If the mobile phone market appears aggressive and extremely competitive from the outside, imagine how it is for those working within it. The whole sector has exploded in the last decade and the ongoing development and introduction of new technologies, networks and services is set to further fuel the growth and the challenges facing those competing for business.
Typically, mobile phone manufacturers and suppliers face abnormally low levels of client loyalty and high rates of customer churn. Combined with constant technological developments, the industry-wide low loyalty and high churn rate means extreme pressure on managers and executives in mobile phone enterprises to develop on-going relationships with existing customers as they strive to retain the business.
The old truisms remain - it costs far more to find new customers than it does to market to existing ones and possibly the most valuable asset that any enterprise has is its clients.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an increasingly exact science in the battle to retain the hearts and minds of an enterprise's client base. Since its launch in 1993, mobile phone provider One2One has evolved its strategy of maximum exploitation of its existing client base through targeted, personalised customer marketing. In this, it relies on its own data warehouse and an e-business intelligence and segmentation tool from BusinessObjects called Set Analyzer.
Adrian Daniel, client team leader at One2One, says, "Our ultimate goal is to achieve the closed loop customer relationship model, where information from the data warehouse drives operations and then feeds back into the warehouse for further analysis."
The telecoms provider is getting closer to achieving that, he says.
In 1993, One2One claimed to offer the first GSM 1.8 Ghz all-digital network in the world. It handles more than 160 million calls per week and its network now covers 98% of the UK population. It can be used on over 156 foreign networks in 79 countries.
With the introduction of third generation mobile devices, the market is expected to move beyond the delivery of mobile voice communications to support data transfer and act as a mobile wallet, provide the ability to search, order and pay for goods using the handset. In this market, the value and importance of building on customer relationships will grow.
Switch selling, promoting and marketing new products, push marketing and other strands of CRM will allow One2One to extend a simple relationship into a long term, ongoing one to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.
"Mobile phone customers are very savvy and are prepared to shop around for the best value provider. They are prepared to move frequently between providers to get the best deal," says Daniel. Consequently One2One regularly engages in tailored marketing solutions aimed at individual customers.
"We have to be able to react quickly and positively to new initiatives from our competitors," Daniel adds. "We are constantly developing new products and services, such as pre-paid vouchers, which have been extremely successful with over half of our customers opting for them."
The Set Analyzer software is key to the effective implementation of One2One's CRM strategy.
"We use BusinessObjects' software to access, analyse and report on data from internal and external sources. It allows us to drive forward our business strategy across finance, marketing and customer services and benefit customers at the same time by enabling them to make their own well-informed decisions," explains Daniel.
In the future, he plans to use Set Analyzer to push relevant marketing information direct to customers who need specific information and products.
"The information gleaned from what we have collated underpins virtually every part of the business, from fraud prevention to revenue assurance. Flexibility in analysis and reporting is key, so that real language questions can be asked by non-technical managers and accurate, reliable answers received," Daniel says.
One2One's marketing team used the software to determine the prior-itisation of the network roll-out during the company's development of UK-wide coverage.
Daniel says, "Having identified a typical One2One customer type, we used it to analyse the geo-demographical data and determine the most profitable areas to focus on network development."
Using set-based data and customer analysis, Daniel and his team were able to create new customer segments.
"Customers were able to change and redefine their own segments and demand new services or products which matched their needs," Daniel adds.
Specific customers are identified and targeted with unique promotions and combinations of products and services. The ability to redefine customer segmentations means the company can reach new categories of client, which means it can tailor products, services and promotional activity more accurately and successfully.
The software also enables One2One's managers to perform spontaneous and "off the wall" enquiries and analysis.
"We used Set Analyzer to create a customer set based on people who had set up their system to support roaming abroad but had then not taken advantage of the service. We were then able to target them on the assumption that there was a good reason why they were not using their mobile abroad and convert them to using our services on subsequent foreign trips," says Daniel.
Set Analyzer is also used by the finance department to track customer churn and try to reverse it.
"Churn is a fact of life in the mobile market, but by giving customers a very accurate final bill and then marketing them directly when we launch new products and services, we have a high percentage of previous customers returning to us," says Daniel.
In time, One2One aims to change its infrastructure according to the information that the software provides, so that the business, its products and services are best targeted to the needs of all new, existing and previous customers.
"The information we hold continues to become more complex but the answers we are generating, which we are using to drive our business, are becoming more simple," says Daniel.
What CRM does for One2One
One2One handles more than 160 million calls per week and its network is now available to 98% of the UK population. It covers roaming over 156 foreign networks in 79 countries across five continents.
The mobile telecoms provider has evolved its strategy of maximum exploitation of its client base through targeted, personalised customer marketing. In this, it relies on its own data warehouse and an e-business intelligence and segmentation tool from BusinessObjects called Set Analyzer. It is used to access, analyse and report on data from internal and external sources. The CRM solution:
- Analyses the geo-demographic data and determines the most profitable areas where network development should focus. New customer segments were able to be created using set-based data and customer analysis
- Allows customers to change and redefine their own segments and demand new services or products which match their needs. Specific customers are identified and targeted with unique promotions and combinations of products and services. The ability to redefine customer segmentations means new categories of client can be reached, so that the company can tailor products, services and promotions accurately and successfully
- Enables managers perform spontaneous and "off-the-wall" enquiries and analysis
- Helps the company identify customers who had set up their system to support roaming abroad but had not taken advantage of the service. The users were then targeted on the assumption that there was a good reason why they were not using their mobile abroad and then converted to using the services on subsequent foreign trips
- Aids the finance department to track and reverse customer churn.