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CX Insights for Telecom Executives
Top 10 strategies for expansion in the Middle East
By: Naeem E. Mirza
NCR Corporation - MEA
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Customers never have problems in telling their service providers on all the things they need to do
better. Social media is here to stay, information is exploding on mobile devices and customers are
knowledgeable and in control.
In a competitive telecom market with a fictitious brand promise of, “we keep you connected” lets
consider below scenarios:
Scenario # 1
Imagine a high value customer who has started experiencing
intermittent coverage problem in one of his frequently visited cell
sites. The customer has called more than 3 times looking for
resolution and is now frustrated with 2 weeks of unresolved
Scenario # 2
Now imagine a scenario, where service provider proactively calls the
high value customer to inform them of % of dropped calls in their
frequently visited area with an estimate of resolution time and in
the meanwhile promotes a new complimentary package to
automatically top-up their children’s weekly mobile allowance with a
Which scenario would you prefer for your customers?
Service providers gravitated towards the second scenario will be the leaders of future.
One of the key ingredients for scenario # 2 is data driven marketing team. Service providers who define
the trends of future successful models, demand that customer oriented function should comprise of
marketing, sales, customer service and their IT teams.
It is very stimulating to be part of constantly evolving business where foundations are being shaken on a
daily basis. Knowing that technological change will never be slower than it is today. Thought leadership
demands a true one-to-one interaction between service providers and their customer and prospects.
that by 2017,
spend more on
technology than IT
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Wikipedia defines CX as, “Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences
a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of
their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction,
interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy.
Over the top (OTT) players such as Whatsapp, facebook and Google shaving voice
and messaging communications revenues, it is imperative that service providers
consider CX as their top priority.
Lets consider the key obstacles that hinder organizations to grow:
Telecom Executive View: Key Obstacles to Implementing Customer Experience Initiatives
One in five consumers is now “showrooming” – practice of visiting retail stores to try
products, but then checking a mobile device for the best price online.
18% Purchased the product they were researching at another store
15% Purchased the product they were researching from a different website
Source: Teradata/Aprimo 2012 in collaboration with Forrester Research
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Communicating a CX management strategy across operational divisions could pave the way for organic
Technically, there are marginal differences among products and services offered by telecom service
providers to their various market segments.
It becomes more complex in a competitive market when each service providers competes to increase
their market share and gain profitability. The only differentiating value proposition hoovers around is
how well SPs take care of their customers, and offers a
satisfying customer experience [CX] at the moment of truth.
Typically, 3 main areas define CX;
1. Innovative use of technology,
2. Work process improvements and
3. Management policies and procedures
A study by Arthur D. Little showed that
a one percentage point increase in the
Customer Satisfaction Index leads to a
2.9 percent increase in Average
Revenue per User (ARPU) and to a 3.2
percent decrease in churn in the
mobile telecommunications sector.
Arthur D. Little, ”Relationships between Customer
Satisfaction and ARPU” October 2008
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In multichannel interaction points, customers can contact SPs and get a different, inconsistent
experience every time. Consumers want to decide how and when to get what they want? While
progressive SPs wants to leverage their assets across all channels. As Steve Jobs during World Wide
Developers Conference, May 1997 stated, "You've got to start with the customer experience and work
back toward the technology - not the other way around."
Strategy # 10
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are meeting customer
needs simply by being “multichannel”. It’s not about the channel.
It’s about creating a great experience on every interaction.
Today’s telecom consumer does not want to sit in a queue just to
buy one little thing, forcing SPs to face the challenge of transforming
their retail business. Michael Beck-Hansen, CMO, Wataniya Telecom
recommends that, KPIs should be quantified by evaluating
value/transaction and comparing among channels
Strategy # 9
CX ambition must be broken down into KPIs, which are reflective
of SPs brand promise.
Consumers today expect advisory services from their SPs and want
to be rewarded for their loyalty. Mostafa Younes, VP Marketing @
Etisalat advises that action plan must be followed through by CX team
which should be in addition to the conventional KPIs like:
1. How likely it is to recommend the product?
2. Preferred source/channel/medium to reach/communicate
3. Dissatisfaction reasons
Strategy # 8
Consumer’s profile metrics must be leveraged at all interaction points for instant upsell or cross-sell
Proactively addressing issues, before they impact the business and having instant visibility into
operations would allow SPs to offer their customers the things that they really want. Zarrar Khan, CTO @
Viva Kuwait recommends using NPS (Net Promoter Score) to measure customer experience and customer
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Strategy # 7
SPs must identify most valuable customer interactions, and invest in their ability to monitor and
proactively address potential issues
Monetizing consumer loyalty by re-defining multichannel experiences require integrated systems.
Dr. Saad Dhafer former CSO at STC group and UN broadband
Front line employees to be empowered for solving customers’
complaint based on customer segment and value? treat different
Segment customers and empower employees to serve
Strategy # 6
Continuously certify and empower frontline team to resolve most
of the issues during first engagement.
Today’s telecom consumer wants to be serviced NOW, forcing SPs to
integrate new solutions with their legacy systems. Hani El Kukhun,
COO of Zain Kuwait endorses, “An end to end dashboard highlighting
the different stages of a customer life cycle.
Strategies # 5
Monitoring of KPIs must be complemented with a strong
transformation program that has a high level of visibility in the
For SPs to upsell and cross-sell new products and services to grow revenue would require consumers to
be able to find what they need, wherever they need, and whenever they need it. Roberto Frongia, MEA
Head of Strategy @ Nokia Siemens Networks says, next frontier for CX is “on demand” where SPs can
develop premium pricing models to increase ARPU
Strategy # 4
With 70% of consumers stating that they don’t have enough time, SPs can charge for a premium fee to
provide them exactly what they need and at their preferred time.
Growing number of smartphone owners use their internet before getting out of bed. Accepting status
quo could lead to outdated marketing approaches. What works today will not always work tomorrow.
Manual processes and business-as-usual mindset can no longer keep pace. Michael Beck-Hansen, CMO
@ Wataniya Telecom says, CX should be benchmarked against other players and industries.
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Strategy # 3
Transform your CDR data into useful and actionable insights, and outsource support functions of
application hosting and network management as a managed service
What consumers experience in one industry…is increasing their expectations
across all industries. Providing competitive CX requires necessary tools and
empowerment to resolve customer issues in the first attempt. Zarrar Khan,
CTO, Viva Kuwait [STC Company] says, employees should ‘feel’ empowered
and must have tools to understand customer issues.
Strategy # 2
Front line employees have to be empowered to solve customers’
complaint at 1st
Telecom consumers want their service providers to equip them with
individual dashboards reflecting their consumption levels. Hani El Kukhun,
COO @ Zain Kuwait advises,” Silo KPIs should roll into the bigger overall picture
of the customer experience dashboard and experience that a mobile operator
wants to maintain with their customers. It is not about an overall customer
experience KPI or index, it is about each of the silo KPIs that need to be
measured differently to keep a consistent positive experience for the
Strategies # 1
To gain a sustainable say/do ratio to near 100%, SPs must evolve with time to respond in real-time to
serve the demands of C-Suite, customers and collaborators and utilize BIG DATA analytics to measure
customer behavior to effectively manage customer experience.