It's 1993 and your family wants to see a late-night showing of Jurassic Park. You all walk to the taxi stand, find a cab and then set off to your favorite cinema. After lining up for tickets and finally reaching the counter, you learn the house is almost full for this showing.
Annoyed and frustrated, you now must either separate from family members to watch the dinosaurs, figure out nearby alternate plans from a local newspaper or by wandering around or just go home.
But really it's 2019. The digital transformation has completely changed how all businesses run, including movie theaters. Interactions between businesses and customers are now, literally, in the buyers' hands.
All it takes is the touch of a finger to select the movie you want to watch, whenever you want to see it. Choose where you want to sit in the cinema and pay then and there. Moreover, you can book an Uber, Lyft or a more local-based ride-share company like Careem to transport you. Cinemas now use big data and analytics to keep you digitally engaged. They know the movie genre you like so they include trailers of an upcoming movie or sequel the research suggests you will like using an app or by texting you the YouTube link.
To further build loyalty and give certain customers a feeling of being special, theaters may share a trailer that's not even generally available yet. These previews may be accompanied by certain discounts if viewers book in advance. Of course, the movie ads within the app already create monetization, brand buzz and awareness for the production companies.
Digital channels not only make it easier to do business. They also make it more convenient for customers, saving many costs associated with so-called traditional channels.
Starring in telecom
This is especially important in telecom, where profit margins decrease every year and churn can rise -- especially if subscribers care only about price. It is not enough to only deliver quality services to customers. Moreover, applying even the best pricing techniques will only provide you with a temporary solution. Therefore, to gain competitive advantage you must use digitization bundled with big data analytics to keep customers engaged -- this goes both for your internal and external customers.
Since 2016 -- a mere two years -- customer service channels' use of voice declined 11% and the use of non-voice channels (such as chat, text, messaging apps and chat-bots) has increased 16%, according to the 2018 Aspect Consumer Experience Index.
For external customers, that means you're not only offering them next-best offers, but you are also doing so as a real-time engagement -- suggesting this service, solution or product set when (or just before) they need it most. After all, you would not recommend customers buy voice and data roaming when they are ensconced at home for the foreseeable future; rather you would make that offer when you know customers are going abroad. Compared with traditional methods, managing customer service interventions through digital channels such as self-learning chat-bots saves service providers money, but it also can save customers' time, hence creating convenience and satisfaction for all parties.
Consumer-reported interaction with intelligent assistants has grown 39% since 2016 and Millennial interaction has increased 64%, the Aspect study found. By 2020, only 15% of all customer interactions will involve a human agent. Yes, that's right: a whopping 85% of these interactions will be handled without a person. By 2022, chat-bots and natural language processing (NLP) will save companies about
$8 billion per year in customer support costs, according to Juniper Research.
For internal customers, CSPs now have the perfect opportunity to keep employees digitally engaged -- a move that increases employee satisfaction, motivation, productivity and retention rate. Engagement comes in many shapes and formats and service providers should deliver multiple modes to appeal to the spectrum of employees. They can, for example, an app that easily lets employees apply for leave or guides them to a digital platform where they can share ideas or voice concerns. It may also be a digital web library where employees can access online courses for self-learning and improvement. It may also incorporate personal touches, like giving workers an easy, fun way to congratulate colleagues on birthdays, births or weddings and offer them gifts such as discounts on local restaurants or services.
As Richard Branson rightly said: "Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients."
Service providers must introduce more digital channels, promote and encourage usage of these channels by customers and employees, and keep subscribers digitally engaged throughout the customer journey by effectively using these channels.
Join Attique Tahir and other industry executives -- including Mahindra Herath, group chief planning & digital officer of Sri Lanka Telecom; Fahmi Pahlevi, chief technology officer of Indosat Ooredoo; Agung Enriko, principal expert of IoT at PT Telkom Indonesia; Winn Voravuthikunchai, chief data scientist at Telenor Digital Asia, and David Sunil, regional director of IoT (India and ASEAN Region) at AT&T -- during Broadband World Forum Asia. The annual event will be held May 7 and 8 at the Avani Riverside Hotel in Bangkok.
— Attique Tahir is a senior marketing professional and accomplished leader in telecommunications industry. He has 11 years' experience in telecom and two years in the advertising sector. Currently Tahir heads the Customer Value Management department at PTCL (Etisalat Pakistan). Follow the telco on on Twitter or connect with Tahir on LinkedIn at @attique-tahir-173b014.
More than a half-million Irish residents expected to have fiber broadband by 2020. But Ireland's National Broadband Plan has not even begun — and government officials today postponed any agreement again.
In a new report and searchable database, Broadband Now discovered fiber is the is the least expensive technology powering subscribers' connections. But the poorest, most rural residents pay the most for connectivity, regardless of underlying infrastructure.
As Vice President of Global Healthcare at AT&T, Maria Lensing oversees the telecommunications operator's technology and professional services offerings across the spectrum of medical providers, from solo practitioners and walk-in clinics to giant hospital chains, medical-device vendors and consulting firms. Lensing also sees more interest from traditional service providers -- cable and telecom operators looking to expand or build relationships with their own medical communities, perhaps as an adjunct to smart-home successes or standalone.
Lensing, who took on this role almost a year ago in May 2018, oversees both the sales and technical teams responsible for developing growth initiatives for AT&T's Global Healthcare business -- including products, services and industry-specific solutions. She also very actively promotes business minority inclusion, education and female empowerment programs and has been recognized both within and outside AT&T. Some awards she's received include "Top 40 Under 40" and "Super Woman in Business" from the Memphis Business Journal.
Join Maria Lensing, VP of Global Healthcare at AT&T, on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. PT, when she's the guest on BBWN Radio, hosted by Broadband World News Editor Alison Diana. Register now!
So far, the agenda includes a discussion of technologies such as fiber and 5G; defining the needs and solutions for a widely diverse range of customers; partnering for success in a typically slow-moving, budget-constrained market; learning and dispersing best practices from other verticals and within other business groups; promoting diversity and female empowerment when so many say they're doing so but so little has changed; and what she hopes to accomplish in another year in this role.
Register and post your questions for Maria on BBWN Radio's easy-to-use chat board. We will get to as many questions as possible. Please post questions before and during the broadcast. Once you've registered, you will be led to the chat board page. Talk to you on April 23!
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on February 14 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT / 4 p.m. UK when John Isch, Practice Director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, discusses use cases, ROI and misconceptions of software-defined wide-area networks, virtualization and cloud.
Just when you thought the answer to your next technology direction question was clear, the noise around multiple new technology options fills the Internet and airwaves. Multiple 5Gs are being deployed; there's CableLabs' 10G initiative; the ITU and IEEE are toiling around 50G PON – and we haven’t even talked about Wi-Fi6 yet! Is any of this real, do you have to pay attention or can you just let the dust settle and then decide?
Since waiting is often not the best option, let’s demystify technology options, their impact on your business, and how to prepare for whatever the future brings.
In this webinar, Service Providers will learn:
Current state of 5G and how it affects everyone, not only mobile network providers.
Latest technologies being developed and how they will benefit their networks and subscribers.
How to prepare their networks for the future – whatever it may hold.