• April 1, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Market Focus: Telecommunications: The Name of the Game: Personalization

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New technologies and the convergence of voice, data, and multimedia content will change the way telecoms and service providers interact with their customers, according to a panel of industry thought leaders at the Customer Experience Innovation Forum in New York City on January 23. The panel explored new strategies for delivering next-generation services and profiting from the convergence of service industries, and of voice, video, and data services. Service providers will have to focus more on the end-to-end customer experience to drive customer loyalty and revenue and less on innovative technologies. While the introduction of new devices and services will still play an important role, the ability of service providers to personalize content and deal with the convergence of data via improved networks will determine their success in the marketplace. "It's becoming all about the customer experience," said Lawrence Kenny, general manager of telecommunications at IBM Global Business Services and a member of the panel. "The new generations of consumers don't care about the technology. It's about improving the networks and creating an individualized customer experience by targeting the right data delivery at the right time." To stay competitive, service providers will need to offer customers access to any service, over any network, at any time, and on any device. "We're entering the age of what I like to call ubiquitous connectivity," said Emily Green, president and CEO of Yankee Group. The personalization of multimedia content will also provide marketers and advertisers with a means to personalize marketing campaigns. "Services like TiVo...are now providing advertisers with the ability to create really personalized ads." "Personalization is where the value is perceived by [teenagers] and this explains why they are willing to pay more for these next-generation services. While some may be unwilling to pay for a full music download of a song, they will pay two dollars for a 30-second ringtone. They value that personalization more than they value simple entertainment," said Michael Powell, former chairman of the FCC, in his keynote. Delivering a branded customer experience in an increasingly complex environment is difficult, but Michael Matthews, CMO of Amdocs, said that telecoms are perhaps the best businesses to deliver that experience. "They know what type of music you download for your phone, what video you're getting from the Internet, and what television channels you're ordering. This industry knows more about their customers than perhaps any other, and they need to use that to their advantage." Top 3 Vendors in Telecommunications Amdocs Siebel (Oracle) SAP Canadian Content Collaboration
Bell Mobility, one of Canada's leading mobile service providers, recognized personalized content services as a key opportunity to grow customer profitability and satisfaction. The underlying challenge, however, was how to effectively collaborate with partners so that new services could be launched easily and quickly without a large initial investment. "We were looking for a system that would allow content partners to connect to our customer network, reducing our time to market and our capital costs for building new content," says Alan Liu, associate director of service development at Bell Mobility. "We selected Amdocs based on their experience in the marketplace, strength of product, and our existing partnership." Bell Mobility deployed Amdocs Commerce Broker, a PRM solution that ensures easy integration with content partners while providing customers with flexible payment options. Using Commerce Broker has enabled Bell Mobility's content partners to integrate with the company's billing system, giving them access to Bell Mobility's customer base. As a result, Bell Mobility has reduced costs and time to market for new content service, seen growth of commerce transactions and uptake of new services, and improved customer satisfaction. Due to content services' increasing importance to the consumer market, they can be used to improve market perception for service providers, Liu says. "New content services such as ringtones, location-based services, and Java games help Bell Mobility in differentiating our service offerings. Whereas there are limited differences in cellular network technologies, content and commerce services are what customers can see, feel, and understand." --C.B.
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