Chief Strategist Teresa Cottam looks at the evolving use of social media in telecoms and how service providers are using it to drive business impact.
Camille Pissarro, Conversation
In a recent primary research project Telesperience conducted, we interviewed 41 senior managers from CSPs worldwide. We found that 93% of the CSPs were already using social media to connect with their customers. However, the second most common use of social technology is to drive business impact, which shows a maturation in both thinking and goals. By 2015, 9 out of 10 CSPs say they will be using social technology to drive business impact, and 8 out of 10 say they will be using it to drive conversion and to transform the customer experience.
However, CSPs cannot just implement social technology and expect to gain the maximum benefit from it. They need to embrace what it delivers as an integral part of the way they do business, since maximising the value requires CSPs to really focus on their customers and not just on their networks and internal business goals alone in order to deliver true customer-centricity and value.
A social technology strategy should rapidly evolve from providing operational efficiency to being an integral building block in a different type of customer experience and an enabler of future commercial success. Importantly, CSPs should note that social technology is not just important for the B2C side of the business, but also to engage with enterprise customers and SMEs, and B2B2C models (such as partnerships/OTTs).
In our research, there were four main motivations for engaging with customers:
- Loyalty – using social technology to engage with loyal customers was the most common use of the technology today and by 2015 83% of CSPs will be doing this
- Innovation – customer-centric innovation (that is, gleaning ideas and suggestions from customers) was the second most common way in which CSPs were utilising social technology for customer engagement today. By 2015 this will be the most common usage with 86% of CSPs doing this
- Operational – around 44% are enabling existing customers to support other customers and by 2015 64% of CSPs will be doing this
- Commercial – the least common way of using social technology to engage with customers today was to support commercial goals. Today only 27% of CSPs are able to engage existing customers to provide new customers with purchasing advice, although this is set to rise to 59% by 2015.
Read: How good is the telecoms customer experience today? (includes free primary research report)
Listen to: The Cage: why businesses are customers too