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August 2016

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    To ensure a competitive edge in the telecom industry that performs highly on service excellence; operators are shifting to a new battlefield- ensuring customer experience management (CEM) through omni channels. This indicates that operators are employing various strategies and tools in place to create exceptional branded moments at every touch point. So as their customer care evolves to newer digital channels like web chat, SMS, social media, video, etc., the operators need to offer a seamless experience across all of these channels.

    Customer Experience in an Omni channel Environment

    CEM in an omni channel environment is all about providing the right media at the right time. In addition, it entails putting together all relevant information and context to deliver a unique, personalized and enduring experience across the customer’s entire journey with the brand.  The customer experience management in such omni channel environment serves the following purposes:

    1. Makes the customer experience unique, personal and enduring.
    2. Reduces customer effort
    3. Improves customer satisfaction and loyalty
    4. Increases customer lifetime value (CLTV)

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    How CEM is ensured in an Omni-channel Environment

    A competent integrated system of tools and processes makes it possible to deploy customer experience management in an omni channel environment. Some of those tools are: big data analytics and enhanced business consulting to bridge gaps within product or service lines with in-depth experience and collaboration of leading research firms. Partnering with such competencies help in a multi-vendor environment and identifying product strategies and roadmaps mapped to a business’s requirements.

    Recently, advances in big data analytics are allowing network operators to focus more effectively on CEM.  Under the concept of complete customer value management operators have now embarked on CEM initiatives that aim their business operations from being network-centric and reactive to more customer-centric and proactive. Such tools significantly contribute to key business objectives such as average revenue per user (ARPU) and enhancing customer experience only when a proper integration is done between data storage and supporting processes across the channels.

    Many sources of data are available from passive probing systems, network elements, gateways, subscriber registries and endpoint devices. The challenge is to take all of this data and put it into the context of the user, which could be a customer care agent, network engineer, or product marketing manager.

    The ideal customer experience management must be able to:

    • Match customer insights with real-time data collection
    • Measure end-to-end customer experience
    • Overcome stagnant revenues
    • Break away from low differentiation of service quality in minds of consumers
    • Enable operators to trim overheads while efficiently planning and managing messaging infrastructure
    • Capture information in the context of customer interactions and specific to their experience
    • Report customer experience information at its most granular level.
    • Capture KPIs/KQIs and perform trend analysis to proactively detect any incident or quality degradation
    • Correlate information from multiple service events/KPIs as well as from users.

    Advantages of CEM in an Omni Channel Environment:

    • Offers a personalized customer experience: This drives a higher ARPU, reduces churn rates and saves costs.
    • Provide a single-view: The integration of such a kind offers a single view of the customers across all channels and allow the operators to target them better. This also enables to engage with corporate customers from a single system.
    • Deepen customer relationships: CEM in omni channel environment provides a more targeted and relevant engagement to the customers. The operators are also able to find the untapped business opportunities that may drive profitability and overall improve customer relationships to combat churn.
    • Reduce business cost: The integration creates such products and services range that is able to reduce the cost of maintaining the rich content while increasing ARPU and conversion rate.

    Conclusion

    For telecom operators, the most effective way to retain customers is by building a market-leading customer experience across channels. Hence, it makes sense for operators to deploy customer experience management in an omni channel approach to ensure that they interact with their customers across all of the devices and make each experience seamless and consistent, driving personalized customer engagement for sustained growth to the business.

    August 29, 2016 0 comment
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    Today, telecom operators need to focus on technologies capable of helping them transform into a digital business. Overall, in the “internet of things” (IoT) era, service providers need to plan their approach towards rapid digitization. This, ideally, ought to be carried out via managed services to enhance the quality of customer experience management.

    For managed services, IoT provides the opportunity to improve service interactions, gain insights and information about customers, usage patterns, devices, etc. IoT is quite a significant platform for operators to extend IT service management solutions.

    The Role of Managed IT Services

    Managed IT services offer multiple benefits to service providers at different levels:

    Strategic level– At the strategic level, managed services allow service providers to focus and leverage their resources towards their core business, instead of spending too much time and capital on operational activities.

