Evolving Ecosystems in Telecom, Media, and Entertainment

Gone are the days of brick-and-mor­tar music stores and video rental shops. In today’s enter­tain­ment ecosys­tem, dig­i­tal-first brands like Apple, Net­flix, and Hulu dom­i­nate the nich­es once occu­pied by TV and DVD rentals, while high-growth online sub­sidiaries have tak­en over many oth­er media com­pa­nies. Mean­while, as mobile phones with high-res­o­lu­tion cam­eras become ubiq­ui­tous, more and more peo­ple are post­ing their pho­tos and videos to per­son-to-per­son plat­forms like Insta­gram and YouTube.

The telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions indus­try is under­go­ing sim­i­lar dis­rup­tion. In a 2015 sur­vey by mar­ket research firm Ovum, a major­i­ty of tele­com mar­keters cit­ed “new prod­ucts and ser­vices caus­ing mar­ket frag­men­ta­tion” as the top force dri­ving com­pe­ti­tion in their indus­try. A major­i­ty also cit­ed “invest­ments in improv­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence” as the top strate­gic response to these ris­ing threats.

To find out how com­pa­nies in tele­com, media, and enter­tain­ment are work­ing to set them­selves apart in 2017, I caught up with Chris Jenk­ins, Adobe’s direc­tor of busi­ness devel­op­ment for the tele­com and media & enter­tain­ment indus­tries, for the first instal­ment of a new five-part series on cus­tomer expe­ri­ence in 2017.

Dur­ing his time at Adobe, Chris has devel­oped cus­tom mar­ket­ing solu­tions to help tele­com cus­tomers and part­ners increase engage­ment and rev­enue. Pri­or to this, Chris served as head of glob­al cus­tomer expe­ri­ence mea­sure­ment and con­tin­u­ous improve­ment for Voda­fone, where he defined glob­al strat­e­gy and vision for cus­tomer data, and head­ed the Glob­al NPS pro­gramme for end-to-end cross-chan­nel cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Through­out those roles, he’s remained focused on using data to improve cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion across all touch­points.

JB: Chris, how do you define the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence in tele­com and media &enter­tain­ment?

CJ: I define it as the sum of all the ways in which cus­tomers com­mu­ni­cate with one anoth­er and inter­act with con­tent, across all plat­forms and touch­point.

JB: I like that def­i­n­i­tion. How has cus­tomer expe­ri­ence changed in these indus­tries over the last few years?

CJ: Both tele­com and media & enter­tain­ment have become defined by a pro­lif­er­a­tion of options, in ways we scarce­ly could have imag­ined five or 10 years ago. Con­sumers are con­nect­ed via a grow­ing range of screens and touch­points and they expect com­pelling, uni­fied expe­ri­ences. Mean­while, com­pa­nies are fac­ing a flood of real-time data from devices, servers, and the cloud; most of which they’re still learn­ing to use effec­tive­ly. And as core busi­ness­es erode, com­pa­nies are rac­ing to remain rel­e­vant in a dig­i­tal-first land­scape where agile new com­peti­tors appear almost every month.

 JB: What about this chang­ing com­pet­i­tive land­scape makes cus­tomer expe­ri­ence so essen­tial for suc­cess?

CJ: It boils down to two main issues. First, cus­tomers are demand­ing more con­trol over their enter­tain­ment. A 2016 sur­vey by Leicht­man Research Group found that two mil­lion house­holds unsub­scribed from cable in 2015. View­ers are also skip­ping at least 86 per­cent of ads, mak­ing it increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult to mon­e­tise media in tra­di­tion­al ways, so many com­pa­nies are forced to cre­ate cus­tomer expe­ri­ences that can be mon­e­tised. Sec­ond, now that just about every tele­com and enter­tain­ment dis­rup­tor pro­vides access to the same basic prod­ucts and ser­vices offered by tra­di­tion­al providers, it’s becom­ing almost impos­si­ble to dif­fer­en­ti­ate one­self on that basis alone, which means com­pa­nies have to use their exist­ing cus­tomer data to pro­vide bet­ter expe­ri­ences, and set them­selves apart in that way. In Adobe’s 2014 Econ­sul­tan­cy Sur­vey on Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing in the Tele­com Sec­tor, a full 72 per­cent of tele­com exec­u­tives cit­ed cus­tomer ser­vice as the pri­ma­ry area in which they planned to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves over the com­ing years.

