How To Optimise Your Telco Channel Strategy

Blue and orange arrows pointing to the right.

It’s no secret that a successful channel strategy is important for telco retailers.

On top of the already complex sales process, telcos need to stay relevant and create frictionless experiences – and this can be tricky!

From picking the right channels, to using the right technology, and providing the right training, these strategies can get complicated - but the return on investment is worth it. It’s time for telcos to optimise and develop channel strategies that drive results and boost the customer experience.

Defining Channel Strategy

So, what exactly is a channel strategy and why is it important?

A channel strategy is the various ways a business puts products and services in the hands of their customers. Historically, retail channel strategies have focused heavily on brick and mortar environments, but with the rise of digitization, this has changed.

Trendy Channel Strategies

Customers of the 2020s have influenced retail channel strategies for the better, wanting more flexibility and the power to seamlessly jump from channel to channel. In response, we’re seeing retailers across the globe diversify their path-to-purchase by investing in new channels that fit their market needs.

In the telco industry, companies are shifting to a varied physical and digital channel mix. We’ve seen the emergence of giant flagships and microphysical formats, along with digital channels like self-care and online/web. And behind the scenes to ensure these channels work together, telcos have implemented single platform-based solutions.

It’s also important to note that with the outbreak of COVID-19, customer expectations and comfort levels have changed and swayed even more towards digital channels. They want more fluidity between the channels they use and are adopting digital journeys to meet their shopping needs.  

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

When it comes to channel strategies, it’s not “one size fits all”.

Regional and cultural differences have a huge impact on a telco’s channel strategy. Different channels will make sense for different markets. For example:

  • In Italy, historic architecture is abundant, meaning that available real estate is scarce and expensive. There’s a large emphasis on small, local businesses, and larger flagship style stores rarely work in the market. In Italy, local franchises are much more suited and successful.
  • In the Caribbean, access to high-speed internet at home is uncommon and the use of cards for transactions is low. Therefore, digital channels are not always right for this market. Telcos in the Caribbean need to implement channels that allow customers to pay with cash and don’t require Wi-Fi.

Choosing Effective Channels

Today, your options are vast - so vast that a telco channel strategy can leverage up to 20 different channels. These channels can be categorized as, physical, digital, and “phygital” – a hybrid of both physical and digital.

To ensure strategies are effective, telcos need to take into account:

  • Which channels make sense for your market?
  • What are your customers’ needs and how does each channel meet them?
  • Is there the right mix of physical and digital channels?
  • What is the ROI for each channel?
  • How can the business drive further revenue?

Mapping Your Channel Strategy

When mapping your telco channel strategy, there are six areas you should consider:

1. Store Design

Enhancing your store design and merchandising execution can drive results. The goal here is to create an in-store experience that increases the likelihood to buy. Think about:

  • Branding and marketing collateral that positively shows your brand and products.
  • Implementing attractive window displays that drive footfall into the store and maximizes sales.

2. Customer Experience

The telco industry has long underperformed in the category of customer experience due to several factors. Getting the customer experience right is critical and can be improved with:

  • Walk Out Working Solutions: Decreases post-sale support needs and reduces strain on contact centre teams.
  • Digital Channel Strategies: Allows customers to connect with their telco without leaving home.
  • Time and Motion Studies: Measures transaction times, identifies gaps in the customer journey, and increases the number of transactions per hour.  
  • Customer Journey Mapping: Highlights how customers navigate the store and what their end-to-end experience looks like.

3. In-Store Systems and Technology

Having the right in-store systems and technology is a key element of your overall channel strategy and future success. When building a channel strategy, telcos need to consider:

  • The efficiency of their customer journeys.
  • Indexing stores against sales data.
  • Leveraging self-service kiosks to divert quick transactions that don’t require human interaction.
  • Matching staffing levels to customer footfall data.
  • Identifying inefficiencies in your current systems and processes.

4. Staffing

Staffing is a part of your channel strategy. Telcos need to ensure their staffing levels are adequate to efficiently serve customers. They should:

  • Have the right mix of team members in the right locations.
  • Know their team members’ roles, responsibilities, and current capabilities.
  • Identify potential training gaps.
  • Understand current job descriptions and the changes required to attract the best candidate.

5. Communications and Training

Training and communication have a huge impact on customer experience. Telcos need to evaluate training programs and strategies by:

  • Identifying gaps in your strategy.
  • Determining the most effective way of communicating with teams.
  • Ensuring consistent uniformity and branding in all communications.
  • Reviewing training strategies.

6. Dealer and Store Employee Commission

Implementing the right commission structure for dealers and employees is essential for driving revenue and profit. Get the following areas right:

  • Effective commission model and dealer rate card that is aligned with business priorities.
  • Clear commission agreements for employees.
  • Seamless onboarding plans for dealers/franchisees.
  • Automated systems to control and drive all aspects of spivs and payments.

Things are Moving Fast

Developing a successful channel strategy is crucial for ensuring your company can survive in the changing telco market.

At Maplewave, we help telcos with their channel strategies. Our solutions are built to provide telcos with the flexibility they need to quickly adapt and thrive into the future.  

If you are curious about channel strategies or have any questions, reach out to our team or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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