    Operational level– At the operational level, managed services offer automated skills and expertise of a service provider in order to facilitate the competent management of complex data center requirements.

    Financial level- At the financial level, managed services reduce the total IT cost of the service provider and offer the benefit of a subscription-based OPEX model.

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    These factors imply that, through managed services, telecom companies will continue to emphasize on their strategic business objectives, relocate funds on developing new and innovative services, and indirectly gain access to latest technology for better service offerings, skilled resources and best IT infrastructure.

    Managed IT services help service providers improve operational efficiencies and cut costs significantly. However, in order to leverage the advantages of managed IT services to the fullest, operators require chalking out a comprehensive plan.

    In this era of digital transformation, technology has become a great enabler and IT managed services will help operators become more agile by providing their customers scalability, stability and security.

    The Future of Managed Security in the era of IoT

    By 2018, most global operators will be using managed IT services that modify their offerings, specialize in data protection, security infrastructure management and security risk management to enhance their security postures.  As service providers become increasingly aware of customer demands and threats, they are expected to increase their spending on managed services. Particularly, the total security spending is anticipated to grow further 8.2 per cent by the coming year.

    The market is flooded with forecasts predicting the speedy growth of the overall managed services in this growing era of Internet of Things (IoT). Thus, the focus of the telecom industry has shifted to specific managed service offerings to experience the quickest adoption. And of course, for the service providers, managed services will be one of the biggest market opportunities.

    One of the greatest challenges standing in the way of widespread managed service and IoT adoption for the telecom operators is the lack of understanding of benefits, skills, experience to evaluate the results, acquire and integrate all the elements necessary to assemble the managed service deployment. But once deployed, the benefits are exponential!

    August 23, 2016 0 comment
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    Arriving from the concept of e-banking and branchless banking, mobile money has proved be a viable alternative to cash. Over the years, the mobile money ecosystem has been working towards providing a range of seamless financial services that can be offered to every customer.

    This system of transacting and executing payments has been able to successfully transform the financial services framework both by complementing and disrupting the traditional way of banking. Owing to its safe, easy and affordable transacting ways, mobile money is touted as a popular alternative to bank accounts and the fact that it can be used on both smartphones and basic feature phones.

    The technology behind mobile money has been able to leverage the trend of mobile penetration and forming an agent infrastructure. Not only in the solutions for mass market and high-volume, low margin business, but mobile money has shaped the way for micropayments too. The e-wallet used for monitoring, collecting and distributing micropayments can now be effectively used by network providers under the mobile money ecosystem. Additionally, it has given birth to a high-volume, low margin business model for the mass markets. Its rapid adoption majorly lies in its ease of access and is only expected to grow in future.

    Mobile money is widely available in 93 countries providing as much as 270 services worldwide. As of June 2015, revenue generated by mobile money grew at a CAGR of 40 per cent. The providers of such services (telecom operators) are witnessing greater contribution of mobile money in the total revenue, encouraging more and more operators to provide them under their umbrella of service offerings.

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    Mobile Money: Fast Track Growth

    The number of registered mobile money accounts touched 411 million by 2015. The number of active mobile money accounts is estimated to be 134 million and about 100 million new accounts have been added since 2014. Seeing the abundance of opportunity, the number of agents has increased touching as much as 3.2 million by December 2015. (Data source: 2015 Global Adoption Survey; GSMA State of the Industry Report-2015)

    A rising trend in mobile money services is evident in developing nations with 86 out of total 135 developing countries (64%) are adopting one or more such services. The low-income economies are also not far behind in transacting via mobile money with almost 81 per cent of them using these services and remarkably their adoption rate is higher than lower-middle income economies and upper-middle income economies. Additionally, Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia are one of the most active regions using mobile money services. (Data source: GSMA Mobile Money Deployment Tracker)

    Mobile money has disrupted traditional banking and financial systems. This can be proven by the fact that by 2015, about 37 markets had ten times more registered agents of mobile money services than bank branches. It is because of the mobile money services that some of the economies in the world are able to fulfill the goal of financial inclusion. According to World Bank data on global financial inclusion, mobile money services are available in 85 per cent of countries where the number of people with a bank account is less than 20 per cent. In 2015, 51 out of 93 countries started providing mobile money enabled regulations and policy improvements to ensure a secured system and achieve financial inclusion. (Source: World Bank, Global Financial Inclusion Database-2015)

    The number of transactions processed by mobile money industry was over 12 billion transactions by December 2015. The volume of transactions performed by unregistered customers via OTC was about 37 million by June 2015. Even the average value of each transaction is going up. In 2015, the average value per transaction in cash-in services was $29 and in cash-out services was $32.60.  (Source: GSMA State of the Industry Report-2015; under “a month in the life of the average active customer.”)

