Dianne Ledingham, a Bain & Company partner based in Boston and a leader in the firm’s Customer Strategy & Marketing practice, explains how customer segmentation and a new account support model can help a telecom company provide the specialized service that customers have come to expect.
Dianne Ledingham: It’s a real question for telecom companies on how do you take your existing salesforce that has relationships with often hundreds of thousands of businesses and really change those discussions from just talking about basic voice to a whole range of data and communication services.”
Well, first you have to start with segmentation. You have to determine, "Where is the value that we think we can drive for companies as we really broaden the kinds of offerings that a telecom company can offer?"
We worked with one telecom company and applied segmentation. Eighty percent of the value that was to be potentially created for our client was in 30% of the customers. Within those 30%, what are different tiers of offerings and service and coverage that we wanted to provide to that customer? We then designed a repeatable account support model, and there were three main roles in that account support model:
- The first was the customer relationship manager—That’s someone who probably had some historical knowledge or relationship with the customer, but they were responsible for ensuring that we could drive to full potential with that customer across all of the offerings over time.
- The second major role was the technical architect—That technical architect was someone who was responsible for really putting together the solutions that would knit together some of the different offerings that our client was bringing to market and make them very relevant to the customer. But doing that in absence of an industry context doesn’t meet the expectations of many businesses today.
- So there was a third role that we brought to bear, which was the industry expert—and this is someone who has really deep knowledge of what are the challenges in data and communications that a manufacturer faces? And so bringing that industry expert to the team really helped raise the nature of engagement from talking about what’s really thought of as a basic utility—telephony—to really thinking about a whole range of business services and how they could impact their customers' businesses.
So we think that the generalist model is dead or dying. And it’s being replaced with this teaming approach and with a specialization that is going to be required on one dimension for anyone that is serving a customer today.