How can telecoms operators maximize loyalty? With big data.

I recently attended an industry event in Munich, where I presented a keynote on customer loyalty in telecoms. One thing that surprised me at the event was that, for the first time in my career, the topics discussed in other keynote sessions, panels and roundtables differed significantly from the discussions I had in backstage with several telecom operators.

Indeed, listening at the presentations and panels, it’s always the same topics that are raised during these sorts of events.

How does loyalty pay off?

Are traditional point-based programs dead?

How can a social media strategy influence customer loyalty?

As a telecoms operator, is it really possible to emotionally engage subscribers and stimulate brand loyalty?

Interestingly, while talking with the likes of KPN, Orange, Telefonica and Telia Sonera, the topic that really made them sit up was how to implement real-time marketing, and how to maximize the potential of big data (gaining customer insights that we can use to drive up the average revenue per user.

Operators are beginning to understand that they are not just a brand like any other: they have assets that no others companies have through the wealth of data they are trusted with and the close connection they have to their customers. They are able to communicate directly to the customer, perhaps more so than any other business is able to, and this ability to know any change in the customer’s status lets them react quicker and with a more tailored approach than is possible in other industries.

Big data is going to become increasingly mined for its value, and as technologies capable of handling more and more data are developed, it will become easier to use them when implementing concrete loyalty programs and relationship marketing, in real-time. Again, the speed and accuracy with which this can be deployed will be fantastic. Operators can learn here how they can avoid getting stuck in a vicious circle of becoming a commoditized business.

Vincent Battem, of Liberty Global Europe, put it succinctly when he said, “CRM (understanding customer data & insights) is the basis for everything we want to do in terms of loyalty.”

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