Throughout history, the telecommunication industry has witnessed massive growth. The past decade is no different with innovations that have made long-distance communication an affordable reality. Continuous research and development in this sector have given rise to innovative technologies that have led to a massive drive in the interest for smart gadgets, especially smartphones which have become an extension of ourselves. Thanks to them, keeping in touch these days is just a swipe away.
In 2020 alone, AT&T generated over 171.76 billion U.S. dollars in revenues, according to data released by Statistica, an online data analysis platform, earlier this year. Similarly, other leading telecommunication companies like T-Mobile and Verizon have also seen substantial growth in their operational revenues over the past ten years.
Today’s demand requires telecommunication companies to process, secure, and analyze real-time data, to keep up with the rising competition and customer demands. This is where data analytics comes into the picture.
Business consultants and growth experts have been stressing the importance of big data for customer analytics in the telecom industry for a long time now. Srikanth Aravamuthan is one such consultant who has helped telecommunication giants in Asia, Africa, The Middle East, and the United States of America, build more efficient, customer-friendly, cost-optimized, analytically driven decisions, since 2007.
An expert in bringing analytically-driven digital overhauls in companies, Srikanth is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for Bonzer and he is also working closely with leading universities in the United States to induct the operational model of Bonzer as part of the curriculum for the post-graduate students in sustainable transportation.
Over the years, Srikanth has assisted multiple telecommunication companies to boost their revenue and optimize their cost of operations both as an independent business consultant and during his time with consulting firms like Deloitte, KPMG, etc. Before which he had headed major projects for one of India’s largest telecommunication companies, Reliance Telecommunication.
Also, during his tenure with the Indian Army, he worked extensively in evaluating IT and telecommunication equipment used by the Indian armed forces to ensure its efficiency.
In this article, Srikanth, explains how customer data analytics can be a game-changer for telecom companies continually looking to outsmart the competition.
What is big data?
“Big Data is the use of enormous data sets that are analyzed computationally to understand patterns, associations, trends, and customer or client and/or employee behavior. In the telecommunications industry, we often use it for customer analytics to better understand customer behavior and how the products and services provided by the company improve the overall customer experience,” he says.
Speaking on the importance of big data to the commercial world, Srikanth adds, “Telecommunication companies need to study device data, network data, customer patterns, customer interaction data (data from customer interactions at call centers, retail stores, digital platforms) location data, apps downloaded, etc. to understand their customers and continually work to improve and better their products and services accordingly.”
Role of Data Analytics
Srikanth also touches on the role of data analytics, especially in the communication sector.
“The growing competition among telecommunication service providers has led to revolutionary innovations in the industry like the expansion of the networks from 2G to 5G in a brief time. We have also seen exponential growth in the number of smart device users across the globe, making it crucial to process the data and analyze it to strengthen and maintain market position.
Knowing what the customers want—what problems they are facing with the current services, and how to provide them with the best deals, would not be possible without big data analysis,” Srikanth states.
Advanced analytics spurred on by big data often plays an essential role in understanding the customer usage pattern, their persona, their current and future needs for products and services.
With the help of accurate and advanced analytics, service providers can tailor their marketing campaigns, design new products, and services for different customer persona’s or segments in a much shorter time than their competitors in the following manner.
Improved Quality of Service
The only way we can improve the quality of customer service is through enhancing the customer experience while optimizing the supporting processes on a continuous and intelligent basis, this will help the company continuously build and retain a generation of loyal customers. In short, big data provides enormous sets of categorized data making it easier for decision-makers to create personalized experiences for customers.
Srikanth mentions that the best way to keep customers is through proactive breakdown and resolution of queries and advanced analytics. Using big data makes it possible for telecom companies to take it to the next step of pre-empting the customer’s need and providing the service automatically, through different channels such as chatbots, retail store agents, or contact center representatives.
“We can use these conversations and chats for identifying common issues, feedback, and employee training to better handle such queries. While also improving our products and services to meet customer expectations,” Srikanth explains.
Enhanced target marketing
Knowing what customers want and their behavioral patterns helps marketers create targeted marketing campaigns. For example, marketers can easily decide the data plans their customers would like—whether it is coming up with a free voice pack or an extended day limit for a pack or data packs with free nighttime data; these are things we can figure out easily with big data.
Similarly, knowing the purchasing behavior and customer demographics allows companies to provide their customers with the best deals to encourage them to continue the services.
It also makes it possible for companies to reach out to customers who have complained about a series of quality issues or problems, or those who have shared negative sentiments about the company on social media, to proactively address and resolve their concerns.
The telecommunication industry has vast amounts of data, which gives them an edge over other industries. As they use big data for gathering, understanding, and analyzing the data generated based on customer usage, these are crucial insights that come in handy while developing more suitable strategies to improve the ROI.
Almost 40 percent of leading companies worldwide have invested in Big data since 2012. As they understand the endless opportunities that can be carved from engaging and analyzing real-time big data. This is more lucrative than the orthodox assumption-based approach.
While giving an example of how data analytics can revamp businesses, Srikanth explains how he had used advanced customer analytics for the telecom client. “I revamped the customer analytics function to identify new parameters for customer churn, carried out price plan profitability analysis to identify price plans and products not contributing to the revenue and customer experience. Using advanced customer analytics and CRM. I identified the ‘repeat calling’ parameters and reasons, detailed analytics combined with business knowledge, to redesign the call center and customer experience, KPI’s and also help build an Omni-channel customer response model. This resulted in millions of dollars in savings to the company,” said the business consultant who has held leadership positions in leading firms in the United States and India.
Real-time Customer Analytics
Real-time data gives us insights based on real-time situations, big data can be used to choose the right tool for real-time analysis such as heat maps to monitor data congestion, giving service providers an idea of the peak data usage time.
This can allow network providers to increase or decrease their range of cell towers to meet the shifts in demand during peak hours. While at the same time prevent wastage of resources during the less busy hours, hence preserving the resources, as companies spend a lot of money to provide alternative solutions for network congestion.
Telecom companies also spend sizeable sums of money to maintain daunted cell towers in different locations. Using Big data enables managers and decision-makers to trace back data from various locations for years to come.
Similarly, telecom companies collect large amounts of user data like network usage, device, types of applications used, currency, preferences, and this data is invaluable not just for telecom providers but also other businesses seeking relevant customer insights. Therefore, telecommunication companies can also assist other organizations to aggregate this data for a price under terms and conditions that protect customer privacy.
Customer analytics using Big data, therefore, is a game-changer for Telecom providers. Many telecommunication companies are turning to big data analytics to drive strategic actions and offer a better customer experience. Even the slightest of change in an organization’s efficiency or smallest improvement in its savings can result in huge profits. This is why big data analytics is a crucial business tool for telecom companies these days.