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New technologies - What to keep in mind

Read the insights from the panel of industry experts at MVNO Nation Live 2023.

Insights on what to keep in mind before implementing new technologies.

The constant development of technology enables MVNOs to gain a competitive advantage. However, our expert speakers emphasized repeatedly during the event that adopting new technologies should not be done for the sake of it or because everyone else does. These technologies must align with broader business objectives, elevate the customer experience, enrich the value proposition, and empower MVNOs to grow strategically by acquiring customers more effectively, minimizing churn, and expanding their customer base, whether horizontally or vertically. Therefore, before we dive into key technology insights a few general insights from the opening keynote panel on guiding principles that each MVNO should have in mind while discussing its digitalisation strategy.

  • Your starting point should always be your customer

David Caton - SMARTY: “You have to know your target segment, the size of the segment, and understand seasonality in your category. So, know your customer, understand how much money you have to spend, and grasp fundamental metrics like cost per acquisition and the ROI of your campaigns. These are essential aspects that people tend to forget when they get too busy.”

Gary Bhomer - Tel-Consult: “The key to successful marketing lies in understanding your target audience and addressing their needs, desires, and pain points. For instance, are you catering to tech-savvy millennials seeking the latest features, or are your customers value-conscious individuals looking for affordability? Crafting the right message and choosing the most effective marketing channels can make the difference between triumph and failure in this market.

Moving on to sales, a successful sales strategy and execution necessitate a robust and effective sales team, data analytics for market segmentation, and a clear understanding and communication of your unique selling proposition. Identify what makes your product unique and appealing to customers, and create efficient and cost-effective sales channels accordingly.

  • Don’t underestimate the brand value and reputation

Xavier Capellades - Parlem: “We have built a robust and intimate brand that is very close to our customers. (...) Additionally, we hold the number one position in customer service, as recognized by a prominent customer association of users in Spain. This special emotional connection with our customers is the key to acquiring and retaining them.

Our involvement with various associations, sponsorships, and local events, where we actively participate, reinforces the perception that we are not a distant, large corporation treating them as mere numbers. We are seen as partners, closely connected to them. Despite not always being the most affordable option, our customers trust us. The connection we have with our customers is akin to a close-knit community. It's not just about being the cheapest; it's about the trust they have in us.”

Boris Nemsic - Delta Partners: “We are speaking about deep analytics and all this stuff, and knowing about individual customers, which brings us to the point that we are treating every customer differently for good reasons. But from the customer's perspective, he doesn't want to be treated differently, for example, a new customer or a customer to be retained. So this is just a contradiction in itself. You have to be very, very smart to solve this contradiction, to fit the individual needs but not to say, "Okay, I'm treating you in retention differently," and the guy wonders, "Why am I not getting a new phone, and you're giving it to a new customer?" So this is a contradiction that has to be solved by the right analytics, the right strategy, and the right people. It's about getting that balance right to be credible to your customers.”

  • Tackle churn first as customer acquisition costs you more

Kelly Green - Totogi: “I'm glad we're talking about churn this year at this conference because I think it's something that's grossly overlooked, particularly in the MVNO community. Certainly, the large MNOs have very sophisticated tools to look at and understand churn, with rates anywhere from one to 3%. However, when you look at an MVNO churn rate, it's much higher. Globally, it can be up to 30%. So, if you're spending all this money to gain one customer but losing two, you're really losing, and that can significantly impact your business. Therefore, it's crucial to understand churn. There's a lot of data available, and at Totogi, we've focused on churn prediction, using AI to simplify the process and provide metrics on who's likely to churn, when, and how. It's then up to you to decide how to act on that data. You can choose to do nothing and observe if it actually happens or take proactive measures.”

David Caton - SMARTY: “You should never forget the reason why your customers joined and the channel through which they joined. The acquisition method and channel have proven to be as good predictors of churn as anything else. You can try various approaches to retain them, but if they joined on a cheap deal in a supermarket, they're probably not going to stay for long.

Above all, I'd say the number one technique is to have the right people who can understand your churn reasons, report on them, and then implement plans to address the issues. This could involve a change in proposition, offering compensation, or initiating perception-changing initiatives.”

  • Give your customers what they want - hyperpersonalistion is key

Rahul Vijay - Uber: "To keep your customers happy, my number one tip is personalization. Everyone has a communication preference on how they want to be reached. So, why are we sending one email blast to everybody? Could we adopt a personalized communication approach, leveraging AI on omni-channel platforms equipped with AI these days?

I would say flexibility is number two. (...) How flexible are you in meeting your customers' needs? Take Uber, for instance. You only pay when you take a trip. We offer an option for the 6 million drivers on our platform: after every trip, they can press a button to get a payout to their bank account. Make it flexible for people to use your services.

Number three is about creating options. As an MVNO, being part of that 1 to 2% of the network or market, you should be providing more options than other MVNOs. Are you accepting Bitcoin payments? UnionPay? DIsk? Venmo card? Zelle? Or other options that some people might want to use, which traditional channels might not accept? Can you offer more options? It requires more effort upfront, but it could convert users who are on the fence about choosing the MVNO route, MNO route, or other routes."

Kelly Green - Totogi: "In today's world, MVNOs are rich in the data they have, and they should start utilizing it. Totogi is a big proponent of AI in churn, and we advocate for hyper-personalization. The concept is simple: not every person uses their phone the same way. Personally, I'm responsible for seven cell phone plans in my family, using three different carriers in the United States to achieve that. If a provider could say, 'Hey, we noticed your children use your phone differently than you do – one's roaming all the time, and your mother uses her phone differently too. We're not a one-stop shop for all-you-can-eat data, right? We're all using the phone very differently. How great would it be if my provider understood that and could create personalized plans for me? I think that's the way to achieve hyper-personalization.”

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