Subscriptions: The Future of Telecom Services?

Variety is allegedly the spice of life, yet telcos are not embracing this reality in the services they offer nor in the relationships they build with customers who use them.

To put all this in simple terms, a new generation of telecoms services is dawning. Making a success of these service is hallmarked by the need for an equal advance in how customer relationships are managed.

Priorities for the digital service provider

A few hundred words is wholly insufficient to exhaustively catalog the nature and extent of the new CSP-end user relationship that’s required, but we can touch on some key points that the digital service provider must pay attention to immediately.

First, a successful service will be measured in loyal customers. CSP success doesn’t start with platforms, technologies, offers, and services anymore. It starts with understanding the different types of customers in your database and realizing that each segment within it requires a different communications approach and a different marketing technique if you really want to build a loyal customer base and maximize ROI. How many CSPs have thus far dug into the weeds of customer psychology and data analysis to fine-tune their subscriber communications strategy down to a deeply personalized level?

Second, what will the industry make of (or how will it use) machine learning and artificial intelligence? Despite rumors to the contrary, the CSP marketer does not need to be a Zen master in writing code, but they do need to be able to understand the concepts, requirements, and use cases that relate to these new technologies in order to use them effectively. Traditionally, the telecommunications and Internet industries have been among the pioneers in embracing and deploying innovative technologies, especially those that leverage the large volumes of unstructured data these companies generate. The latter is a rapidly growing challenge. As the industry continues to grow, more and more complex unstructured data is being created. It will be imperative to comprehend what these mammoth volumes of data reveal if CSPs want to lead their markets by delivering better customer services, identifying needs, and offering solutions based on effectively utilizing what initially is little more than a big-data repository.

And third, CSPs will have to take far better care of self-care! Variety is allegedly the spice of life, yet telcos are not embracing this reality in the services they offer nor in the relationships they build with customers who use them. And they’re not using services to actually drive digital adoption. 

As evidence, let’s consider mobile self-care applications, which in theory should now sit at the heart of most CSPs’ digital customer-engagement strategies. Today, the global average of downloads of these apps, despite their critical importance, is low. It is typical that no more than 20 to 30 percent of the CSP’s customer base has downloaded its self-care app. Furthermore, fewer than 20 percent of those who do download it will bother to open it in any given month. As a prerequisite to any digital engagement strategy and customer journey, CSPs must focus on improving app downloads and engagement statistics before being able to move the dial on ARPU or retention KPIs from the app channel. CSPs need to find effective reasons for customers to want to use their apps on a more frequent basis.

The three above examples are diverse and barely scratch the surface of the many challenges telcos now face in reorienting themselves to capitalize on the digital transformation opportunity. But in their breadth and scope, they hint at the extent of the challenge today’s CSP faces in trying to deliver the right services (and offers) to the right customers at the right time.


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