    New Mobile Money Services

    In 2015, the number of mobile money services increased to 271 in 93 countries. The rapid introduction of newer mobile services increased user engagement and driving them to maintain their investment in the mobile money accounts. Out of the total number of accounts, three-fourth of customers maintained or increased their investments in the account over the previous year.(Source: GSMA State of the Industry Report-2015)

    Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for the majority of live mobile money services (52 per cent). More than half of new services launched in 2015 were primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean regions. New mobile money services are expected to grow by as much as 50 per cent in Europe and Central Asia as well as in the Middle East and parts of North and West Africa. (Source: Claire Scharwatt and Chris Williamson (2015), “Mobile money crosses borders: New remittance models in West Africa”, GSMA Mobile Money for the Unbanked)

    Interoperability and international remittances have become one of the fastest growing services in mobile money ecosystem. By 2015 there were 29 cross-border mobile money initiatives connecting about 19 countries. International remittances grew in volume by 52 per cent  indicating how useful the mobile money has become in serving the needs of cross border trade and regional economies.(Source: United Nations, “International Migration 2013”)

    Factors fuelling the growth in Mobile Money:

    More regulators are recognizing the importance of creating an open and leveled playing field for mobile money services. Major factors responsible for the rapid development of the mobile money ecosystem are:

    1. Increasing mobile customer base: With an ever-increasing active customer base, the further development of the mobile money ecosystem was made easier than it ever was in diversifying the customer usage and service portfolio of the providers. The network providers and agents saw the bigger picture and invested in building a broader ecosystem of mobile money driving usage in new products and services making mobile money capable of impacting both commercial as well as social avenues. Providers of the mobile money services are striving to make such services more sustainable, profitable, and relevant to customers in the long term.
    2. Operational foundation and organized agent management: This factor became essential to grip on the trend of the widespread mobile money services and to digitize cash. Operations and seamless transactions lie at the core of this success. Agents remain the backbone of mobile money system and act as a face of mobile money to enable digitization and disbursement as compared to the lagging process of banking.
    3. Simplification of user-interface:A lot of re-designing is being carried out to simplify both the physical access through agent networks and technical access through the mobile interface. Which is why, the easy-to-use interface to initiate mobile money transactions became a faster driving force for the rapid adoption of mobile services globally as this factor is critical to any system. The mobile money services ensure that a minimal time is taken to process and complete the transaction.
    4. Increased scalability by operators:The rising number of providers and agents of mobile money services drove the rapid adoption and customer activity levels. Alongside as the mobile broadband is now fast-spreading and being made available to rural and underserved segments, the potential of such services seems incredibly scalable and for long. This is the reason why providers or operators are more than willing to invest heavily in mobile money services.

    Conclusion

    The evolution of the business model in mobile money is becoming increasingly critical against the broader landscape of payments and financial technology, where investments have tripled and reached more than $12 billion.

    In future, transport, e-commerce and credit system will be increasingly relevant for mobile money adoption in markets where traditional financial services are more established and operators will have huge business potential to tap on, when even the population without a bank account is relying heavily on such services.

    August 23, 2016 0 comment
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    What are IT managed services?

    IT managed services reduce an operator’s foreseen problems by taking proactive measures. This is to ensure that they have sufficient time and resources to continually deliver quality offerings. IT managed services have brought in a paradigm shift in the way the operators deal with their technology. Instead of following the old-schools tradition of “fix-as-it-breaks”, operators are now transforming their business with IT managed services that focuses on the prevention of such breakdown issues, before they disrupt service delivery, management, employees or users.

