DTW Session Recap 5: Winning the Battle of the (Telco) Brands

For decades, and even today, connectivity has been at the core of telcos’ business model. But at one of the final panels at Digital Transformation World, industry experts illustrated another type of connectivity that’s becoming increasingly important—the connectivity their brand has with customers.

In the panel “Are telcos losing the brand battle? How to drive loyalty and advocacy,” leaders from Maxis, Elisa and CSG shared their perspectives on how telcos can strengthen customer connections by defining their brand purpose.

Brand and Deliver

Last year, Malaysian telco Maxis refreshed their brand purpose. According to CEO Gokhan Ogut, loyalty starts with a brand that customers can trust and has a strong purpose, which Ogut defined for Maxis as “bring[ing] the best technologies to Malaysia…so that [customers] can always be ahead in a changing world.”

But following through on a brand promise isn’t always easy.

“The biggest challenge is execution, and really walking the talk,” said Ogut.

That’s why Maxis also revitalized their company culture as part of their brand relaunch, with the pillars of customer-first, what’s possible and “I am Maxis.” From the top down, processes and procedures are centered around the customer, with employees empowered to take action on behalf of their customers.

“Culture is how we’re instilling this to the whole company,” said Ogut.

Designed with Customers in Mind

At Finnish-based operator Elisa, Chief Customer Officer Karolina Baszarkiewicz explained that they create different action plans for their detractors and promoters based on NPS scores, and define personas to better understand their jobs to be done.

“When we’re analyzing our scores, the key question we ask is really, ‘What did we learn and what improvements should we make based on these findings?’” said Baszarkiewicz.

And it’s not always the same for every customer. For their promoter customers, Elisa focuses on customer service excellence and empathy, as well as surprise and delight. They’re also extending their suite of solutions for customers, including adding more offerings like TV and audiobooks.

For customers who are detractors, the best way to meet their needs is to go back to basics and make sure service is reliable, said Baszarkiewicz. Implementing automation and artificial intelligence has helped the company serve these customers at scale.

Knowing different customers’ needs and jobs to be done is the best way to encourage loyalty.

“Without understanding your customers and what your customers value, you actually don’t earn the right to keep them,” said Baszarkiewicz.

Making Change Happen

Having a customer-centric culture and brand is a key part of driving customer loyalty. But having the right technology and platforms in place to execute that brand promise is equally important.

CSG Head of Customer Engagement Alfred Binford explained that telcos can tap into the data they have to really understand what customers want. They can then turn those insights into action across different touchpoints, which “ensures that the brand you intend is the experience that customers are feeling.”

“At the end of the day, those orchestrated experiences offer the highest levels of loyalty,” said Binford.

But in the telco brand battle, customer centricity will always underscore the technology.

“To compete and win, the war will be won through providing the best experience, very often on the most high-quality network and services,” said Binford. “It starts with having the foundation of your value proposition.”