ETIS event blows apart four myths about customers

Written by on May 2, 2016 in Billing & Payments, Opinion with 0 Comments

Woman with painted wingsAmong many interesting discussions at the ETIS BRM meeting last week, one stood out. The average age of the attendees was hovering around 40, possibly more, until three students and one young exec arrived to discuss how they use communications now, and how they will use it in the future.

It was a myth busting session.

The first myth to crumble was that 20 somethings do not mind being bombarded with advertising, especially on their mobiles.


They hate it. They will only tolerate in order to get free content and they will do their very best to get round the adverts anyway. This renders the advert itself useless. They particularly hate advertising on mobiles, and see them as intrusive, irritating and irrelevant. They are very aware of ad blocking software and are prepared to use it. Interestingly, in a separate discussion, the news was even worse. A 19 year old and a 16 year old were both prepared to spend £10 of their allowance to avoid the adverts on Spotify.

The second myth to go was that they were prepared to pay for extras, bolt-ons or extra data until the end of the billing period.

They really dislike bolt-ons. They see them simply as a way for an operator to get more money out of them. And they can’t stand being bombarded with text after text with bolt-on offers. They would rather stop using Facebook, for instance, than buy an extra bundle of data for £5 that would see them through the month. The young exec pays £45 a month and will not, ever, pay for more stuff. In his opinion, £45 a month is quite enough, thank you.

The third busted myth is that a telco is trusted. When asked who they trust more, their telco or Google, they all said Google. Mind you, when the choice was Google or their bank, their bank came out top. They also trust PayPal.

Strangely, though, when asked about privacy and their views on who can use their data, when and what for, they actually expect Google to share it with all and sundry and they expect their telco to keep it to themselves. After all, they pay them and they get to use Google for free, so there is a subconscious trade-off. They are very suspicious about what is happening with their phone number itself, and wary of giving it out, because they believe (and are right) that it will result in more spammy bombardment.

Privacy is a big issue and, as the pendulum swings in favour of customers owning their data, 20 somethings will be right behind that swing.

The fourth myth that was blown apart was that 20 somethings are not really aware of how much data they use and that they are more interested in the apps, services and products that data leads them to.

Wrong. They are keenly aware of their data. In fact, they do not understand why telcos bother offering bundles of voice, texts and data. Why not, as GiffGaff does, just offer data? Or allow customers to deconstruct an offering rather than have to accept a complete bundle, when they do not use half of the components. They certainly would not add on elements to a bundle.

Of course, this was a UK-centric session and undoubtedly the reactions of students, Millennials and young execs will vary from country to country.

Which is why the next ETIS event, in Zagreb, will have representatives from these segments at the session.

ETIS meetings are always interactive and always useful, and this one was particularly so. And now that this ETIS group is the ‘Smart Charging and Payments’ group, it is bound to become more so. Perhaps we will see more myth busting soon. Thank you to Redknee for hosting it, it was a memorable couple of days.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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