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Improving customer retention in telecoms: A digital-first mindset

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A survey conducted by Accenture revealed that 77 per cent of telecoms customers are willing to retract their loyalty towards a specific network operator. Lock-in contracts are no longer sufficient to retain a customer base long term. To keep customers satisfied, telecoms companies should do more with what’s already at their fingertips — data.  

In the telecoms sector, customer loyalty is by no means assured. Churn rates, the rate at which customers stop doing business with an entity, are a shared concern among MNOs and MVNOs. While difficult to define, annual churn rates for most telcos are thought to be anywhere between ten and 67 percent, making the industry one of the biggest sufferers of customer loss.

For customers, the grass may always seem greener on the other side — especially if it’s being offered for a better price. So how can telcos win more business, and keep it?

Digital-first means customer first

Understanding consumers’ expectations of their service provider plays a crucial role in customer retention, especially in a market with so much choice.

Consumers are becoming more digitalised. As the physical becomes antiquated, customer relationships are being developed through successful in-app or online experiences. Consumers have come to expect always-on and always-accessible services, making it more important than ever that telcos adopt a digital-first approach to meet the changing, digitalised needs of consumers.

Spurred on even more by the pandemic, customers are living and thinking digitally. Areas of their work, recreation and social lives are being increasingly played out in the virtual world — and it’s in this realm where telcos must strike. According to Salesforce, more than 70 percent of customers expect companies to create new ways to access existing products and services, and the most effective way of creating more possibility is to do so online.

Data driven

Like their customers, telcos must also become digital-first. In fact, digitally mature companies are found to be 23 percent more profitable than less mature peers, and 64 per cent more likely to achieve business goals. A digital-first mindset involves making decisions based on the customer’s wants and needs and measuring newly developed features and touchpoints against these metrics.

Digital-first telcos have an advantage over traditional telcos in understanding the drivers of churn. By adding further dimensions of data, available only via digital channels, and combined with predictive analytics Digital-first telcos can have a far deeper understanding of the drivers of churn and when customers might terminate their contract. These enhanced insights allow telcos to foster better customer relationships, implement effective retention programmes, and upsell tailored products and services before a customer becomes a risk of churning.

Data analytics can show operators customer profiles, device information, network data, customer usage patterns, location data and more. Customised service and product recommendations can be upsold so that customers feel like their needs are being met, offering a more personalised service.

Mobilise’s M-Connect is a fully customizable, modular platform that assists telcos in meeting the demands of their digital-savvy customers. Our user centric design approach helps telcos to provide digital ‘self-care’ experiences that actually meet customer expectations. Coupled with our data analytics tools, the telco can build advanced behavioral insights models to predict what customer intentions will be.

The Data Analytics Dashboard feature of M-Connect provides operators with a user-friendly graphical representation of insights like app analytics, location information, traffic volumes, network usage and device types. Additionally, the CRM tool enables customer service staff to manage all aspects of the customer lifecycle. From initial contact to post sales and financial management, it improves the customer experience by enabling high quality, consistent omni channel customer service.

No matter their size or maturity, retaining customers will always be a challenge for telcos. However, there’s a lot to learn from the changing behaviors of the consumer and MNOs and MVNOs alike must make the digital switch. In an industry that — fundamentally — facilitates connections between people, using digital tools to better connect with customers’ needs to be at the top of any telco’s agenda.

Hamish is the founder and CEO of London-based Mobilise. Hamish has day-to-day operational responsibility of Mobilise but also participates in Product Development and Sales. Hamish is a hands-on telecoms entrepreneur with 19 years’ experience supporting Tier 1 & Tier 2 International Telecommunications Operators. Before founding Mobilise, he worked as a consultant launching and growing start-up telecoms companies primarily in the MVNO domain. This included the launch of 8 MVNOs across 5 countries. His background is in technology, however, his management experience spans the end to end telecoms value chain, including in-depth knowledge of sales & marketing, commercial, finance, operations and technology functions. Hamish specialises in helping companies with digital transformation and establishing mobile app strategies.

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Tango Networks Unveils Mobile-X Extend, BYOD Business SIM™ for Work-from-Anywhere Communications

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Service embeds app-less business extension into employees’ personal dual SIM mobile phones.

Tango Networks today announced Mobile-X Extend, the communications industry’s first service using a modern electronic SIM (eSIM) to instantly add a business-controlled extension to a mobile phone.

Mobile-X Extend places a full-featured, secure and controlled business phone on employees’ BYOD devices. Now employees can use their own mobile phones for business communications with a business identity while their personal communications remain separate and private.

“Today’s work-from-anywhere business world demands that we rethink how our employees communicate,” said Douglas J. Bartek, CEO of Tango Networks. “Mobile-X Extend is a first-of-its-kind service that reinvents mobile communications for today’s corporate users. It transforms not only how we communicate in commerce, but it greatly improves company operational efficiency and employee productivity. Now employees working in any location can be as reachable and responsive as if they were in the office at a desk phone.”

