CRM Data Battles Telecom Churn

One of my Dutch compatriots has recently relocated from London to a beautiful part of the UK called the Cotswolds. It’s a rural setting with chocolate box villages, as many farms as Amsterdam has canals and a god awful cell phone signal, pretty much everywhere. 

As he was bemoaning this last point to me the other day, I asked him why he didn’t simply switch networks to one that happened to cover more of the British countryside. After he’d phoned me back three times, I finally managed to hear him say that he would do but for the fact that whilst living in London, his network had given him priority ticket access to concerts and had targeted him with personalized offers. As a result, he’d developed a loyalty for the brand and felt a wrench at the thought of leaving. 

My friend isn’t typical in his reluctance to switch. In fact, the global churn rate of people switching from one provider to another is so prolific in the telecoms sector that network providers everywhere are delving deeper and deeper into big data analytics for solutions. 

In just one average month in India last year, as many as 91 million people request their mobile number portability (MNP) codes. The sector sees a monthly churn of up to 2.1%. 

For a company like Vodafone, battling to keep its 16.4% of the Indian market means having to use the data in its customer arsenal with the greatest effect. 

Across global markets, telecom brands are reliant on mining CRM data to optimise marketing, target more effectively, stay relevant and better retain their customers. 

To maximise online display advertising, they’re using real-time bidding (RTB) tools and technology as an effective means to segment audiences, integrate data and gain insights on the performance of different strategies in real time. RTB display is proving a cost-efficient way to lower churn and optimise the customer lifetime value by integrating customer data.

When working for a major telecoms provider, we extracted first-party data from the CRM system so that existing customers could be targeted with hyper-relevant ads, aimed at getting them to activate their personal online accounts. The more customers who activated their online service, the more profile data the telecoms provider could then use to target them with relevant advertising based on their preferences and, at the same time, improve their online experience. 

To incentivize customers to visit this area of the site, they were retargeted with ads containing relevant offers and reminders that it’s possible to access their bill within the online account. 

Timely and targeted advertising has played a pivotal role in facilitating the easy-switch culture of the telecommunications market by enabling rival providers to compete on price, top-of-the-range phone availability, data allowance, that all-important network quality and many other decision-influencing factors. It’s time we used it to reverse the churn rate as well. 

Those brands that do targeting well have quickly learned that data analysis is a vital ecommerce function and not just a customer management aid. Too often, the data storage and the ecommerce departments of major businesses are too far removed from each other. 

The biggest challenge is bringing them together, along with customer service and marketing teams so that data can be collected and customers can be segmented and recognized as soon as they hit the provider’s website. If you instantly know if someone’s a new or existing customer, you can show them a different and more relevant online site version. 

Last year, for example, T-Mobile doubled its investment in its data-driven marketing programme, and the other major providers are all following suit. 

It’s clear that in order to optimize their offerings in this ultra-competitive space, relevant offers and a consistently good experience online is now just as important as signal availability and price. 

Users’ behavioral trends from CRM data make these kinds of insights both tangible and actionable. 

As for my friend, it appears he is yet to switch as I’ve been only getting through to his voicemail, and I’ve been having to leave messages all week. 

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