|B/OSS Insider Blog|
How Operators Can Drive Profitability by Adding a 'Personal Touch'
By Thad Dupper
Churn rates are rising in wireless communications markets. A recent report from research company Strategy Analytics even suggested that mobile customer loyalty around the world has fallen to an all-time low, with the average customer switching providers every 27 months, more than twice as frequently as a decade ago.
For most operators today, reducing churn is an urgent priority. And it is their prepaid subscribers that many are most concerned about. The traditional distribution/sale model for prepaid has little user engagement and little choice. With no product differentiation or personal investment in the service, customers are easily attracted by lower prices elsewhere. For these operators, therefore, the best way to drive up loyalty levels is by engaging more closely with prepaid subscribers and offering them a greater range of options.
Today a new approach to the dynamic provisioning of SIM cards allows prepaid customers to spend more time making selections at first use. This means they have both a personalized service and time invested in the relationship with the operator. They are therefore less likely to churn.
A series of questions is presented to the user on the handset when the SIM is first switched on. This provides a list of available numbers and typically also includes a search for vanity or golden numbers, demand for which is growing in many wireless communications markets. To support this, the handset dialogue can be customized to deliver a tiered charging structure. Operators can now monetize specific numbers more effectively. The ability to offer vanity numbers to more users further increases revenue potential. The time of first use also presents an opportunity to offer additional, value-added services to new subscribers from bundled voice tariffs for families to cheaper home-based calls, further boosting incremental revenue opportunities.
Maintaining loyalty means offering more after users sign-up too. To maintain the relationship, operators need to continue offering new services over a longer timeframe. The new SIM-card provisioning methodology can help them to continue offering more choice to customers in-life too.
In driving up customer-satisfaction levels, it is also important that operators are able to match the user experience to the device used. A user with a high-end device expects an activation experience to match. With the latest dynamic provisioning technology, the user experience when making choices and activating services is tailored according to the device being used: If it’s a simple phone, text-based menus can be used. If it has a browser, Web-based interaction can be offered; if the browser is on a smartphone, the approach can be adjusted to suit a small-screen browser.
The key here is in making the process as easy as possible for users and tailoring it to their needs. In this way, operators will reduce churn, drive up ARPU and build competitive edge.
Thad Dupper is the chairman and CEO of Evolving Systems.