Telcos sell one of the most engaging and coveted products: mobile devices.
The devices we own can be used for anything and everything. Whether its capturing mythical creatures in our backyards playing Pokémon Go!, tracking the distance of our bike ride on a fitness app, or connecting with friends on social media, it all happens on our devices.
Many of us manage our entire lives using our phones, except when it comes to managing the phone itself.
Have you ever tried to upgrade your device out of sync with your bundle date? Or tried to add a roaming plan to your account during a trip, but couldn’t determine the cost? Or tried to add more data to your monthly plan, but it took an hour in-store and more signatures than a J.K. Rowling book signing? Or make any other seemingly minor change?
What Makes Telco Tedious?
So, what’s stopping us from managing our phones, on our phones?
The answer is legacy systems. During the 1990’s, there was a rapid demand for devices, and to meet that demand, telcos quickly built systems to support exponential growth. The goal was to count minutes and texts.
Now, the demand has moved to data – and channels have multiplied by the hundreds. We have physical retail, third-party dealers, call centers, mom and pop micro-stores, petrol stations, and various digital channels. All these channels have their own unique target markets and offerings, which has led to slow and complex routes to market and costly implications for running disparate ERP systems.
Additionally, telco customer recognition systems were built on singular accounts and bill pays. This adds pressure to today’s systems to modernise quickly to cope with master account holders and account subscribers, as family plans become more popular. Not to mention the other converged services, such as TV, subscriptions, OTT services and bill-to-account products such as Deezer or Spotify. Is your head spinning yet? Mine is!
The Consequences for Telco
Leading telcos are ahead of these industry changes and many have started their digital transformation journey. But many telcos are floundering and failing. They don’t understand what digital transformation is at a human level and have neglected it in their projects. This has led to inertia within the telco and created silos.
And thanks to complicated legacy systems that don’t support the demands of the current market, tech start-ups and OTT players are moving in. These competitors offer simple digital products and subscriptions that have let customers cut telco services.
Changing Retail Models
There are hundreds of subscriptions and self-service apps that have changed industries.
One brilliant example is Dollar Shave Club. With this subscription, a customer can order the quantity of razors they want to be delivered at the frequency they want. Customers can delay or accelerate orders and add complementary products. This all happens from an app. It’s the classic “subscription economy” play and has left established players stumbling.
Let’s look at a telco example. “My AT&T” app allows customers to manage wireless, internet, phone and U-verse® TV accounts from a tablet or smartphone. Customers can view and pay bills, check usage, see device upgrades and order new devices.
The “My AT&T” app sounds like a dream compared to my own digital telco experience. My telco in the U.K. uses an old legacy portal, that requires 20 clicks just to print off my latest bill. I can’t upgrade my plan, I can’t see how much data I’ve used, or how much I have left. The experience is awful.
What’s the Solution?
Transact-Anywhere is our philosophy for the future of telco. The customer interacts and transacts wherever, whenever and however they want. The experience is fast, digital, consistent and positive.
What does this look like? Here are four examples of Transact-Anywhere:
1. I’m finishing up my holiday in Spain. I get a push notification to my phone from my provider suggesting a device for my next upgrade. I launch the app from this notification, review the offer, and buy. The telco’s 24-hour delivery service ensures my device is waiting for me back in England, and my SIM has already been upgraded and provisioned, giving me an extra 4GB per month.
2. Same scenario as #1, but let’s say I receive the offer, I’m curious, so I open the app. I decide I’m tempted, but I want to see the device in action. I book an appointment at the store down the street from my office for the following week. When I visit the store, they already have the device ready for me to test. I love it and buy on the spot.
3. I’m in the airport waiting to board my flight to Canada. I launch my telco app, hit roaming, type in Canada. From the options provided, I add a 30-day plan for a nominal extra charge – no bill-shock when I return!
4. I’m walking down the High-street and I see my telco is having a 10-year anniversary party. I wander over and start talking to a sales rep about a new device for my wife, who is a subscriber on my plan. Using a tablet as powerful as the store systems, the rep orders a new device, and in 10 minutes the device on the way to our home. The rep and I have covered off all the regulatory processes with digital signing and storing a photo of my ID to satisfy the proofs.
Transact-Anywhere allows telcos to compete with new competition moving into the market, removes tedious processes that consume time and money, and it meets the needs of the modern consumer.
How Does Transact-Anywhere Happen?
The examples above are journeys that your customers are looking for. Customers seek seamless journeys that are easy to navigate, and convenient to participate in. These journeys and experiences are made possible by implementing the right systems and solutions that work together. At Maplewave, we have spent a lot of time analysing the potential touchpoints and journeys that customers could interact with, and with the right infrastructure, telcos should be able to enable hundreds of potential journeys.
Connect with me on LinkedIn to talk more about omnichannel and our approach!