Sleeping giant – Part 2: Busting myths in direct carrier billing
Our conversations with those carriers that are still ‘holding’ on the direct carrier billing (DCB) market suggests that there are a few common myths to bust and some learnings from the Japanese market to consider, in order to realise the full revenue potential for carriers. As we saw in Part 1 yesterday. So says, John Milliken, chief operating officer at Infomedia.
Myths generally fall into ‘commercial’ or ‘reputation’ categories:
- DCB only achieves low levels of revenue and is therefore not worth diverting resources to
- Transaction costs are high and not an attractive channel for merchants
- DCB is only valuable in developing markets
- DCB drives call volumes up at call centres
- There is a lack of consumer and market awareness
- Scope is limited to ‘banner to homepage’ content
To realise the revenue potential of DCB, carriers need to focus on some specific areas if they want to rouse the sleeping giant currently being left to hibernate. Most of these points require collaboration from players across the industry to drive a common standard and create a stable environment that fulfils a customer’s psychological contract with their carrier and all the digital and physical merchants they choose to purchase from through DCB.
Certainly, our Japanese counterparts have put the below into play with significant success.
- Channel development: Carriers must increase overall category spend by proactively enticing in new merchants and services, while simultaneously actively managing existing partners. Look to global peers that are driving the market on their home ground – high profile brand partnerships can be the catalyst for consumer awareness and therefore uptake
- Brand, consumer marketing, and customer education: It’s vital that carriers gain consumers’ trust. To do this, carriers need to promote transparency, along with the right messaging and education, potentially through a unified payment scheme. This will ensure that customers are clearly informed that charges will be applied to their mobile bill when making a transaction. By doing so, it reassures them that they are making a purchase in a trusted environment.
- Public affairs, regulatory affairs, and policy: Carriers must have an educated voice, informed by insight, to drive public policy and regulation towards a stable environment that drives consumer protection and welcomes high-quality content and services for the benefit of all stakeholders.
- Unified customer experience: Carriers must deliver a consistent customer experience that covers all interactions with a brand, whether this is in the way they pay, the description on their bill, customer care, or their interactions with merchants – including refunds. This may also extend to self-care, the provision of a carrier app etc. A unified and transparent relationship with customers will ensure call centre volumes are limited. There has already been a significant trend towards a unified customer experience with mobile operators reporting a sharp decline in complaints in excess of 30%, with the number of escalations dropping by 50%.
Given the sheer number of false starts the telecoms industry has seen around mobile payments — such as Telefónica BlueVia, O2 wallet, Vodafone wallet, SimPay, Gemalto NFC, and Weve — it’s easy to understand why carriers are somewhat concerned about further investment into payments. The reality is though that, unlike other mobile wallet efforts, DCB leverages the core carrier capabilities and systems meaning there is very little requirement to invest in either technology or branding.
Years ago, carriers (perhaps) unwittingly launched the most seamless mobile payments method in the market and they already have a financial relationship with millions of connection-obsessed customers.
Now is the time to realise the money-making opportunity the global mobile payments tidal wave is creating. Carriers need to look properly at the operational delivery of DCB, work with the right partners and collaboratively with peers to educate consumers and deliver a service that fulfils the trust agreement expected when handing over money in a way that suits the modern, mobile consumer.
The author of this blog is John Milliken, chief operating officer at Infomedia