     Importance of IT managed services

    The concept of IT managed services and emergence of managed service providers is not new to the industry. Lately, though, as technology is becoming more complex and telecom operators’ perspective is shifting from being reactive to proactive, the value of IT managed services is increasing too. This is evident from the fact that managed service providers are increasingly adopting remote monitoring tools where they can monitor operator’s environment and proactively troubleshoot the issues.

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    The benefits accrued by this service include:

    • Enhance focus on the core business functions
    • Lower risks like cost risk, productivity risks, downtime and liability.
    • Ensure higher network availability
    • Assist in meeting regulatory compliance requirements
    • Help in integrating re-engineering and intra-organizational changes
    • Reduce total cost of ownership and provide substantial cost savings
    • Segregate resources as per the competency and project activities
    • The potential to generate considerably higher margins
    • The advantage of a recurring revenue stream
    • Availability of highly relevant, personalized, content-rich and contextually aware timely support.

    Conclusion

    Going forward, IT managed services will focus on revolutionizing the wide area network to deliver better connectivity, reduced complexity and lowered down costs. Business agility, customer experience and new digital service developments in telecom operations will all come to the fore in this increasingly competitive industry and IT managed services are the integrated way to achieve them.

    August 22, 2016 0 comment
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    Today, contactless banking transactions are not uncommon. The power of several banking reforms, the immense complexity of the market and the powerful bandwidth of mobile network operators are some of the factors that contributed in establishing the wide network of new-age banking solutions in the world economy.

    The ease and intuitiveness with NFC technology opened up many opportunities for technology players to innovate solutions and transform the banking ecosystem further. Thanks to a strong infrastructure and major players like Apple, Samsung and Google taking great strides in the field of contactless payment system, today, the banks have an array of technological options to choose from to facilitate transactions.

    In this blog, we will talk about the two major technologies behind executing contactless payments- HCE and OEM- and which one the banks should opt for.

    About OEM as a payment option:

    NFC technology in payment has bridged the gap between physical banking and the virtual world. It has been successful in implementing solutions like barcode-based input for mobile payments, etc. Most of these payment solutions have been based on the concept of original equipment manufacturing (OEM). OEM as a payment option includes a device called a secure element (SE) which mainly performs card emulation- where the NFC reader generates its own radio frequency field- securing the storage of credentials and executing the payment. The on-device secure element then sends the payment data to the contactless terminal when the user acts, say by a ‘tap and play’ action.

    Recently, technology giants Apple and Samsung have launched their OEM systems, ApplePay and SamsungPay respectively. As an OEM, their payment systems do not store any card data on the secure element. They simply store a prior confirmed token and it is this token, along with the cryptogram that is sent to the contactless terminal.

    During the processing, at the authorization flow, the card network identifies the sent token further de-tokenizing it into real PAN with the help of a Token Service Provider (TSP) and then sends the real PAN to the issuer for its authorization.

    Many global banks, network processors, industry consortiums and TSPs are resorting to and partnering with dependable OEMs like Apple and Samsung as they all seek to implement a global security standard for mobile payments – both remote and at POS counters- and mobile access to financial data. This is mainly because these OEMs make use of an on-device element to authorize and receive payments, independent of any network disruptions.

    Advantages of using OEMs in Payment Solutions:

    • This system does not store the real card data inside the secured element and instead use a token to be sent to a contactless terminal.
    • The platform owner owns and controls the SE in the device thereby avoiding any disruption from the mobile network operators.
    • The approach is free from dependency on a complex and convoluted process by provisioning the token simplifying the transaction.

    Disadvantages of using OEMs in Payment Solutions:

    • The system has no support for local schemes due to the whole control over tokenization.
    • The SE in the device has limited storage capacity and processing speed.
    • Since there is no contact with the OEM’s servers, the safety of the transaction may well be in question when it comes to authorization, say in case a fraudster attempts to transact with a stolen mobile phone.

    About HCE Technology in Payment Solutions

    Host Card Emulation or HCEis a device technology that enables a phone to perform card emulation on an NFC-enabled device in order to initiate payment through smart devices. Numerous licenses have embraced the HCE payment framework in order to ensure a thoughtful outlined and a more secured execution of mobile payments.

