Incremental revenue experts Collinson Latitude are urging mobile operators to engage their customers with more innovative benefits and lifestyle products to improve value and reduce customer churn.
Collinson Latitude director Janet Titterton says: “Most telecom providers fail to take the opportunity to build an engaging relationship with customers throughout the lifetime of a contract. Discounted ‘start-up’ deals are always on offer to attract new customers and encourage switching. Unless mobile service providers are prepared to fight smarter to keep hold of their existing subscribers on a long-term basis, those customers will eventually defect in search of a better deal.”
Collinson Latitude provides companies with the tools they need to develop profitable relationships with their customers. They have helped operators around the world differentiate themselves by launching added-value bundles of best-in-class benefits for current customers.
Titterton explains: “Operators everywhere face the same challenge of trying to maintain positive revenue trends in the face of price wars, greater commoditisation and increased ease of switching providers. Brand and product differentiation thus becomes more critical. Operators should seize the opportunity to provide more personalised value-based offerings to engage customers and build trusting relationships as the foundation for loyalty and sustainable revenues.”
Research by Collinson Latitude identifies four types of loyalty programmes prevalent in the telecom sector. These approaches vary in respect of the level of benefits offered and targeting undertaken:
‘Information-led’: No formal loyalty programme, with its associated rules and registration, but the operator takes a CRM-driven approach in promoting its own inventory, such as data and SMS volumes, and exclusive partner offers from outside the industry, such as special rates for car rental.
‘Tiers programmes’: Tiered membership programmes recognising the most valuable customers and motivating their behaviours through, for example, VIP services or experiences.
‘Tiers and Points’: A combination of reward and recognition which can offer preferred customer service and monetary rewards, redeemable within and outside the telecom sector.
‘Points programmes’: The customer is rewarded with points for certain behaviour, which can be redeemed against items such as new handsets.
Titterton comments: “To create differentiation in the market, benefit bundles should not only include packages of airtime, SMS messages and smart phones, but also lifestyle benefits. For example, popular benefits for affluent travellers include VIP airport lounge access and emergency travel assistance.
“‘TravelConcierge’ is a benefits package we have introduced very successfully in the telecom sector. This travel emergency and assistance service supports customers who encounter difficult situations, such as lost or stolen baggage and lost documents, personal effects, travel money or credit cards. The value customers perceive in such travel assistance, particularly if called upon, creates a stronger bond with the providing carrier than extra minutes or data alone can achieve.”
She concludes: “The opportunity for telecom providers fighting churn is to enhance their value proposition to their customers. By finding more creative approaches to tariff bundles, and offering these throughout a contract period, operators stand a much greater chance of building enduring customer relationships.”