News article

IN ISOLATION, DIGITAL ACCELERATION BECOMES A GAME CHANGER

20 Apr 2020

IN ISOLATION, DIGITAL ACCELERATION BECOMES A GAME CHANGER

Two aspects of what has (more or less) become the global lockdown are striking. First, there’s a degree to which the boundaries of work life and home life have blurred. And that’s not just because many people are now working from home.

It’s because the familiar enabling tools of the professional world - Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, FaceTime and others - have been widely adopted for domestic use. Usage of such platforms has increased exponentially in recent weeks, and not exclusively for business purposes.

Secondly, and this is more predictable, as traditional modes of commerce have been shut down, digital alternatives have taken up the slack. With cinemas closed, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services have stepped in. As shops have been shuttered, online retailers have made hay. Reportedly, Jeff Bezos is making millions on a daily basis.

There may not yet be a vaccination for COVID-19, but digital services have provided the world’s population with a measure of protection against at least some of the potentially negative impacts of the lockdown, principally those related to the consequences of isolation.

In this context, at least for the time being, the CSP's ability to offer enhanced digital experiences may be even more important than its traditional motivations of driving service adoption and monetization. The pandemic has made it clearer than ever that CSPs must address the challenge of personalizing the customer experience without delay. By adopting a digital-ready, next-generation customer engagement strategy, they can deliver a dynamic and data-driven experience to meet the rapidly changing expectations of the market, in both the immediate and in the longer term. Customer engagement strategy, in other words, is more crucial than ever in making efforts to diversify and grow revenue streams.

But what to do? How can CSPs adapt to the evolving customer expectations of service?  The obvious starting point is to implement a next-generation customer engagement strategy that is dynamic, data-driven, unified, and executed in real-time.

A creative approach toward customer engagement – such as gamification and next-best offer – requires the support of a connected, agile, and secure engagement platform. Pivoting towards an intelligent and automated approach will enable CSPs to deliver a consistent experience as new channels emerge, and will allow them to improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, grow ARPU, revenue, and to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.

Flexibility and proposition-adaptability to emerging trends and customer behaviors, like those we’re experiencing in the face of the pandemic, will play a critical role in operators’ ability to take a positive stance in a highly uncertain and changing political and economic environment.  As digital becomes more and more critical, CSPs can view the present global situation as a positive gain for the industry.

One Use Case (among many) provides an example of how CSPs can act. Using technology platforms such as our own Evolution, CSPs can manage a large portfolio of automated, below-the-line, personalized lifecycle campaigns. Based on customer profiles and real-time event triggers, customers can be sent offers and/or notifications as reminders of expiring plans, new services or depleting balances. In the majority of cases, we see that CSPs are running between 200-500 concurrent workflows, all triggering different offers and which are being personalized to the contextual time, balance and status of the customers.

In the present crisis, it may be wise to go over campaign portfolios and make adjustments. Customers may not be in the position to make that recharge in the timeframe an offer is giving as a result of social distancing and closed stores. It may also be wise to remind customers of the digital channels available to them for data replenishment. It might be appropriate to provide some segmented information campaigns based on customer location, and it may be a good time to relax some of the airtime or data expirations that you have imposed.

At present, it is vital that you have the flexibility you need to be able to suspend, adjust and re-start your portfolio of below-the-line campaigns, and it’s vital that you have access to a solution that allows you to do this within minutes and hours rather than requiring days of manual scripting effort across multiple systems.

 

By Xabi Miqueo and Keith Brody

20 Apr 2020