AI is vital for CSPs in the evolving telecoms sector
The telecoms sector is in the midst of its biggest era of disruption since the introduction of the mobile phone in the mid to late 1980s, writes Dan Faulkner, the senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Communications. Not only is the stagnant regulatory environment threatening the market’s agility but the revenues of communications service providers (CSPs) are also in decline due to new players joining the market.
With Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple all entering the telecoms sector with pioneering business models, worldwide brand recognition and a supreme customer base, CSPs face an uphill battle. These brands are able to offer many services for free by monetising customer data and selling advertising space. Whilst it’s obviously challenging to offer services for free, there are still opportunities for CSPs to be competitive.
These CSPs are now looking towards intelligent platforms to make use of their position and create new streams of revenue and financial gain.
Timing is vital
The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to change the connected ecosystem beyond recognition. A recent study from PwC revealed that by 2020, the connected home market could be worth almost US$150 billion – incorporating various connected devices from smart meters to lighting.
Systems like Google Home and Amazon Echo are fighting for market share. Whilst these all have the reputation to gain customers, CSPs have the greatest potential to become the leaders in the connected home space.
This unique position is a consequence of the growing number of connected devices which need to get online, and service providers are able to power the data that requires this, giving them direct access to users to provide both content and services to the smart home.
By analysing conversion rates for offers, content usage and network activity, CSPs are able to create relevant and tailored offers to individual subscribers, thereby harnessing this unique position. To ensure they’re giving the right offers at the right time, CSPs can integrate this behavioural data with artificial intelligence (AI), meaning their service is not only timely but also valuable.
Personalise customer service
As the number of devices consumers’ own increases, organisations have been able to sell to a growing number of people over more channels. This doesn’t always mean more sales – what it often indicates is an increased level of demand from customers for a more personalised service.
Research from Accenture revealed that 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that personalise their offers. This provides huge potential to upsell for CSPs, which have access to a large amount of behavioural data.
Beyond additional revenue, incorporating AI into personalised offers allows CSPs to improve brand reputation, customer satisfaction and loyalty. When an offer is not personalised, it can quite easily be considered spam by the receiver. This is a massive deterrent and often leads to the message being deleted.
Through the intelligent application of AI, a brand can see real uplift and customer engagement. For example, if a company offers a bolt-on package with a small amount of data to prepaid subscription customer – who’s used up their data before the end of the month – this would be considered a useful and beneficial offer. Had this offer been sent at the beginning of the month, this could have been seen as spam. AI is able to personalise this outreach and ensure contact takes place at the appropriate time during the customer’s purchase lifecycle.
Create new revenue streams
For CSPs that want to use subscriber intelligence to create new revenue streams, there are three model examples of customers that need to be considered.
One of these is customers that have a post-paid account with services and content that encourage them to use high-speed data. By prompting them to use their data when running low, it’s possible the customer may appreciate a personalised data package that is tailored to their usage.
Another option is offering those customers on prepaid plans incentives to top up when low on credit. This tactic helps to avoid churn, as well as being useful to the customer.
CSPs should also consider content to upsell to customers. By offering subscriptions to content, they not only promote new products, but they also help the customer consume their data packages faster.
Regardless of the end-user, using behavioural data and machine learning to drive subscriber intelligence allows CSPs to gain new alternative routes to financial gain and dominate the IoT ecosystem.
With the telecoms industry facing a mass overhaul from regulators and disruptors, CSPs will only survive by monetising the potential of the new products and services available in the connected network. Those providers that are ready to take the risk and adjust to a smarter way of upselling, whilst incorporating new technologies such as AI, will ensure that they are leading the charge in this new, disruptive era for the sector.