By integrating into Unified Communications (UC) platforms or UCaaS services, all business calls and texts on a personal mobile phone automatically use the business identity and can be captured and recorded for archiving or monitoring. All personal calls and texts remain private and external to company control.

“The mobile network is the most extraordinary machine that mankind has ever built,” said Andrew Bale, Tango Networks General Manager of Cloud Services. “Today we give individual businesses unprecedented control over that machine. This represents the greatest advance in business communications technology in a generation.”

With Mobile-X Extend, a business can cut landlines and the huge expense of buying, managing and upgrading company-paid mobile phones. This reduces the company’s carbon footprint while shrinking administrative overhead and expenses. The solution eliminates the cost and hassle of managing expense claims for business calls on personal mobile phones.

The service is mobile native, using the mobile network and the device’s native interface for all communications and features. That means it requires no apps or special phone clients and no training. The service offers superior, business-quality communications not possible with over-the-top VoIP.

Mobile-X Extend is based on Tango Networks’ Mobile-X fixed-mobile convergence technologies covered by more than 90 patents.

Businesses use Mobile-X for Mobile Unified Communications, Mobile First and Mobile Only communications, and work-from-home, hybrid and work-from-anywhere flexibility. It brings fully integrated business communications to mobile employees, deskless employees and first-line workers, many for the first time.

Mobile-X Extend is available for customer pilots now and will be generally available in 1Q2022. The service is sold solely through Tango Networks’ value-added resellers and communications service provider partners.

About Tango Networks

Tango Networks is revolutionizing business communications with the industry’s first mobile network built for business, controlled by businesses.

The Mobile-X service turns any mobile phone into a fully featured extension of a company’s communications platform, putting mobile voice, text and data entirely in a company’s control for the first time.

Businesses use Mobile-X to deliver easy-to-use, business quality communications for work-from-anywhere programs, remote workers and employees working from home, the distributed workforce, deskless employees, and workers on the go.

Mobile-X empowers companies to transform operations, streamline collaboration and boost employee productivity across the board. Learn more at tango-networks.com.
              

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Lessons learned from remote education: Teaching will never be the same

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remote education

Before March 2020, catching ‘fresher’s flu’ was a right of passage for university students. Fast forward 18 months and students around the world stayed indoors to keep illness at bay. However, the pandemic has taught the education sector an important lesson — the value of selecting the right communication tools.

According to UNESCO, more than 1.5 billion students around the world were forced out of their typical learning settings in 2020, with many participating in lessons online. Globally, education in the 21st century has never seen so much disruption and it has prompted critical conversations about the role of technology in delivering education.

Education isn’t the only sector that’s facing an overhaul. Over the course of the pandemic, and for several more years to come, communication technologies have grown increasingly more sophisticated. The UK increased its fiber connections by 50 percent in 2020, and while its broadband connectivity stills lags behind many other countries, the nation is undergoing massive change. As Openreach switches of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), every business will be communicating differently by 2025.

Research by broadband company Zen shows that 17 percent of large organizations are still unaware of the switch off. Education facilities also risk becoming out of the technology loop if they don’t learn from the past 28 months.

Going remote

Throughout much of 2020 and 2021, educators had no choice but to deliver teaching remotely. However, even though in-person teaching has widely resumed, distance learning could become an increasingly favoured choice, rather than an obligation.

Distance learning isn’t a phenomenon of today’s society. Back in 1969, The Open University (OU) pioneered the concept by offering students the chance to gain a degree without needing to set foot on campus. It was a radical idea for its time — yet proved highly popular. By the time applications closed for its first year of enrolment, the university had received over 100,000 applications.

However, The OU’s popularity has decreased over time with numbers of full-time enrolments slipping over the past decade. But things could be set to shift again. Increased demand for upskilling and reskilling, as well as an emphasis in the attractiveness of online learning spurred on by the pandemic, has caused a surge in OU registrations.

Overall, the total number of OU students enrolled for the 2020/21 academic year is up 15 percent on last year — from just over 141,000 to more than 163,000. While distance learning has seemed like a short-term fix to keep people safe, it’s also encouraged a newfound appreciation for the teaching method that could lead to long-term behavioural changes.

Getting prepared

We won’t be saying goodbye to fresher’s flu any time soon. While most forms of education continue in person, education facilities shouldn’t neglect the promise of distance learning.

What’s more, the past 18 months has taught every industry to expect the unexpected. Most businesses were not prepared to go remote overnight at the start of the pandemic, and education was no exception. However, having the right tools in place to ensure distance learning can be carried out effectively is the best way to plan for any other unforeseen circumstances.