    Google has been one of the premier players in providing HCE with Google Wallet version 3.0. So, when a user with an Android phone taps on a contactless terminal, the NFC controller in his phone redirects the communication from the terminal to the host operating system and responds back with a virtual card number following the industry standard contactless protocols laid down for completion of cloud transactions. The transaction reaches the Google cloud servers where the virtual card number is replaced with real card data, authorized with the real issuer. Herein the Google’s cloud acts as the secure element and the real card data is stored securely on the cloud servers.

    Before HCE was launched, the only way to emulate a card for completing the transactions was through a secure element embedded in the smart device using NFC. With HCE, the concept of ‘host’ without relying on the access to a SE came into the picture.

    HCE Payment proved to be a strong alternative to SE-based approach provided by OEMs, for digitizing the user’s card credentials through tokenization into the smart devices. Now as the cloud-based payments has started gaining momentum, the HCE system serves as a foundation for rapid deployment of mobile payment services across the globe. This is because this approach speed-up the deployment of contactless mobile payments for the financial solution providers and more prominently for banks.

    Advantages of using HCE in NFC Platform:

    • The system reduces complexities as well as the cost in the transaction as, all the processing is taken care of by the cloud server.
    • The technology helps the mobile wallet applications to get converted into a virtual smart card and support local schemes too.
    • It overcomes the question of safety in cases of a stolen mobile phone as the transaction in any case has to pass through the tech’s cloud servers for successful completion.
    • It enables the direct communication between merchants and the banks without any intermediaries.

    Disadvantages of using HCE in NFC Platform:

    • The system needs to store and communicate with real card data on the servers which might make the transaction less secured.
    • The approach discourages the use of safer methods of user authentication like biometric fingerprint authentication.

    Using OEMs as a payment option vs. HCE concept as a payment option:

    The evolution of financial ecosystem has given a boost to banks, simplifying their systems of transactions and providing an effortless customer experience. Both Google Wallet and ApplePay have been facilitating the banks to create a seamless system of mobile payments.

    The concept around which HCE is based gives the banks a much easier way for deployment of the system as it frees them from the task of managing multiple relationships with OEMs, token service providers, payment processors and many other external parties. However, it is not secured as compared to the Secured Element provided by OEMs, which requires a tokenization process to ensure the transactions are completed securely.

    Banks using SE technology relieves them from being a part of the conversation between the owners of the SE elements i.e., OEM of the mobile device and the customer. They only need to analyze the information gained from this interaction to understand customer behaviours and act upon it. Additionally this data analysis will help banks in designing a comprehensive solution for their customers.

    Conclusion

    To use HCE concept in NFC or OEM services for enabling hassle-free contactless payments, the banks need to decide a solution that is compatible with their own internal environment and infrastructure weighing their pros and cons respectively. Some may consider employing ApplePay’s biometric authentication system in place while other issuers may choose to go with Google Wallet’s server strategy for processing the mobile payments. The bank’s core aim is to get the service to each and every citizen by injecting the best technology and refined systems in this sector.

    Whichever they choose to go for, tech giants Apple, Samsung and Google ensure complete secured and safe authentication, storage and processing in respective solutions with multiple layers of security at every stage of the transaction. Afterall, the sole objective of these technologies is to provide minimal contact with sound and secured transaction protocol to customers.

    While the new-age banking is functioning on the idea of transparency and creating a total digital ecosystem. Which is why, with such a noble collaboration of various elements in NFC payment,  the automation of salaried accounts to virtual branches to adopting near-field communication in transactions, banking has never been this simpler.

    August 22, 2016 0 comment
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    Over several decades telecom companies around the world are striving to become as customer-centric as they can be. Not just trying to sell their products; the owners are also fostering a long-term relationship with the customers, interacting with them regularly and understanding their experience gained from using their products, to serve them better.

