Wednesday 28 January 2009

Telecom Twit-tering

One strictly for telco or business types, if this isn't you then may I suggest visiting this site?

Here's a quote from a telecom analyst, Sharifah Amirah reported in Total Telecom:

"While I appreciate that a lot of services still exist in silos, operators need to use consumer analytics tools to provide a personalised experience, including location-based services with what we call proximity-based marketing," she explained. 
Amirah also said the recession will enable telcos to refocus.
"The downturn provides an opportunity for large operators to streamline their businesses, and re-evaluate their strategies," she said.
Sometimes it's great to be long in the tooth, and I mean no disrespect - I've seen and read a lot of similar stuff recently. And I know this is what operator managers are saying - that's why you're saying it too. But even where it's not platitudinous it's wrong-headed.  

Here are some telco thoughts for recessionary times:

    • In a recession, beware yesterday's great idea. I was at the Telecom conference in Geneva a decade ago and saw loads of location-based service hype, generally turning into the excitement of 'proximity based marketing'. One day something like this will happen, maybe, but just because it sounds novel doesn't mean it's life-changing. And if it is life-changing, it's going to be hard to do. Meanwhile life has changed, but not much in mobile world.
    • In a recession, the winner is the one who makes stuff better and better. Trim out the fat, for sure, but that's not the starting point. The starting point is how can we do more for our customers, give them a better experience. Next step is how can we organise ourselves to deliver those positive changes. And a natural by-product of step two is what can we stop doing, do less of or do more efficiently.
    • In this recession, developed world operators get the chance to work hands-on in the important area: how to grow profits by serving the poor. We're all a lot poorer all of a sudden. Practise on us. Because that's where the main growth opportunity sits.
    And here are some thoughts for mobile operators.

    1. Fix the basics.
    2. Fix the basics.
    3. Fix the basics.

    Imagine a world where picture messaging just works. Where internet browsing just works.

    You pretend it does now, but it doesn't. Unless 95% of people are confident that it really does work and you don't have to think about it, it doesn't work. What's the figure now? Nothing like that. Why not? Because yesterday's experience persists into today. Because the truth of the matter is you're not making it work.  Because you're obsessing so much about churn avoidance that you've sacrificed a good consumer experience now for the warm glow you experience from thinking how lousy you can make it for the consumer or handset that goes to another operator. Because you're so desperate to think of everything that's not P2P phone calls and SMS as 'added value' when most of your market is ready to turn that on its head. 

    Always connected is the big story, and phone calls and SMS are the least interesting bit of that. You know that's true for you. Why do you assume it's not for your customers? Are you using email? facebook? twitter? and blogging? Any or all of the above?  If not, go try. If yes, stop looking in the mirror and start thinking how to get out of your customers' way when they want that stuff by making it easy and value-priced. 

    Forget anticipating or shaping their needs until you've proved you can serve the ones you're missing right now.

    Then while your competitors are busy thinking how to minimise revenue loss, you can look after your customers and move on to theirs.