Do You Know Your Customer? 5 Questions for Communications Service Providers
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Do You Know Your Customer? 5 Questions for Communications Service Providers

Communications service providers are sitting on a wealth of personal and geographic data, here's how to use that information to give customers the content and communications they want.

John Carney is the global head of Telecom, Media, and Entertainment industries at Salesforce. He brings 35 years of experience as a senior executive with TMobile, Sprint, Google, and Motorola to provide thought leadership and expertise.

Consumers crave connection and entertainment, especially as social distancing keeps us apart and at home more. We rely heavily on communications service providers (CSPs) for fast internet connections and dependable phone service. That means providers are sitting on a wealth of data, from demographics to service history to our communications preferences.   

However, not all CSPs take advantage of this data. Case in point: the other day I received a promotion for a mobile family plan bundled with a sports TV package. While this sounds like a fantastic offer, it was really off the mark for someone who’s more interested in breaking news than watching baseball. I deleted the email and never gave it a second thought.

Why is personalization so hard? CSPs have access to more data than ever, but it’s sitting in siloes. For example, disparate data sources due to mergers and acquisitions often mean CSPs barely recognize the same customer, let alone deliver tailored offers and services. 

So, how do CSPs catch up? Start with five simple questions.

1. Is your data accessible?

For CSPs, a 360-degree view of the customer means understanding every interaction and preference: calls, page views, campaign interactions, buying power, tech use, and more. Unfortunately, according to Salesforce research, while 88% of business leaders agree using data across the organization is essential, most lack a cohesive data strategy. 

So, how do you right the ship? By unifying systems, teams, and data to better understand what a customer needs, when they need it, and why:

Step 1: Maintain a single source of truth

Customer relationship management (CRM) plays a natural role here. Solutions like Salesforce Customer 360 help to consolidate data across systems onto a single platform.

Step 2: Use application programming interfaces (APIs)

Connect disparate data sources with Mulesoft, using APIs to pull important customer information into a single platform.

Step 3: Connect data across teams and functions

CSPs can only achieve a true, 360-view when everyone is working off the same data. Learn how you can build one team around the customer.

2. Can you visualize your data?

Simple data visualization tools like Tableau take abstract data and make it concrete. For example, you can see customer satisfaction scores in a simple line chart to quickly understand how it changes over time. You can also evaluate campaigns and identify emerging trends.

The bottom line is, when you visualize data, you immediately grasp its significance. As a result, you can:

  • Better target the right customers with the right offer
  • Improve campaign performance
  • Drive conversion for your products

3. Do your teams work together?

To truly understand your customer and take action on your data, everyone needs to get involved. Customer-facing teams should share goals and key performance indicators (KPI), even if they normally don’t work together. This requires more than a standing check-in every week.

In addition to your CRM platform, give your team shared tools, such as a way to collaborate in real time. Encourage shoutouts and regular communication on your enterprise social media platform. Train managers on how to encourage cooperation across distributed teams.

4. Do you listen to your customers?

Every customer interaction is a chance to build brand loyalty, increase satisfaction, and offer the most tailored products and services. Complement your customer data with qualitative insights:

  • Launch listening tours, advisory boards, and focus groups with customers and partners that give context to your data. 
  • Add these insights into your planning by assigning an owner to each metric or measurement.
  • Add an analysis tool on top of your qualitative feedback to make sense of what you’re hearing.
  • Close the feedback loop by communicating to customers what you’re doing, what you’re not able to do, and what, if anything, you may need from them.

5. Can you make personalization a reality?

Let’s say you expect a service outage due to weather. You reach out to customers on the channels of their choice to alert them of possible service interruptions. By addressing questions or concerns before they even happen, you build loyalty and trust.

Artificial intelligence (AI) allows you to do this. It analyzes your data to help you identify correlations, and recommends actions that drive desired outcomes. For example:

  • Predict which sales leads and opportunities will convert
  • See historical browsing and purchase data to determine which channels, content, products, and messaging customers will most likely respond to
  • Create custom models to predict the risk of customer churn, the likelihood of conversion, the chance of delayed payments, and customer lifetime value  

Find out more about how AI works.

Get started: Turn smart actions into great reactions

CSPs have stepped into a critical role as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Your organization provides the crucial connection that enables a work-from-home world. Learn more about what it takes to unlock, understand, and act on data with The Intelligence Playbook for Communications Service Providers.

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