Self-service makes offers personal

Written by on April 16, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Formal InvitationWhilst the overall message of the BSS section of the annual telecoms.com survey is that the trend is steady and upbeat, there is a major opportunity appearing. Self-service has jumped up the priority list over the last year from a focus among 30 percent of respondents, to 42 percent. Clearly this reflects an overall need to get customer service right, and clearly this is something that many operators need to fix.

But moving control to the device makes the channel personal, and, as Martin Morgan, VP of Marketing at Openet said at the recent Informa conference on Policy Control, this brings opportunity.

The growth of mobile usage is unprecedented. It now boasts 31 percent of web page views and is growing at almost 40 percent, year on year. Now half of YouTube videos are watched on mobiles. This increasing comfort with using a mobile device for almost everything that used to be the domain of PCs creates this opportunity.

The examples are becoming more sophisticated, as Morgan pointed out. The ‘classic’ example of offering customers extra data for a small fee, instead of cutting them off or throttling usage is not elegant. It might increase short term revenues – 30 percent of LTE users go over their limit on a monthly basis – but it does not increase customer lifetime value. Indeed, the reverse is true.

Using real-time analytics to track customers’ context against their usage can be far more compelling. It might be that you have a group of heavy Facebook customers who stop using their device 23 days into the billing cycle. Almost certainly they are afraid of going over their limit. Offering these customers a decent amount of data (but just for Facebook use) at a decent price (or in exchange for loyalty points) will be a compelling and timely offer. And if the customers can simply click to accept, then the experience is a personal one. This is a far more attractive and personal offer than a short term boost to overall data.

Analytics, says Morgan, can let operators understand customer behaviour in order to tailor relevant and context based offers. An operator in South Korea launched an unlimited data offer for $8 a month, aimed specifically at commuters, so the offer was valid just during commuting hours. Analytics (and common sense) identified this opportunity.

The days of partnerships have arrived and with them come the potential for more and more sophisticated offers. Although it is too early to quantify the revenue potential, the customer retention benefits of partnering with music streaming companies, for example, is already clear. Not only is the music industry enjoying a revival, but with the majority of music now being streamed to mobile devices, the benefits are mutual. A partnership between Deezer and operator Tigo is proving the point, with 43 percent of Deezer and Tigo customers citing the Deezer deal as the reason they joined Tigo and 17 percent saying they would quit Tigo if the deal came to an end.

With partnerships, offers will become more compelling, and more personal. Revenue will surely flow. With the rise of self-service, the ability to deliver offers to customers in a personalised way, with a simple acceptance mechanism will mean that a much higher percentage of them will be taken up.

Are you attending the ETIS Billing and Revenue Management meeting in Dublin next week? Here is the agenda, and here is where you register.

You can download the BSS section of the telecoms.com survey – sponsored by Openet – for free here.

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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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