Enhancing customer loyalty – insights from Berlin

Last updated: 20 March 2014

Hello from Berlin where we have been attending the Telecom Loyalty and Retention event, exploring how to improve customer loyalty and retention in the telecoms industry. Over the last three days we have heard about new trends and experiences in loyalty programs as well as the challenges operators and service providers are facing.

Below are some of the key findings from the event. It was interesting hearing from Giles Nelson from Progress Software, who outlined the importance of immediacy. According to Giles, it’s not the ‘what’, but the ‘when’ that is key to customer engagement. Real-time customer experience can help increase revenue, reduce churn and improve loyalty.

Alberto Vazquez, customer service director at Telefonica Group, emphasized the importance of offering customers a broad portfolio but, above all, providing them with a flexible solution customized to their needs.

A third presentation that stood out was from Sharifah Amirah, solution director of Pursway, who provide Measurable Social Marketing. In her eyes, influencer marketing management relies on a combination of metrics and best practices, and it’s vital for operators to identify influencers in their database. Only by identifying these influencers can operators realize which people in their database are influencing their friends’ buying decisions to adopt specific marketing actions to retain them and reduce churn.

Jacqueline Harper, head of retention & in-life performance for Three UK, raised a good point too, talking about Three’s efforts to utilize alternative channels such as online and mobile to save costs on subscription upgrades (in addition to point-of-sale and call centers). They tried different channels for their upgrade campaigns: SMS, MMS, telemarketing calls and emails, and analyzed what works for whom so as to distinguish campaign objectives per segment. The result was that SMS had the most engagement.

It was interesting to hear from Adriana Wenneberg, head of CRM business, how Tele2 Sweden is using segmentation to identify potential value and gain an in-depth understanding of customer needs. In a saturated market where it is hard for operators to acquire new customers, it’s important to focus on retention before acquisition.

But are retention programs enough to retain your customers and limit churn? According to Steve Rosier, head of consulting EMEA at Verint, knowing your customers and responding to their complaints in due time is crucial because 44% of customers believe companies do not care about what they think. In addition, one third believe providing feedback via calls, email or online in the operator domain is pointless. While many are using social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and forums) to complain about a service, which operators can tap into, by the time they have seen the feedback, it is already too late.

Finally, Sezin Mizrakli Guven of Turkcell shared her experiences of running loyalty programs with partner brands. Their strategy is to match different brand proposals to customer tastes using SMS, mms, web coupons and image-based campaigns. Their response rates varied 3% and an amazing 25% depending on the channel they used.

So, what can we learn from these points? Listen carefully to all channels, eliminate silos and share data across the enterprise. Develop strategies to unlock the power of social media as a positive channel and not just as an avenue for complaints. And, finally, pay attention to the voice of the customer.

If you want to find you more, stay tuned or follow us on @GemaltoTelecoms.