Best Practices in Digital Sales for Telcos – Part 2
By : Krishna Sharma
Senior Manager - A&C
Adopt Omnichannel Engagement to Create Unified Experience
Telcos across the world are shifting their customer engagement strategy from disconnected multi-channel marketing to unified omnichannel experience driven marketing actions. With this shift, telcos are able to provide a consistent and unified experience, whichever journey the customer chooses to take.
Multi-channel Vs Omnichannel
Multichannel customer engagement refers to the ability to communicate and interact with customers on various platforms. A channel might be a traditional channel like call center, SMS, USSD or telco owned digital channels such as mobile application or web portal. It could be even a third party owned social media and OTT channels. Here the focus is on enabling a ‘channel’ or ‘touch point’ for engaging with customers. Since the customer engagement across these channels works in disconnected fashion, customer’s preferences or responses at specific channels are not getting accounted for the subsequent engagements through other channels.
Omnichannel customer engagement refers to the one stop unified marketing irrespective of the channel – be it the telco owned website or 3rd party owned social media channels. This approach will help marketers to provide a consistent and seamless experience to the customers, like extending same offer or service to customer on different touch points. Moreover marketer’s responses to customers on multiple channels are considered while deciding next action on other channels, thus helping marketers to orchestrate a continued experience across journey.
Channel vs Journey-centric engagement
The focus of multichannel approach is to reach maximum number of customers and engage with them offering maximum number of offers/services. In most of the scenarios, multichannel customer engagement is about reaching out to customers’ enmasse, thus creating a brand presence across the channels.
On the other hand, the omnichannel approach is more holistic in nature & engages with customers to ensure they are having a consistent experience through their continued journey with the telco. The approach strives to maintain an engagement which is consistent thus providing a uniform customer experience across the channels. As several studies reveal, telcos with omnichannel journey-centric customer engagement approach in place achieve up to 91% higher customer retention rate on average, compared to telcos with no such practices.
Advanced Customer Value Management (CVM) platforms are designed with the omnichannel engagement approach. Customer’s interactions and recorded preferences across the channels are captured and analyzed. This insight is leveraged to provide personalized and contextual offers to the customers as the telcos engage with them, irrespective of the channel.
Silo vs Centralized
Multichannel engagement often means leveraging as many channels as possible to engage with customers, but those channels are managed separately in silos. However, with omnichannel approach, all channels are managed and orchestrated centrally. Marketers can determine engagement strategies and actions centrally to ensure consistent experience.
CVM platforms help to reduce manual offer management at individual channel level. Being integrated with the offer management, CVM platforms can sync all the offers across channels effortlessly in creating consistency across the channels. To achieve this, it is of utmost important to connect the CVM platform to all the channels which has customer offering so that the consistency is maintained.
Omnichannel needs a coherent approach
Executing an omnichannel engagement strategy needs a coherent approach. It has to start from the top with management’s focus on delivering customer experience rather than just maximizing reach. Key elements of a coherent approach required are:
- Omnichannel management team: Experience shows that all impacted department’s needs to be represented in the team and backing by top management is critical. An omnichannel transformation should be jointly driven by marketing, customer service and IT teams.
- Customer journey mapping:Identifying the interaction points of different customers allows telcos to construct different possible customer journeys so as to define desired experience and supporting actions at different touch points.
- Prioritizing capability gaps: Priority should be given to fix gaps or issues in processes or systems to achieve omnichannel engagement. For example, unified customer data and customer behavior analytics are prerequisites for orchestrating an omnichannel customer journey. So it is important for telcos to have a centralized mechanism to aggregate, manage and analyze customer data for deriving insights.
- An experienced technology and business partner: Most companies need external support in both devising omnichannel strategy as well as in executing it. Partnering with a solution provider having a combination of technical and domain knowledge will help in achieving omnichannel engagement goals quickly and with minimal effort.
As we discussed, omnichannel approach is very effective in enhancing the customer value, as it deals with engaging customers on any touch point with relevance; resulting in higher upsell/ cross sell and customer retention. But executing it would need telcos to put in place different blocks both operation-wise and technology-wise.