Digital Transformation in Telecom

People are becoming increasingly connected through their mobile devices voice and data networks, and with advancements in technology, dependence is further increased on data. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are the two most dominant operating systems for mobile devices and have offered users thousands of apps for increased connectivity, productivity, and entertainment.

Such developments in the telecommunication industry pose a challenge to telecom operators who rely heavily on voice services and could face a decline in profits and increased churn rate due to intense competition and digital media innovations.

Some telecom companies resorted to transforming their business. However, it is worth noting that its not enough for a company to go lean or improve its network infrastructure. It is however imperative that telecom companies focus on the customer experience and retain their customers through excellence in service. Believe it or not, customer retention costs 50% less customer acquisition (link).

Successful transformation will require companies to take a holistic view of their business and reconsider their strategies, structures, people, cultures, systems, and management styles all at once. To put it differently, it is not enough to expand delivery capabilities, but to also improve efficiencies, reduce costs, seek excellence in customer service, and improve on the customer experience.

According to Deloitte’s 2017 Telecommunications Outlook, the digital transformation of customer experience is one of the top strategies telecom companies should strive for to remain competitive. Such transformation would span customer care, sales, and billing.

To really stand out of the crowd, companies must invest in Big Data to understand their customers’ behaviors, and deliver products and services that match such behavior. Companies must understand the Moments of Truth their customers go through to purchase service plans, activates them, and/or switch between them. They must also understand how their customers like to spend their time, where they like to spend their money, what products interest them, and what significant anniversaries they have.

Here is a short video that really offers a very innovative approach to a pro-active customer experience through OmniChannel, which might seem a little farfetched at the time being, but not impossible to achieve:

So where am I going with all of this? Transformation projects are inevitable to telecom companies in Bahrain to remain competitive. However, to borrow from a previous article I wrote about Transforming Banking in the Middle East, and while strictly referring to digital transformation of customer experience, nearly 80% of Customer Experience Management projects fail (link) because managers think that adopting a new software or system is transformation, internal capabilities and operations are not ready, and finally for not having a follow-up plan post implementation (link). Only those who lead the way will succeed, while others wait and catch up at a later time. It could however be too late to catch up. Just remember Nokia’s late jump on the wagon of mobile device innovation.

My advice to companies considering digital transformation is for them to take a holistic approach and begin with an Organization Readiness & Competence Assessment, then perform an Outside-In analysis to better understand the relationships between their internal processes and systems and how they are affected by customer touch points, and finally how transformation strategies will affect them.

 

Let it be still

Once upon a time, there was a young beautiful girl whose home was close to a small lake. She used to go out to the lake everyday and contemplate her reflection in the still water.

One day, she decided to take her younger brother with her, and while she was reflecting on her image in the water, arranging her fine hair, her brother took a small stone and threw it into the lake, resulting in waves. The young girl’s reflection was distorted. She became angry, and started an effort to stop the water ripples here and there using her hands, but to no avail.

An old man passed by and asked her what the problem was . She told him the story, and he offered to help. He said,  “I will tell you the only solution that stop the water ripples, but its very difficult”. She replied, “I’ll do it, whatever the cost”. Very calmly the old man replied, “Just let the lake be still“.

Moral of the story

We often become so accustomed to the status quo that the slightest change or the smallest problem we face disturb us. Not only that, but when we try to solve the problems we’re facing, or fight the change we’re experiencing, we tend to make matters worse.  We can surely give it a try once or  twice, but when we notice a deterioration in the situation, just letting things be, could bring normality back. Being patient, and giving a chance to time is sometimes better than intervening.