     Customer Experience Management

    Customer Experience Management (CEM) is looking at what customers gain in every part of their relationship with the business. Surveys, feedbacks and other forms of evaluating the aspects of advertising, sales process, support, etc. via online and offline medium. CEM has become a top priority in almost all the industries now, especially in the face of intense competition. It refers to the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

     CEM in Telecom:

    CEM was founded on the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to drive better decision-making in telecom companies. The operators focus on the subscriber experience or the ‘interface’ of business relationships. They are now trying to perceive as what a user perceives of their services to evaluate and amend the changes in the system. Not only this, but taking note of what user is experiencing they are able to prompt the right product offer to them in the right time. Techniques and tools employed by operators in CEM is helping them to reduce churn, increase customer retention, loyalty and advocacy, increase usage and ARPU, thereby significantly improving profitability.

     Importance of CEM:

    • Drives customer loyalty and improves customer retention.
    • Increases customer referral rates.
    • Increases customer satisfaction
    • Reduces customer churn
    • Opens up new avenues of opportunities to innovate.
    • Creates a competitive advantage and differentiation

    Top trends in CEM:

    The competition is investing heavily in customer experience. Reports claim that CEM will be worth $8.39 billion by 2019 and the challenge remains to intelligently prioritize the investments. So, as the competition shifts to provide personalized solutions, the standardized services for the market will be diminished.

    Employee experience is equally important as customer experience. There is no doubt that a strong connection exists between employee engagement and customer experience. The operators need to put correct employee engagement measures in place so that they can deliver what their brand promises

    Customer Experience Design is gaining traction. The process of designing these experiences requires identifying and closing experience gaps to truly innovate and be able to bring the customer’s expectations into their services and experiences derived from them.

    Demand for Personalized and Customized Experiences is on an all-time high. In this age of smart, connected users, personalization is the key to service offering. As more and more players get better in truly understanding their users, the more the demand will be for customization in products and services and it will be one of the hardest thing for the competitors to copy.

    The role of emotions in Customer Experience is critical: In it’s truest sense, customer experience is what the customers think and feel. These emotional triggers are vital to dive customer loyalty. So it is indispensable to consider customer sentiments in framing customer experience efforts.

    New- age CEM techniques:

    • Marketing automation:This ease down the manual process of collecting and dissecting the marketing data to point out automatically those customers who are in need of assistance or correspondence. Further this system automatically responds to them in a prompt manner with the correct information making use of the channels pre-specified. Automation has become a key ingredient in an integrated customer experience management.
    • Behavioral customer segmentation:In order to provide a personalized experience to users, data is analyzed deeply to correlate the behavioral aspects with the demographics to create meaningful experience and personalized communication to customers every time they interact with the business in any form. It refines the business functions, builds engagement and loyalty. Companies are now stimulating conversations about topics that are personal to customers, to get to know them better and build long-term brand trust.
    • Customer journey maps:These help understand where the customers and potential customers first come into contact with the business and map out their journey thereon. This helps in looking how, where and when customers can be acquired, services and retained. It also helps business to understand loopholes due to which users tend to leave.
    • Query resolution and escalation management:By this it’s easier to know what query and problem the customer is facing and who can be escalated into the matter. This ensures a consistent and timely response to customer queries and complaints. It even helps to identify and eliminate the hurdles in customer experience management.
    • CX software: This system when combined with actionable plans drives more business and new opportunities. It provides a foundation for research and insight into the customer usage trends to serve them better in future. It makes use of the data collected from customer feedbacks, redressal systems, customer support data and other means of communication.

    In this blog, our focus will be on the role of customer segmentation in CEM in telecom.

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    Customer Segmentation

    Customer segmentation entails separating the target audience into sets of similar interest groups on the basis of a marketing or demographics perspective including gender, buying behavior, usage pattern, age-group, special interests and lot more. Two core aims of segmentation are:

    1. To design the right experience-focused value proposition:Companies can tailor-made services and products around each segment and design a fully experience based value offering to serve each of the target group. Like many telecom operators divide customers into high- priority global segments like ‘young, active, fun’ users- offering them services like games and music streaming, live cricket updates, etc. and ‘occasional’ users- offering them an uncomplicated and straightforward mobile experience.
    2. To deliver value to the customer:Companies focus in entirety to offer nothing less of the value proposition that their customers deserve. They emphasize on cross- functional collaboration like marketing and supply chain departments working in line across the whole customer experience. Both departments know and deliver a consistent value proposition together with their overlapping supportive strategies.

