The telecommunications industry has moved rapidly into the digital domain, which in many ways has made it easier to focus on the most important differentiator going forward—superior customer experience. However, with increased choices and information, Telco customers are more empowered than ever, and companies struggle with delivering personalised experiences that convert. To date, conversions tend to be low for Telco companies and most find it a challenge to keep their customers engaged all the way through the buying cycle.
In addition to competitive intensity—new products and services causing market fragmentation, the ease with which customers can substitute one product for another, and greater customer bargaining power, what other factors contribute to lower than expected conversion? In part one of a multipart series, I introduced key challenges and goals of Awareness, the first of seven phases that define the Telco customer lifecycle. In this piece, I discuss the second phase—Conversion—along with key challenges and strategies for improving this critical stage of the Telco customer journey.
Improved Design and Consistent Testing
One of the main reasons why conversions tend to be single figures for Telco companies has to do with how customer segments are designed and utilised. In most cases, defined segments don’t take into consideration the traffic that enters the site, but leaves for a competitor. Building segments that include prospects, not only those from an existing customer base, will introduce relevant and meaningful content across the site to a wider audience.
There’s also a failure to test and learn on the buying journey even as new technologies make it easier to leverage information, resulting in better customer service over digital channels. Testing performance of service launches, for example, can help target customers with a high propensity to buy, focusing efforts on those who show interest in new products or services. Research by the CBI highlights the fact that as many as 60–70 percent of new product launches fail in the UK, suggesting that pilot testing is a smart and practical first step.
With different devices, tariffs, accessories, etc., the Telco journey can be confusing for the consumer and where on the page customers click is important information to have. Testing text and images helps identify what works best, highlighting where more development is needed to drive customers through the funnel. Testing form length and fields can often increase conversion rate. How relevant is the data you’re collecting? A long form with many fields may discourage customers from submitting their information.
Customer-Focused, Seamless Experiences
Too often, the Telco buying journey is based on IT system needs rather than what customers need to complete an order. Reducing the necessary steps to purchase will more effectively meet the needs of customers, improving overall experience.
A high level of competition in the Telco market is forcing many companies to adopt new pricing and cost models and customers often visit other channels in search of a discount. Consistent pricing across channels will stop deal-seeking customers from channel hopping in search of a bargain. In addition, a clear multichannel strategy ensures that the right customers are pushed to the right channel when buying, improving your ability to convert traffic and enticing customers to come back.
While digital has the potential to drive cost down, forcing customers—particularly renewal or high-value customers—into digital experiences is not without risk. Customers always have the option to leave without you having the ability to save or reconnect with them.
Data-driven marketing is a key investment area for Telco in 2016–2017, and improved insight highlights the needs and behaviours of customers on the buying journey. But very few Telco companies use the data to help identify opportunities to increase conversion rate. How can a data-driven approach help convert customers through digital channels? Leveraging the right assets is key.
Personalised experiences that are tailored to customer needs can be created using advanced analytics. For example, understanding credit worthiness may increase conversions by pushing those customers that fail a credit check toward a prepay route.
Digital is quickly becoming a primary marketing channel for meeting customer expectations and competitive pressure in the Telco industry. With a growing percentage of Telco sales in the next five years projected to come from digital, employing a data-driven approach defined by robust testing, effective design, and personalised experiences that convert is key.