JB: What are the major chal­lenges faced by tele­com, media, and enter­tain­ment providers who recog­nise the need to address those issues?

CJ: One of the biggest chal­lenges is that of uni­fy­ing data, mar­ket­ing focus, pri­or­i­ties, and key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) across depart­ments. Many large tele­com, media, and enter­tain­ment com­pa­nies are split into mobile, Inter­net, cable, and oth­er sep­a­rate divi­sions, many of which store their cus­tomer data in incom­pat­i­ble plat­forms. These com­pa­nies are going up against new com­peti­tors who adapt every call and web­site vis­it around each customer’s past behav­iour. Tra­di­tion­al com­pa­nies are falling behind in terms of cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, because cus­tomers can see clear­ly that they’re not get­ting the qual­i­ty of expe­ri­ence they’d get from a com­pa­ny that takes per­son­al­i­sa­tion seri­ous­ly. But this wealth of mul­ti­chan­nel data also offers a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for larg­er com­pa­nies who can inte­grate it, derive insights from it, and use those insights to deliv­er uni­fied, per­son­alised expe­ri­ences across every device.

JB: What’s an exam­ple of a media or enter­tain­ment com­pa­ny that’s recent­ly set itself apart in terms of cus­tomer expe­ri­ence?

CJ: Time Warn­er Cable recent­ly used data to over­come some major chal­lenges in its sales and cus­tomer rela­tion­ship man­age­ment (CRM) process­es. The com­pa­ny already had a wealth of first-, sec­ond-, and third-par­ty cus­tomer data, but it was strug­gling to per­son­alise and opti­mise cus­tomer expe­ri­ences and cam­paigns across all its dig­i­tal prop­er­ties. The com­pa­ny adopt­ed a cen­tral, scal­able mar­ket­ing plat­form that enabled it to inte­grate more than 100 CRM data points into vis­i­tor pro­files, improv­ing the rel­e­van­cy of its con­tent and offers—a change that net­ted it a 49 per­cent increase in new con­ver­sions and an improved cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion score.

JB: It’s inter­est­ing to note that none of those improve­ments involved changes in the company’s actu­al ser­vices or prod­ucts, just inte­gra­tion of exist­ing data to deliv­er more con­sis­tent expe­ri­ences.

CJ: That’s exact­ly right. And large tele­com com­pa­nies have been achiev­ing sim­i­lar results just by using data to improve cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. For exam­ple, Swiss­com recent­ly faced the chal­lenge of improv­ing vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence and staff effi­cien­cy in its call cen­tre. By apply­ing ana­lyt­ics to its cus­tomer behav­iour­al data, the com­pa­ny gained insights into the paths cus­tomers took through the self-ser­vice chan­nel, and the exact points where those cus­tomers encoun­tered fric­tion. By address­ing those hang-ups, Swiss­com increased the speed of deliv­ery of new infor­ma­tion and ser­vices by 25 per­cent, low­ered web man­age­ment costs by 20 per­cent, and boost­ed por­tal con­ver­sions by as much as 150 percent—all of this, again, just by act­ing on exist­ing cus­tomer data and pro­vid­ing a smoother expe­ri­ence for callers.

JB: So in a world where just about every tele­com and media & enter­tain­ment com­pa­ny is pro­vid­ing many of the same essen­tials, the dif­fer­ence real­ly comes down to the lev­el of per­son­al ser­vice each cus­tomer receives, and the seam­less­ness of that expe­ri­ence across screens?

CJ: Pre­cise­ly. And many large, estab­lished com­pa­nies already have the data they need to pro­vide that expe­ri­ence. They just need to inte­grate it across depart­ments, and use it to obtain cus­tomer insights their com­peti­tors don’t have. That’s how the most suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies are going to stand out in 2017.

JB: That’s a great sum-up, Chris. Thanks for giv­ing us some clear­er insight into this year’s chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties in tele­com, media, and enter­tain­ment cus­tomer ser­vice.

Thanks for read­ing the first part in this five-part series on the trends that will define the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence suc­cess­es of 2017. If you’re ready to set your own com­pa­ny apart from the com­pe­ti­tion in this new expe­ri­ence-first world, we at Adobe are here to help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *