February 28, 2024

Changing the Game for Customer Experience

Over the past decade, communications service providers (CSPs) have been struggling to adapt to the challenges of the digital economy.

To build long-term customer relationships and overcome obstacles like increased competition, outdated legacy systems and younger customers that are far more likely than previous generations to switch their service providers to get the best deal, CSPs need to implement new technologies, innovate their business models and think more creatively than ever before.

Putting the Customer First

As part of an overall digital transformation, telcos can take a more focused approach and roll out customer loyalty programs as one strategy to meet these challenges. Designed to increase customer satisfaction and lifetime value, these programs offer unique rewards; however, achieving an effective loyalty program in the communications market requires a lot of thought and planning. It also needs to be interesting and appealing to customers, which is why many operators have also introduced or are evaluating the concept of gamification. Gamification elements, which can take many forms, including giving customers incentives as part of an overall loyalty scheme, can offer a critical lifeline for operators, they have been slow to roll out.

Traditional loyalty programs often separate customers into tiered systems and provide limited benefits, virtually nullifying their intent. Vouchers for points, infrequent communication, limited reward ecosystems, convoluted redemption processes and inconvenient user identification procedures create even more barriers to customer engagement. Simply put, CSPs have a long history of asking a lot of their customers while giving them very little in return.

To be successful, customer loyalty programs must go beyond simple transactional exchanges and engage with people on a more meaningful and personalized level. Customers want to be able to redeem rewards through seamless and accessible apps anywhere, and for virtually anything. Striking a balance between functionality, convenience and social experience is fundamental to forging the type of emotional customer connections that will lead to future success. This is where gamification techniques can boost engagement and unlock a number of benefits. For example, most operators have their own apps that allow customers to track usage, see their bills and make payments, but many customers rarely use them due to a lack of incentive. While seemingly simple, adding elements such as rewards, status, leaderboards, a community forum, quizzes and challenges can keep the attention of customers, leading to improved retention.

Loyalty programs will need to evolve to ensure customers are receiving the rewards and benefits they deserve. Increased engagement will enable a greater focus on customer appreciation, entitlement and experience across all channels. In addition, third-party retailer ecosystems with flexible architectures will allow customers to interact anywhere and on any platform.

Besides giving customers a superior and more engaging experience, the operators themselves will reap benefits such as cost savings and higher revenue through a lower churn rate, faster onboarding, a higher average revenue per user and long-term spending. If telcos embrace loyalty, gamification and other programs as part of a much larger digital transformation journey, they will put themselves in an ideal position to weather current economic and business conditions and also set themselves up for future success.


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