    CEM and Customer Segmentation in Telecom Industry

    In general, customer segmentation allows the companies to target specific groups of customers effectively when they are served as per their taste and preferences. In telecom, segmenting the mass market target audience into similar interests is essential to service and support the subscriber. Customers tend to choose the medium of purchase and subscribe to the services as per their comfort and accessibility.

    Some subscribers choose to purchase services online and initiate the relationship on their own. Some customers choose to enquire services at a store and then make an informed decision. Some may even choose to shift to your product after getting influenced by peers and online reviews. Consequently, the way subscribers choose to resolve their complaints and queries also vary from online forums to chat representatives, to calling customer service to visiting store to directly taking up the matter on social media.

    The differentiation may also lie in the way and the platform used to consume the content. Given the size of audience operators serve, right segmentation for right customer experience can be done on the following segmentation basis:

    1. Customer Value Segmentation:This segmentation basis focuses on identifying the contribution that a customer makes to the overall organizational profitability based on current relationships with the organization. The standard approach used in this is ‘decile analysis’ to calculate value.
    2. Customer Behaviour Segmentation:This approach is used by most of marketers. The message and medium are tailored as per the needs and preferences of the customers in that segment.
    3. Customer Life cycle Segmentation:This basis notes where the customers are in terms of their relationship with a company, as opposed to their stage in life or their phone usage. The key stages in the life of a customer are: becomes a new customer, growth stage when he is opting for an upgrade, maturity when his phone usage is stable and ending in a decline stage.
    4. Customer Migration Segmentation:This basis is least used, but is still provides a great value in serving customers on different stages. This clearly distinguishes the segments that are declining in value over a fixed period of time, so that a focused action can be taken to retain customers.

    Recognizing the different types of customers is an important part of creating a successful market offering to create a personalized experience for each segment.

    Thereafter, an analysis is carried out to check their interests and preferability by online surveys and service calls. This confirms that the groups have been identified correctly and strategies are formed suiting to each segment.

    What should operators keep in mind while segmenting?

    Segment customers in more granular and behavior-centric ways.

    Avoid depending on number-driven and service-centric segmentation.

    The aim of segmentation should not be to sell efficiently, but to deliver a personalized and relevant experience to the users.

    Go beyond the standard practices of segmenting customers, using existing systems and data sets to permute new groups to serve.

    It is important to know that people subscribing to same services or generating the same value to the business will not always respond equally to the same marketing messages.

    Impersonal, brand-first segmentation can lead to inaccurate marketing plans.

    Demographic segmentation along with behavioral aspects prove to be innovative and successful in creating great personalized experiences for the subscribers.

    Conclusion:

    Around 2014, customer experience related started to gather steam and further raised the bar for the industry.  Since then, operators are not only trying to offer something better than the other players, but are going a step forward to empower customers by providing the best experiences.

    The key here is to identify the right segments in grouping your customers, serving them accordingly. Staying one step ahead of the customers, proactively solving their problems and creating a seamless customer experience will help the operators to provide a defying customer outreach and personalized service experience in every interaction between them and the customers.

    August 9, 2016 0 comment
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    Today’s telecom operators face a bit of a paradox. On one hand, technology is evolving at a break-neck speed. On the other, competition has never been more cut-throat nor average revenue per user and profit margins so thin. To add to the chaos, Over-The-Top (OTT) players have stolen the show from under the operators’ very noses. In a nutshell, operators are cornered from all sides. To substantiate this argument, let’s take a quick look at the challenges an operator has to contend with today.

    What ails today’s telecom operator

    The rise and rise of OTT players: The evolution of OTT players has created tremendous potential to manage businesses differently. Keeping this in mind, the operator community will do well to treat this as an opportunity and expand their business to include the new streams opened up by OTT players. OTT players can attribute their sudden rise to the explosion of smartphones and OS application ecosystems in developed markets. Now, these players didn’t make their presence felt overnight. It was a slow and gradual process but one that has “tipped”, that is, reached seriously competitive levels in various markets. So much so that an operator’s SMS volumes and revenues have come under fire. A quick side-note-Ovum estimates that by 2018, operators are likely to face revenue losses to the tune of $7 billion owing to the availability of OTT-based alternatives!

