need to look inside the box.

Source: http://cornerofficewisdom.com/2013/09/30/big-data-mountain-of-differentiation/

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Calling time on dissatisfaction – Mobile operators need to take a closer look at customer experience if they are to prevent churning.

5 Dec

Customer retention is a top priority concern for companies operating under today’s fiercely competitive and difficult market conditions. More so in the saturated telecoms industry, in particular the pre-paid market where customer churn rates stand at around 40%.

Customers are always on the lookout for better deals and with an array of service providers to choose from, who can blame them. In an industry where it is cheaper to retain your existing customers than to acquire new ones, offering a simple integrated and intuitive customer experience is the key to success. While a better deal elsewhere is always going to disrupt the market, there is no escaping the link between customer experience and loyalty.

However loyalty can become severely tested when customers are faced with issues such as poor network service. A recent study conducted by Teradata with a market-leading, European mobile network operator, examined the relationship between network failures and customer churn. It showed an extremely high percentage of customers who experienced a network problem regularly over an extended period of time would move to another provider. Understandably, this trend was especially marked when failures occurred at the customer’s home or office.

Through a better understanding of the customer’s experience, telco operators can make a much stronger case to deal with such situations proactively. However currently, most telecoms companies rely solely on call detail records (CDRs) to do this. At the same time, network information gathered has been typically used by network operations for the purpose of network performance optimisation, capacity planning and rollouts. In reality carriers need to be using all available information to address issues around customer experience and churn. Active data warehousing helps them do just that, combining operational support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS) data to better serve and retain high-value customers.

By integrating network information into an enterprise data warehouse (EDW), organisations can get a single, integrated view of their business. This single view will enable better management of the customer’s experience at all touch points from the edge of the network right through to customer care. Telcos need to collect, correlate and examine all network usage and signalling data at an individual customer and household level, including failed and disconnected calls, software and device issues. Only then will they be able to address customer dissatisfaction proactively before it reaches a crisis point.

For example, a customer who has poor network coverage at home may decide to use their landline; perhaps the first step to switching providers. By examining the network data for that customer, including dropped calls, unsuccessful call attempts, and bouncing between 3G down to 2G, they can identify and address the root cause of the problem. This may be easily solved by offering the customer a femtocell.  If the mobile operator has a good understanding of this customer’s value, they can vary how much they charge for this on a sliding scale, perhaps providing it free for high-margin customers.

To sell femtocells, mobile operators first targeted whole areas where network coverage was poor. However, this approach was unsuccessful. Some people preferred to use their fixed line anyway; others lived on higher ground and found the coverage was good enough for what they needed.  There is a wide expectation gap between those who only use their mobile phone socially and occasionally, and business users who see a consistent service as mission-critical.  When network data is used to identify those most likely to need better coverage, the conversion rates for femtocells skyrocket.

Until recently, mobile operators were reluctant to invest in the technology infrastructure needed to deal with the high volumes of data they hold.  However, this view is changing as they begin to appreciate that offering a simple, integrated and intuitive customer experience is the key to succeed as a next-generation carrier and utilising such data will enable them to invest their funds most effectively. The evolving technology from WiMax 4G/LTE, VOIP and smart devices means it is now fundamental that operators understand their customer behaviours across all uses so they can stay ahead of the subscriber demands and deliver superior service.

Active data warehousing will enable carriers to leverage the network experience data for better CEM. It focuses on the missing dimensions, providing insight on the customer experience related to device, location, the last-mile connection and new 3G services. The combination of data and powerful analytics at their fingertips can bring big benefits. Eventually, telecoms best practice will see insights gained from network data integrated with all customer data, including that from new less-structured sources, such as social media sites. When this is achieved, the industry will know when a customer is dissatisfied with a service before the situation reaches crisis point and they decide to move on to a competitor.

Source: http://www.itp.net/591483-calling-time-on-dissatisfaction/#.UL8IoIMsDvY
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