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Successful CRM for Carriers – There's an App for That

Sun, 01/15/2012 - 2:20pm
Jon Jackson, CEO of Mobile Posse

Wireless carriers are spending billions every year, but very few of those dollars go toward communicating with the people who generate their revenue. Inefficient or non-existent CRM (Customer Relationship Management) strategies and platforms have resulted in billions of dollars in lost opportunity and wasted efforts. Most carriers ignore the problem, but, with limited resource investment, significant improvement can be made to the carrier/customer relationship, and with that comes an increase in revenue and a decrease in cost.

Carriers must shift their CRM strategies to meet customers where they are most engaged: apps. The mobile app ecosystem is exploding as wireless subscribers flock to smartphones and the army of existing apps that enrich the mobile experience.

Jon JacksonApps, which offer reach, timeliness and rich graphics, have all the characteristics needed to dominate CRM strategies for operators worldwide. The most forward thinking carriers are turning away from SMS as well as the mobile Web and repositioning their CRM strategies. They are moving away from initiatives that are intrusive or impersonal to strategies that are personalized and easily accessible.

Tier 1 carriers wanting to succeed must utilize an inventive and effective app-based CRM strategy to engage with subscribers. They must develop a metered, app-driven CRM schedule based on the customer life-cycle, and interact with their customers in a variety of ways to both educate new users about their service and engender loyalty among existing users.

The First 30 Days – Makes All the Difference
Some carriers aggressively engage new customers at multiple points in their first 30 days of service, and those that don't, should.

Week 1 - Welcome Customers
The initial objective, of course, is to welcome and onboard new subscribers on the first day of service. Leveraging CRM apps to provide customers with promotional offers and exclusive discounts at the initiation of service, carriers seamlessly manage the onboarding process of millions of customers that otherwise may not be easily reached.  This raises customer's expectations of the type of valuable experience a CRM app can deliver.

Week 2 - Survey and Target Customers
To maximize success with new customers, carriers need to learn more about them – their likes/dislikes, needs/annoyances and everything in between. All of this helps customize and personalize the experience for each customer. Effective carriers use CRM apps to leverage welcome questions that ask from which mobile provider they switched, including details about their previous plan. They can then use this information to target the right customer with the right message at the right time.

Week 3 - Ongoing Support to Customers
CRM apps can provide directory assistance, data backup, GPS support, etc. to a significant share of subscribers with relative ease. There are never-ending opportunities for rate plan upgrades, service add-ons and device accessories for those subscribers interested; CRM apps allow for a seamless, integrated experience for the subscriber, all on the mobile device. These services, whether paid or unpaid, help to bond the subscriber to the carrier.

Week 4 - Optimization for Customers
Case Study: One carrier learned through surveys and consumer research that their subscribers were interested in consuming music via mobile. Realizing this opportunity, they began to offer a music-provider incentive at a higher rate plan. The campaign drove a significant share to upgrade, increasing both customer satisfaction and ARPU, all through CRM apps.

The Best of the Best
Select Tier 1 carriers have utilized an inventive and effective app-based CRM strategy to engage with subscribers and have achieved remarkable results doing so. In developing a metered, app-driven CRM schedule based on the customer life cycle and by interacting with their customers in a variety of ways, they've had success both educating new users about their services and engendering loyalty among existing users.

App-driven CRM is no simple task and the app ecosystem can be a complex framework to navigate. It requires a clear strategy and upfront investment, but that investment will pay for itself quickly and exponentially. There are tremendous gains to be made in CRM through customized marketing and on-demand data. Carriers are already reaching new levels of success in CRM through a refined apps-based approach, creating a happier, healthier customer relationship.

Jon Jackson is CEO of Mobile Posse. Next month, he will give us a follow-up to this article, which will discuss maintaining and growing the carrier-subscriber relationship after the first 30 days during the first year. The article will outline best practices for relationship maintenance and growth, as well as subscriber behavior in the first year.

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