Creating personalized relationships to attract and retain telecommunications customers

The telecommunications industry has traditionally been slow-moving when it comes to transformation, including digital and marketing transformations. High-cost networks, complex and regionalized offers, and products that often require some level of in-person service activation have prevented it from adopting best-in-class digital experiences exemplified in the retail and travel and hospitality sectors.

Changing consumption habits

Historically, telecommunications companies could differentiate themselves into sub-verticals. Cablecos and mobile carriers, while operating in competitive environments, have been somewhat isolated from one another for the past decade. Mobile carriers have owned the market for connecting individuals with mobile voice and data with no geographic boundaries, while cablecos have competed with defined footprints for connected high-speed internet and video services to the home.

Limited bundled offerings began to blur the lines between the sub-verticals. However, this was slowed due to pandemic delays in 5G technology market availability. Once these hurdles were overcome, there was pent-up demand for these new offerings, resulting from pandemic-related digital consumption changes. This has caused cablecos and mobile carriers to collide and begin competing directly with one another, beginning a race for mobile carriers to attract previously unavailable customers and cablecos to retain their base.

Attract and retain

The launch of 5G capabilities allows mobile carriers to enter the high-speed internet (HSI) space and challenge the cablecos for HSI-to-home customers. Couple that with streaming bundles, and the result is a new entrant in an otherwise stable industry — one that primarily focuses on customers moving in and out of their regional footprints to drive its customer acquisition and base management strategies. As these new entrants to the market lead with nationwide offers and relatively simple activation, cablecos will need to make sure the differentiator is in the product and related experience. Knowing where a customer is in real time within the customer journey and lifecycle will be critical to ensure customers are getting value from their services and remain happy.

Personalize with context at scale

That’s why contextual personalized experiences across all customer touchpoints are paramount for all telcos to attract and retain their customers. And why it’s needed now, across all areas of the business — from acquisition marketing and product onboarding all the way through customer care and lifecycle marketing. It’s just as important to know the context of why you are interacting with your customer at that moment, in that channel, as it is to know who they are and what services or products they have. Knowing what to say to that customer in that moment can be the difference between a happy, retained, possibly upsold customer to one who’s on the verge of leaving.

Deliver the best possible conversation in three essential steps

The most memorable conversations are when both parties actively listen and thoughtfully respond. These experiences leave people feeling appreciated, understood, and confident that their next interaction will be just as meaningful. Brands need to be cognizant that in order to deliver one-to-one communication, they will need to actively listen. And this means they’ll need to actively capture and remember interactions that exist throughout a customer journey and lifecycle and across all channels. At Adobe Professional Services, we approach this challenge in three easy steps: data at scale, audience content at scale, and activation at scale.

Step 1: Data at scale

Take customer onboarding as an example. A new customer may have just ordered home internet service from the website, and so they now move from a prospect to a new customer. How does the telco use the data to capture interactions with the customer across social media, website searches, or even in-store visits? Once they decide to make their purchase, how does that decision get paired with the data already captured to turn them into a trusted customer? By remembering the interactions and delivering continuous, thoughtful responses, the time and cost are reduced, as well as the number of interactions needed to convert a customer as they traverse multiple channels.

The capture of these interactions and tying them to the customer or prospect is what we refer to as “data at scale.” And this is the first piece of the puzzle in delivering the personalized experiences that telcos are looking to deliver with Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform.

Step 2: Audience content at scale

Personalization at scale is much more than just capturing the customer interactions and experiences in a customer data platform. We've all been in a conversation where the other party doesn’t listen and just owns the moment. Those experiences are as memorable as the one we just mentioned, but for all the wrong reasons. These are moments where we run the risk of losing the conversation and, in turn, the customer. That's why it’s just as important that telcos deliver thoughtful, contextual responses to customer interactions as they take place throughout the customer journey and lifecycle.

Going back to the customer onboarding scenario, there are many things that could go wrong after sign-up. Maybe billing is sometimes inaccurate at the start, there was a service outage, or something else in the first month. It’s in these moments that having concise and timely responses for these unhappy journeys is important. We help our customers prepare for the communications they need to send customers to help keep them happy — and we pair that with relevant, real-time data so any correspondence with the customer is as relevant to their situation as possible.

Ensuring that telcos have thoughtfully mapped out what to say to the customers in scenarios like these — and that they have a centralized way to orchestrate experiences to these specific audiences — is what we call “audience content at scale.” And it’s the second piece of the personalization puzzle.

Step 3: Activation at scale

Once telcos are actively listening and thinking about how to deliver thoughtful responses to a customer, the last piece to the puzzle is to make sure they can meet the customer where they decide to interact. Ensuring that telcos can start and maintain that conversation across all their channels and customer touchpoints is imperative. Being able to deliver what was heard (data) and what our telcos want to say (content) to the desired channel or location is what we refer to as “activation at scale.”

Although it’s a theoretically simple process, executing on personalization at scale is complex. For more detailed guidance, check out our playbook Getting to Personalization at Scale.

Personalization at scale for longer-term relationships

This level of attention to customers, and an understanding of their situation throughout their tenure as a subscriber to services, is what the telcos working with Adobe Professional Services are aiming for. Why attract new customers and then run the risk of them cancelling their contract and going elsewhere because a telco didn’t effectively communicate? Attracting and keeping customers is the responsibility of everyone across the business. Using Adobe means you’ve got the right platform in place. So now, partner with our team to find out how you can keep your customers coming back for more, year after year.

Explore how Adobe Professional Services can help telecommunications brands strengthen relationships with their customers. Learn more

Scott currently leads the Telecom Industry Practice for Adobe Professional Services and has been with the company for the past 5 years. He is an experienced digital executive with over 22+ years of demonstrated success within Telecommunications and Tech Enabled industries. Drawing upon this experience Scott is able to utilize a blend of astute technology and business acumen to deliver valuable perspectives to influence and shape enterprise transformations, data & design led solutions, and digital first initiatives. He is passionate at managing through his clients’ unique business, technical and operational environments to identify and deliver purposeful outcomes.