    So, what’s an operator to do? Well, one approach is to launch similar products to counter the challenge. There is a catch though-operators typically have a limited sized team for such services. This, naturally, limits the creativity and innovation required to make the product successful.

    The changing face of value added services (VAS): Over time, VAS has undergone a sea change. Traditional voice-based services are giving way to new age digital services. Now, the dynamics have changed once again. Though data still rules the roost, the emphasis is no longer on pure entertainment or music-based VAS.

    To stay relevant, operators will have to focus on non-traditional services like Machine-To-Machine (M2M), media/entertainment, health and cloud computing. This will have to be carried out in collaboration with digital servicescompanies and strategic alliances with diverse industries. The idea will be to capitalize on the existing customer base by offering them a variety of services. These may include (but not be limited to) mobile banking solutions, emergency management and response systems, medication reminder services, cloud-based campus solutions, digital classrooms, contextual commerce, geo-fencing, predictive offerings, etc. the list is endless.

    The shift from “wisdom of the crowd” to personalized offerings:

    Permit me to state this upfront-a “one size fits all” approach no longer works in the telecom space. Here’s why-today’s customer knows what they want and are looking to engage with brands that offer a personalized experience across multiple channels. The trick today for any operator is to be omnipresent and deliver more accurate and relevant information, both on-and-offline.

    Moving from a single-to-a-multiple screen world:

    The age of digitization is upon us. The challenge before telecom operators today, therefore, is keeping their pipes smart through content aggregation partnerships. That is, while harnessing OTT and multiple-screens to give their business a shot in the arm.

    In a nutshell, customers are demanding on-demand and personalized content anytime, anywhere and on any screen. Operators, please note, the crux of your strategy ought to be shifting from “mass” media to “my media”!

    Operating in a complex ecosystem

    Today’s telecom industry is, to put it mildly, very complex. These players need to contend with several variable factors, which may or may not impact their KPIs and IPs. This is just the tip of the iceberg-let’s not forget that keeping pace with the fast changing global trends is a priority for all players-and by no means a mean task! In addition, the current content industry is very scattered and disorganized. Operators have to deal with multiple content providers for powering content on their VAS products. In doing so, operators have found themselves exposed to legal hassles around content copyrights, and operational challenges associated with having to deal with multiple partners.

    How VAS Business Aggregation can help boost bottomlines

    Here’s where VAS Business Aggregation (VBA) steps in. At the outset, permit me to state that I am by no means claiming this to be a panacea for the aforementioned challenges. The idea is to suggest and present it as a viable means to mitigate the same.

    Now, let’s address a fundamental question-why should operators consider VBA at all? To answer that question, consider the following:

    • VBA players bring to the table a clear understanding of the global market. This can only help strengthen an operator’s business case by keeping abreast of and tackling any challenge that may arise!
    • VBA players help operators improve and enhance overall revenues.
    • These players help operators streamline their business and reach their customers anytime and anywhere. This, after all, is what can make or break an operator’s business!
    • Operators will be able to understand their customers better through actionable insights. This will mean that operators can create a particular profile for their customers and subsequently, fine-tune their products to cater to the same.
    • VBA players are able to simplify the overall telecom ecosystem. This is achieved through the creation of an end-to-end service ecosystem, which includes services procurement, programming and discovery, usage reports and analysis and of course, overall services operations management.
    • VBA players help operators manage the complex ecosystem of OTT players and multiple content partners. This is while ensuring IPR protection and increasing an operator’s business pie.
    • In addition, VBA players offer the ability to collaborate with partners, not only from the traditional content industry but also from other industries like tourism, education, healthcare, etc. These are very critical in future success and therefore, it is important to enable different industries to harness the full potential of the mobile to eventuallyoffer consumer-oriented solutions.

    I’d like to conclude by saying that things aren’t going to get any easier in the global telecom space. Operators should remember this and figure out (or revamp) their strategies. VBA players may just do the trick. In a nutshell, operators have started seeing it as an important shift in running their business and have started working with partners to overcome anticipated challenges.

    August 8, 2016 0 comment
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