How digitalisation helped a Finnish operator lead the way in consumer mobile data usage
The telecoms industry continues to see operators and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) battling for customer supremacy and market share, says Jaco Fourie, chief product officer at Qvantel. Telcos are increasingly looking at ways to cut costs, differentiate their revenue streams, and meet ever changing consumer needs and demands.
However, for many it’s proving to be a difficult balancing act of how best to increase profit margins whilst also providing competitive price plans and quality customer service.
Digital transformation is still at the top of the business agenda for many CEOs and CTOs to help develop and enhance their business offerings and address key challenges. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that digitally transforming your business operations both changes its operational efficiency, and the way in which it services customers.
With great advances in the digitalisation of other industries from travel to retail, consumer expectations from service providers have changed. This makes quality of service and competitive pricing a strong emphasis for key players within the telecoms industry.
Telcos need to be able to gauge customer needs and behavioural changes and react to these accordingly. Digitalisation can vastly improve a number of services with next best action, smart recommendations, and more streamlined customer user journeys – all of which are key for delivering better customer service.
For example, operators that utilise service options and rules based on certain trigger actions or events can interact with customers much better and provide improved services tailored to each customer. The service can recognise a specific event such as a change in customer destination or data usage, which will then prompt the network to send the customer a notification about relevant service options and price plan packages linked to their circumstance or actions.
Paying particular focus and attention to the various different customer profiles can see telcos introduce new products or price plans that cater to specific customer demographics or behaviour groups. For many telcos, this can often be intangible as many tend to have set price plans and services that are rigid and inflexible. While some identify the key problems and implement solutions to address frequent changes in the consumer landscape, they often struggle with responding to these changes in a timely manner.
One major reason for this is that many operators lack a ‘digital edge’ as they still use legacy-based BSS (Business Support Systems) systems that cannot serve modern business needs quickly (or at all). Those telcos who have embraced even a scaled digital transformation enables them to bring new products or campaigns to market at a much faster rate and offer more tailored services to customers.
New revenue streams
DNA, a Finnish operator offering cable and mobile, fixed telephone, and internet services, is an example of a telco that realised early on that the only way to succeed in keeping up with market competition and changes was through introducing innovative cloud-based BSS (business support system) solutions. This has enabled DNA to digitally transform and generate new revenue streams by bringing forward new products to the market in line with customer needs.
For example, DNA has introduced a ‘non-contact’ product purchasing service, which digitalised the entire purchasing process. This means customers are not required to be physically present in retail stores and no manual work or paperwork is needed to set up a contract. In addition, DNA has enabled SIM-only customers to have faster SIM activation. New and existing customers have been able to activate new SIM cards in the network within 38 seconds of purchasing.
By digitalising its services, DNA has been able to react to its competitors and customers more rapidly. The company can now build, test, and deploy a whole new subscription model in less than 24 hours within its retail stores. What’s more, this also means the company can launch new campaigns in just a few hours if needed. This level of operational efficiency and customer service is what sets DNA apart from its competitors as the company boasts the highest usage of mobile data in the world, with more than 20GB of data per sim card in its network.
Digital transformation is key for telcos that are looking to remain agile and profitable in a market that is fiercely competitive. Industry players are not only competing on price but also service delivery and customer loyalty.
Digitalisation could be the key differentiator in achieving the level of service delivery and customer satisfaction needed to remain competitive and agile. By adopting and utilising digital services, telcos can vastly improve the speed and efficiency in which they deliver new services, offering multiple plans based on specific customer needs and market shifts.
The author is Jaco Fourie, chief product officer at Qvantel.
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