Leveraging the subscription economy

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The future of telecoms services is likely to lie in a creative approach towards customer engagement, but how can providers craft attractive relationships with their users? Xabier Miqueo and Keith Brody from Evolving Systems, share their thoughts

Recent months, spent in lockdown for most us, should have given us all pause for thought. A frozen economy has, if nothing else, afforded us the luxury of a little more time than usual to think about the future of our industry. As we all emerge from lockdown (at a differing pace) over the coming months we should, as a result, have a clearer plan for what comes next.

What comes next is, of course, the new digital landscape into which we’re heading at what’s likely to be an accelerating pace. For communications service providers (CSPs), the ability to offer enhanced (digital) experiences to engage and retain their customers will be more critical than ever.

The increased use of digital services has made it clear that CSPs must address the challenge of personalising the customer experience without delay. The shift towards a subscription economy, where ongoing relationships must be effectively managed to accrue long-term commercial benefits, means new challenges must be met.

This will be table stakes.

By adopting a digital-ready, next-generation customer engagement strategy, CSPs can deliver a dynamic and data-driven experience to meet the rapidly changing expectations of the market in both the immediate and in the longer term. Customer engagement strategy, in other words, is more crucial than ever in efforts to diversify and grow revenue streams, particularly so in a subscription-driven arena.

The question is, what to do? Where to start? How can CSPs adapt to the evolving customer expectations of service? How can they craft attractive subscription-based relationships with their users?  

The obvious starting point is to address what next-generation customer engagement strategy – one that is dynamic, data-driven, unified, and executed in real-time – looks like.  Then deploy it.

The future of telecoms services is thus likely to lie in a creative approach towards customer engagement – examples might be gamification and next-best offer – and this requires the foundation of a connected, agile and secure engagement platform.

Pivoting towards an intelligent and automated approach will enable CSPs to deliver a consistent experience as new channels emerge, and will allow them to improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, grow ARPU, revenue and differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. If they can achieve this, the potential of the subscription economy will far exceed its traditional counterpart.

Flexibility, and proposition-adaptability to emerging trends and customer behaviours, will play a critical role.  As digital services become more and more central, so opportunities will be exponential.

For example, in future CSPs will have to manage a large portfolio of automated, below-the-line, personalised lifecycle campaigns to keep up with the services their subscribers are likely to demand. Based on customer profiles and real-time event triggers, customers can be sent offers and/or notifications as reminders of expiring plans, new services or depleting balances. In the majority of cases today, we see that CSPs are running between 200 and 500 concurrent workflows, all triggering different offers, and which are being personalised to the contextual time, balance and status of the customers.

At present, it is vital that you have the flexibility you need to be able to suspend, adjust and re-start your portfolio of digital strategies, roadmap and below-the-line data driven personalised  campaigns, and it’s vital that you have access to a solution that allows you to do this within minutes and hours rather than requiring days of manual scripting effort across multiple systems.

The future of telecoms services will be personal and individual. That will require a different strategic approach and a different technology foundation if the future is to fulfil its economic potential.

By Keith Brody (left), VP of marketing, at Evolving Systems and Xabier Miqueo (right), senior marketing consultant.