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Matt recently sat down to talk about the customer challenges facing the wireless industry and how innovative providers are overcoming them with strategy and technology.
Q: Having worked with an range of wireless providers, what are the most common customer challenges you see across the industry today?
MS: We have found a niche with the independent wireless carriers and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operator). Their business models depend upon retention of the customer in order to be successful and profitable. However, this core functionality is often not accounted for in marketing plans. The bottom line is churn needs to be reduced. The contracts are structured differently than first party providers. In most cases, you are not held to a contractual period. Payment can be any designated period such as pre-paid or month-to-month. The challenge becomes how you engage and make your customer a brand advocate. Through our consumer management platform, we allow the brands to gain an understanding of the behavior of the consumer and develop targeted marketing campaigns that are relevant and move the needle. Loyalty and stored value are two primary vehicles we use to accomplish these goals for our clients.
Q: What’s one of the most overlooked aspects of launching an effective loyalty program?
MS: The biggest fear lies in the cost – or perceived cost of offering loyalty. At Clutch, we’re clear with our clients that loyalty does not mean ‘buy four and get the fifth free.’ While frequency can be an aspect of a loyalty program, you’re not changing behavior or creating any type of advocacy with the consumer. That’s not loyalty. Frankly, it’s bad business.
We need to understand the pain points and KPIs to develop triggered campaigns – including spend and non-spend. Perhaps online bill paying is key or pushing accessories sales. Social could be a major focus and you want to reward the end-user for pinning, posting or tweeting about your brand. It’s an iterative process and one that includes a team of experts. You’re not just licensing software here. That becomes very clear in a short period of time.
Q: Given that it is such a significant issue, what are some effective ways to reduce churn?
MS: The data is crucial and allows you to better understand the behavior of your customers. Having the ability to analyze recency, frequency and monetization gives the brand the ability to engage and communicate in a relevant manner. If you can align rewards, benefits and experiences with what the consumer desires, you are on your way to a successful program. Finding the right lever to pull is a delicate balance. As our expertise in the vertical grows, we continue to find the right balance and adjust to align with the behavior and preferences of the consumer. Anticipating these shifts is the key.