One essential piece of any education facility’s armoury is the right communication tools. In particular, facilities should opt for a Cloud-based solution. Cloud-based platforms provide an easy way for educational institutes to streamline their academic communications and collaborations. They can achieve this by combining real-time voice, video, and messaging capabilities with their business applications.

Using Cloud-based software that enables Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) makes it easy for students and teachers to interact collaboratively by using real-time messaging and video. This can effectively improve completing group projects, enhances the way teachers communicate with students and cuts down obstacles in the system of education. Because technologies such as VoIP enable calls through the Internet, rather than a fixed telephone line, it’s far easier for education providers to interact with geographically dispersed students and with less ongoing costs.

As such, 90 percent of data breaches are a result of human error and using the Cloud to manage communication tools and store their associated data can help universities better manage sensitive information.

At Ringover, another huge benefit we see for VoIP technologies in education is its scalability. Our own software can be easily scaled to suit the size and needs of any business, whether it requires a complete professional phone system or additions to its existing infrastructure. With collaboration tools such as screen sharing, instant messaging, and video conferencing, Ringover’s software can help facilities of any size communicate effectively.

After several weeks of getting to know each other, it’s likely many students are battling fresher’s flu right now. However, no matter which education route a person chooses, having access to effective communications tools is crucial. Post-pandemic education won’t look the same as it did previously, and having scalable, streamlined software in place will help any facility to future proof.

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Introducing the 5G Workforce

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It’s been a long time since a technology breakthrough generated as much anticipation and fanfare as 5G. Buzz around it has been building for some time and with good reason: 5G will fuel an economic and social revolution that disrupts how companies operate while opening-up incredible new opportunities for those who have the talent to support it, a 5G workforce.

To fully grasp the necessity for a 5G workforce, you need to recognize the impact this technology standard is going to have. Consider the following:

  • PwC’s “The Impact of 5G: Creating New Value across Industries and Society” reports that 5G will fuel a variety of new opportunities. This includes “the optimization of service delivery, decision-making, and end-user experience,” which “will result in $13.2 trillion in global economic value by 2035.”
  • Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report states that the number of 5G smartphone subscriptions worldwide will exceed 500 million this year. That’s double from 2020 and the momentum will continue in 2022 when subscriptions are expected to pass one billion.

With numbers like these, it’s easy to understand the excitement around 5G. But for businesses to see the benefits, they need employees with skill sets that extend beyond the 3G and 4G worlds we are leaving behind — these networks utilized similar technologies which eliminated the need to upskill teams, hastening the transition from 3G to 4G.

This is not the case now. 5G requires people with aptitude and experience in an entirely different set of technologies. This explains why Boston Consulting Group estimates that it will create 3.8 million to 4.6 million jobs in the US alone.

As businesses begin searching to construct their 5G workforces, various skills are required to start building your 5G workforce. Some examples of areas that your 5G professionals must be skilled in include:

Software-Defined Networking (SDN): You will be looking for people that have experience with SDN, a new architecture that turns a wireless network infrastructure from a close environment to a more agile and cost-effective network, where external controller control is moved from network hardware to external controller. This allows teams to quickly introduce new services or changes. Many view SDN as the key to enabling 5G to meet its ultimate promise.

Some specific skills here include network engineering experience focused on designing, implementing, deploying and supporting a production network at an enterprise-scale as well as at an enterprise scale

Software-Defined Radio Access Networks (SoftRAN): SoftRAN is key to supporting network slicing, which is the process of creating multiple virtual networks. While each is part of a physical network, network slices can be automated and used for distinct applications with specific requirements.  

When it comes to SoftRAN, you’re seeking people who have experience in network programming, radio frequency transmission systems, C++, Linux, and Java.

Edge Computing: While 5G delivers dramatically increased network speeds (4X that of 4G LTE), it’s the edge that dramatically reduces latency. It brings the computing capabilities we experience in the network to the user, regardless of location. This includes those areas notorious for spotty connectivity that we are all familiar with. Ultimately, the edge is essential for 5G meeting its full promise.

Your edge computing people will have experience in continuous integration and delivery, Java and Python, as well as edge/IoT applications and system design.

Network Virtualization (NV): NV removes the network’s dependency on hardware, allowing it to run virtually on top of the physical network, where it can accelerate the deployment of applications, improve security, and reduce costs.

Key NV-related skills include experience with continuous configuration automation tools, application programming interfaces (APIs), programming languages, as well as success in deploying and optimizing VMware NSX environments and NSX virtual networking implementations.

5G is likely to be the standard in just a few short years, and its impact will be felt across all industries. In healthcare, a connected ecosystem will be born that is predictive, preventative, personalized, and participatory. In manufacturing, we will see new smart factories that fully leverage the power of automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality for troubleshooting, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The list goes on.

All these innovations and many, many more are within reach but will be fueled by the next generation workers who have the requisite skills to make it all happen. For businesses, the time to begin assembling your 5G workforce and forging an ecosystem of partners to help with this journey begins now.  

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