Here’s a worrying bit of statistic for telecom companies. According to the 2013 Acquisition and Attention Study Report, 39% of customers across markets and subscriber groups are likely to churn-20% higher than last year1.
The telecom marketplace today is flooded with participants each trying to get ahead by offering the? moon to subscribers in terms of services and prices. That is enough reason to fuel customer churn. And then there is mobile number portability that is making it even easier for customers to shift loyalties. Revenue predictions are therefore difficult to make leading to uncertainties in fund allocation. No wonder, telecom companies have made customer churn management an important area of focus.
Social media is helping to stem the churn by providing operators opportunities to actively engage with the customer. Here, APIs are proving to be critical. The information obtained through these interfaces helps in collecting customer data while analytics solutions make it possible to glean insights. Further, with technologies like CEP, telecom companies can track a customer’s churn propensity real time and take appropriate corrective action.
At a time when telecom services are being commoditized, another aspect calls for focus – the need for enhanced customer experience as a key differentiator, something that will make the customers say “My telecom service provider understands me”. Monitoring customer experience events plays an important role here. It is not as if telecom companies are neglecting this aspect right now; the problem is they are adopting a reactive approach. Often, by the time companies wise up to the fact that something is amiss and responds, it is too late, and the customer will have moved on. CEP solutions not only enable real time monitoring of customer events, but proactively indicate areas where action is needed. They also help to leverage event correlation, determine the quality of customer experience and apply rules engine techniques to address the same.
Social media plays a prominent role in enriching customer experience as well. Online influencers can sway entire online communities, and companies are rightly leveraging their influence for brand building, creating the right customer perception and enhancing overall customer experience. Meanwhile, thanks to real-time analytics, companies can cut down cycle time to just a few hours. Also, the cloud with its scalability, reliability and efficiency, is fast turning out to be the go-to technology for telecom companies that are seeking agility in customer experience delivery. Besides, with channel proliferation, telecom companies are trying to set themselves apart by providing a consistent cross-channel experience.
All said and done, the end goal of companies is profitability, for which they need to push up revenue by increasing ARPUs and growing wallet share. Arresting customer churn and enhancing customer experience, while important, are simply not enough. In the face of declining ARPUs, operators are tapping other avenues to prop up their top line, say making targeted offers at the right time. For instance, with CEP technology, the operator is alerted to the fact that a customer is making an international call; the caller receives an immediate discount on calls made to that specific country. In addition, with telephonic revenues continuing their downward slide, telecom companies need to begin focusing on IT-based services that use APIs.
By 2015, mobile ARPU per year in North America is expected to be 589.4 US dollars2. If telecom companies were to adopt agility solutions in a big way and speed up their responsiveness to ever changing market conditions, we may see higher ARPUs, don’t you think? It is high time operators get their technology strategy right with an ingenious mix of social, analytics, CEP and API.??