Telcos that want to catch up with changing customer needs can take a digital-first, omnichannel approach that reflects current market trends. Bart Delmulle, a partner with Bain's Telecommunications practice, explains the three things that companies need to do in unison in order to make measurable change happen.
Read the Bain Brief: Simple and Digital Is Calling—Will Telcos Answer?
Read the transcript below.
BART DELMULLE: Telcos need to adapt to changing customer needs in an ever-digitizing world and under ever-increasing competitive pressure, where they are more and more attackers and digital natives that attack their business and deliver great digital experiences, whenever and wherever those customers want it with ease, and that ever faster and ever cheaper.
Telcos that want to stay ahead or those that need to catch up, need to radically reinvent themselves. And they need to reinvent their commercial engine. They need to think about much simpler products and model their products, then to think about how these simplified digitized interactions they have with their customers. And then they need to move more to a digital first, omnichannel-type world, where customers can choose how they interact.
But you need to make that real. There are three things in making it real. One, they typically need to do a reboot of their IT. They have fairly outdated or complex IT systems, so they need to rethink their IT architecture stack to build all the capabilities they need. Secondly, they need to massively invest and stay ahead and be ahead of the curve, in terms of advanced analytics and machine learning.
But also robotics. Voice bots, chat bots. Because that will actually help them to simplify things, automate things, and really drive the shift to digital transactions and sales and service. But also, to actually have ever-increasing degrees of personalization. Third, they actually need to change their operating model, because that all needs to be delivered in unison, from marketing products to operations and IT.
So that requires kind of a customer-centric organization where there's clear ownership for the end-to-end episodes. But it also requires kind of an Agile way of working to get things to market quickly. Those three things need to happen. And those three things need to happen in unison or in sync between the commercial functions and the commercial roadmap and IT, because this all needs to be nicely sequenced to know what can we bring to the customers and how and when do we migrate them.
That requires every CMO to become a bit of a CIO, and every CIO to become a bit of a CMO, so that they can understand each other. But when they get it right, the benefits are great: NPS up by 30 percentage points; cost out 20% to 30%, and addressable cost base, typically 60% for a telco. And step-ups in revenues, two to five percentage points, through better cross- and upsell, better recommendations, less attrition.
So if you wrap it all up, if you really radically simplify and digitize in the telco and you go through this transformation, you deliver much greater customer experiences with much greater customer satisfaction as a result. And at the same time, you grow faster and have higher margins.