In today’s tough market, telecommunications companies are feeling the pinch. The telecom industry has undergone enormous change in the last few years. Rapid advances in technology such as the emergence of 5G Wi-Fi, the expansion of fixed wireless access and satellite services and the explosion of IoT devices have put increased pressure on aging legacy equipment, systems and communication networks. Fierce competition, high overhead and inflation are resulting in decreasing revenue and narrowing profit margins. Telecoms must also grapple with stringent regulatory requirements and data protection laws, such as GDPR and CCPA, forcing them to alter their business and data governance processes.
In this challenging landscape, telecom companies are searching for ways to move the needle, to increase their revenue and gain an edge over their competition. Could optimizing customer experience through personalization in sales, marketing and other efforts be the solution?
Why optimizing personalization is important
In order to win—and, most important, retain—loyal customers in today’s evolving digital marketplace, anything that gives your company a competitive advantage is vital. Telecom companies in particular cannot become complacent; they must continually focus on improving and perfecting the customer experience. Personalization plays a key role in that effort by helping telecoms build stronger connections with customers to ensure customer loyalty and win more business.
So why is personalization so important right now? It’s mostly being driven by customers themselves. Technology-driven customer expectations are forcing companies across different industries to redefine their customer experience, and those who focus on customized, differentiated experiences will win.
Welcome to the “experience economy,” in which growing customer expectations about the interactions they have with modern brands, especially digital interactions, are changing the rules of the game. Combine that with consumers’ increasing demands for effortless personalization and the need for telecoms to adapt or lose marketshare intensifies.
However, personalization involves much more than just slapping the customer’s name in the “name” field of all marketing emails. Instead, it means that rather than marketing and selling to a single target audience, telecoms bring together all their data from across the organization (e.g., network, sales, finance) and leverage data science to divide customers into smaller segments to customize all interactions with them. Combining data from multiple sources and supplementing that data with pertinent third-party data allows telecoms to gain a 360-degree view of the customer, often referred to as “customer 360.”
The ultimate goal is to achieve “hyper-personalization,” where telecom companies ideally have segmented their target audience down to a single individual, of whom they have that 360-degree view. Now they have enormous insight into that customer and are able to anticipate their wants and needs to provide the right offer, the right service, at the exact moment when the customer is most open to it.
Here are some examples of personalization for telecom customers:
- A parent receives an offer for a family data plan around the time they are starting to consider buying their child their first smartphone
- A person in the process of moving receives an offer for improved Wi-Fi service in their new location
- A dedicated sports fan receives an offer to improve broadband speed just before the season of their preferred sport begins
Challenges to personalization
While personalization is more critical than ever, nobody said it was easy. Companies face a significant number of both business and technical challenges to implementing an effective personalization strategy.
Business challenges could include an inconsistent customer experience due to siloed customer data across business lines, or compliance risk from a lack of data governance and security controls for PII and other customer data. It could also involve missed revenue opportunities because of delayed customer analytics (as opposed to near real-time insight). Some major technological challenges include operational inefficiencies, aging legacy systems, limited ability to scale and an overall lack of resiliency.
A large number of the challenges, however, result from data issues: data silos, stale or incomplete data, poor data governance and data inconsistency and versioning issues. The problem of extended time to insight due to elongated data pipelines is part of all this.
A solution to the challenge
To solve this, telecoms must rethink how they leverage the vast amounts of data they collect across their network and organization. It is critical to achieve a 360-degree view of the customer and break down the data silos that keep telecom companies from having full network observability. Telecoms also need modern data capabilities to innovate and develop new revenue streams, and the ability to seamlessly access, analyze and collaborate on data. And they must do all this while ensuring data is secure, governed and retained in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. In short, they need an effective modern data platform.
Generative AI: Go artificial to become authentic
Telecoms can inject personalization into their sales and marketing efforts by tapping into the transformative power of emerging technologies such as generative AI (gen AI). These tools are having a profound, disruptive effect on many industries, and telecom operators would be wise to embrace the enormous potential gen AI holds for hyper-personalized customer interactions.
Gen AI can be used to analyze customer behavior, predict their wants and needs and then craft very specific marketing messages or advertisements. It enables authentically human-like chatbot responses to grow customer trust. It can facilitate the rapid development of personalized creative assets, such as video ads, that resonate more deeply with each individual customer. Gen AI can also help to speed up A/B testing by quickly assessing the effectiveness of different messaging or campaign assets and just as quickly tweaking them until the most effective approach is found.
Get up close and personal with your customers
Are you ready to discover how your telecom company can harness the power of data and gen AI to offer an exceptional customer experience? Learn about the Snowflake Telecom Data Cloud.