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How a few operators have changed customer communication forever

Blog: Capgemini CTO Blog

Julia switches on her phone after landing in New York, ready for two weeks of vacation. She already knows that her coverage will be a hassle – it always is. But this time she is notified that she is now on roaming, and is proposed a 2GB bundle for the duration of her holidays. “Good!” she thinks, “that’s better than not having data or paying the full pay-per-use roaming cost!”

Alex reviews the family phone plans on the operator’s website: his wife’s, their son’s, his own. Different plans, some used, some are not – there must be a way to optimize… “Oh,” he thinks, as a  banner appears for a family plan, “that looks interesting!”

Lea has an old phone which is showing its age. She is also close to the end of her commitment period, and she has started to look at the various offers on the market – who could get her the new iPhone? Then she receives a promo SMS –a new iPhone with a plan renewal:  “Wow!” she thinks, “This time, “it’s like they read my mind!”

Relating to customers and engaging with them throughout their lives is fundamental to customer satisfaction and revenue generation. One-to-one engagement bases your customer relationship on trust and care: a CSP should be talking with one single voice with a customer, treating them as a person, with individual behaviors, experiences, needs… and not as a persona from a segment. It allows the CSP to accurately suggest the Next Best Action or Next Best Offer, helping each customer make the personal choice that works best for them.

Modes of interaction

As demonstrated by the examples above, interacting with customers corresponds to different modes, with different requirements and constraints. They are all relevant, at different times, and address different needs.

Mode Origin Channel Latency Care or Sales
Inbound From client, incoming interaction Web site, mobile app, call center, shop Real-time < 50ms Care & Sales
Campaign Scheduled activity E-mail, SMS, MMS, Media display, call center Scheduled, weekly / monthly Sales
Triggered From deteted event or activity: navigation, request, location… Detect from network

Push on E-mail / SMS / MMS / call center

Near real-time ~ 1-5 minutes Care & Sales

Inbound mode

The customer initiates – in person, by phone or via website/mobile app – and is either looking for information or asking for assistance. The Next Best Action then appears as a direct recommendation to the agent, or as a banner on the web site or app. It should be calculated quickly, so nobody has to wait for pages to load, and be provided on the same medium. The Next Best Action may offer help, or try to sell a new option, offer, or bundle. It can relate to a seasonal activity or be tied to a specific activity or profile trait, or both.

Campaign mode

The CSP has scheduled cyclical marketing campaign activities linked to seasons, phone set releases, offer generations and so on. A focused communication is pushed to customers, typically to sell, renew or stimulate usage. Personalization is important to promote the most relevant offers, and to avoid customers who are not eligible.

Triggered mode

An event or specific activity is occurring, which is signaling a specific “moment” in the life of the customer as an individual or in relationship with the CSP. Then the CSP can offer help and / or suggest an action, an offer, or an option. This is generally very specific and individual to the behavior and experience of the customer, and must be carried out in “near real-time,” (less than five minutes typically), so as not to miss the critical moment!

Operational impact

In terms of organization, Marketing needs to be able to manage both recurring activities (campaigns) and the 24/7 operations of a reactive NBA/NBO engine. Automation is key, and the organization is geared towards configuring rules & scenarios, analyzing data and feedback, developing propensity models, scores, insights, and then letting automation get to work. What remains is monitoring – with tools similar to monitoring a telecom network.

Technical impact

The technical stack used to provide customer interactions must be able to get reliable data and insights in real-time, and then make decisions fast (50-100 ms in some cases, 5 minutes in other cases) at high volumes. It should also be able to power campaigns to millions of customers. Technology should be carefully chosen and provided with enough resources to provide scalability. It must allow the CSP to configure scenarios and rules easily, based on insights from advanced analytics models.

Conclusion: a transformation story

Such capabilities are not available at all CSPs today. At present, most organizations still have siloed channels with fragmented interactions, creating unsatisfying customer experiences. A CSP willing to gain a competitive edge must develop a new vision of highly relevant real-time customer interactions, aligned with its business objectives. Then it’s ready to start a two-pronged transformation project, setting up new processes and implementing a new customer interaction architecture, with an agile and iterative approach.

Capgemini has already enabled such transformations at many CSPs, based on strong telco industry, change management, customer experience and data expertise. Let’s get in touch!

TelcoInsights is a series of posts about the latest trends and opportunities in the telecommunications industry – powered by a community of global industry experts and thought leaders.


Yannick Martel, Group offer lead for Data & AI in the Telecom industry


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