Improving the Telco Customer Journey — Conversion Challenges

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 Approach

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.

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