Simple sophistication in customer engagement
I came across a report this week that popular MVNO US Mobile is beefing up their network coverage by adding “service on the biggest, and most dependable 4G LTE network in America.” Assumptions are that they are referring to Verizon as their marketing focuses on the breadth of their network. What’s interesting about this story is US Mobile’s offering itself.
US Mobile offers customers the ability to customize their plan with granular offers. This means that a subscriber can choose the number of minutes, texts and GBs of data from a tiered selection of offers. Each element of the plan is independent so, for instance, a person could go to the max on Data and Voice while choosing to save on Text.
This type of ‘build-your-own’ plan is not unique to US Mobile; innovative service providers like Globe in the Philippines have been offering the ability to tailor plans and promotions to meet customers’ needs or lifestyle for a few years now. But US Mobile is a bit of an outlier in the American market, where the unlimited plan is king. What US Mobile is counting on is twofold:
- The big unlimited plans are too expensive for some
- Customers are sophisticated enough to choose what is best for them
It’s that level of sophistication that is leading service providers to look to empower their customers in ways never dreamed of before this new digital age. In research recently published by IDC, and sponsored by Amdocs, 80 service providers were asked about how they expect their charging systems to support their digital transformation. An interesting finding of that research is relevant here:
84% of service providers said that the ability to build and administer you own plan is a very to extremely important activity that charging should support.
The ability to offer flexible offering parameters that can be cobbled together into a plan and activated in real-time is a power that service providers need their real-time charging system to handle in a digital world. That is no small feat. The next step, and what makes charging the true engine of a digital transformation, is putting that power into the hands of the customer.
Globe’s offerings are informative as to how this model can be taken to further heights by adding third-party and OTT products into the build-your-own plan and that relates to another finding of the IDC research: 64% of service providers say that the evolution of their charging system is being driven by the need to better integrate and monetize 3rd party partners.
One last thought; customers are often said to be looking for simplicity. I don’t dispute that. But simple should not be mistaken for unsophisticated. Today’s digital customer is sophisticated enough to choose what is best for them from a variety of products. The simplicity should come from the process and the experience. Put it on the device, make it intuitive and put the power into the hands of the customer. Service providers might just find that customers surprise them with just how sophisticated their choices may be.
There is plenty more to learn about service providers demands from billing and charging in the digital world. I welcome you to read IDC’s whitepaper or watch their webinar on the subject.
Author: Jonah Pransky is a product marketing manager for digital products and solutions at Amdocs.