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Telcos using holistic data to create customer intimacy

By , Senior Consultant & Integration Specialist, TECHSOFT INTERNATIONAL
South Africa , 20 May 2021
Tony Nkuna Senior Consultant & Integration Specialist, TechSoft International.
Tony Nkuna Senior Consultant & Integration Specialist, TechSoft International.

Telco organisations understand better than most that their business is only as good as the last positive interaction experienced by a customer. It is a business mantra by which they live and breathe and one that is shaped by a holistic approach to data management that then influences the levels of customer intimacy they base their success on.

Experiences and interactions are today just as meaningful as products and services when building out the customer experience, and research firm Forrester defines customer experience (CX) as “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

For telcos and mobile operators, this ranges from the client first discovering your business, selecting a product that meets their needs, then closing the loop with the purchase of a solution or a contract.

Customer experience is ultimately influenced by the entirety of interactions with an organisation, and this can only be shaped by the data gathered on each customer. Let's consider it from the customer's point of view, and let's look at mobile operators for a second. The consumer wants to access their information and the details of their relationship with a business wherever they are and whatever device they are on. This requires agile omnichannel fulfilment.

Emotional connections

In the telco world, customer retention is often aligned to emotional connection. Loyalty is a thing of the past as today we are dealing with consumers whose number one priority is service. A customer is more likely to return and be loyal if they experience a positive emotional connection. Businesses that use emotional connections can outperform competitor sales by 85% - links that are gauged from interactions demonstrated in data.

Using data management, cloud intelligence platforms, and API integration solutions, customers can achieve faster time to market for new apps, develop new channels, and vastly improved CX. For anyone operating in the competitive telco space, agility is everything, and with the growth in digital properties, there is a plethora of data to help customers influence decisions daily.

Customer Intimacy

Business reinvention is underpinned by customer intimacy, but technology systems need to be built around three core technology capabilities to capitalise on customer-driven offerings, personalised, predictive engagement, and connected experiences.

The modern CIO is not reaching in his toolbox to pick out a piece of prebuilt software, but rather looking at what can be developed, based on the understanding of the customer, to meet an immediate need. A lot of customer engagement leads to nuances that speak to what a customer wants, and in that lies the key to what must be built to better serve them.

To truly embrace customer intimacy, there is still a need to reflect on past behaviour and combine it with real-time contextual awareness, which paves the way to building systems that deliver a personalised "best action" approach - which in today’s terms is generally a connected, digital experience.

Sticky Engagements

While we want our systems to perform their specific functions, we want the data that we derive from them to be cohesive and help create a single profile of the customer. In telcos, CIOs are generally looking for systems that don't just provide input into the customer's behaviour for today, but that can help them map out tomorrow's opportunities.

To achieve this, customer engagements must be sticky, follow the customer journey and feed into the data journey. This then offers a view of data on the customer’s behaviour and offers real-time context and data on system operations. If you are capturing this, you can then model it to drive smarter decisions that can be applied in time with your business to deliver even better experiences.

It sounds lengthy and arduous, but with the right integration platforms in place, it is frictionless.

Personalisation at Scale

But this level of detail and customer personalisation can only be achieved if you do three things in the background. Firstly, connect data sources, applications, and devices to enable innovation, remove silos and make data consumable. Secondly, unify the connected data assigning business meaning and governance to establish data trust. And thirdly, predict on that trusted data making decisions with confidence and enabling techniques such as machine learning to make those decisions relevant and in the moment.

Enjoyable engagement is what makes customers come back or stay loyal. Knowing the customer and streamlining systems allows business to build better systems, deliver the right product, and empowers people to provide an appropriate service to the customer.

Holistic data and data experiences are crucial to unlocking this level of customer centricity and allows the organisation to pivot at the speed of customer engagement. When this is in play, the benefits are tangible and relate to higher customer satisfaction, reduced customer churn, and increased revenues.

Successful telcos spend a significant amount of time experimenting and then use data to turn this innovation into a best practice.

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