Flexible Customer Contact and Big Data Combine to Give a Real Competitive Edge

Gary Barton
Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile operators are providing a strong example of how enterprises can better engage with customers using new contact media.
  • Mobile operators are also emerging as powerful providers of ‘big data’ solutions that can provide genuine business insights.

Knowing who your customers are, where they are, being able to contact them, and enhancing their ability to contact you, is acknowledged to be a crucial factor in running a competitive business in most verticals. In an increasingly mobile world it is perhaps not surprising that some of the most interesting innovation is being pioneered by mobile operators. For example, Telefonica has emerged as one of the leading telcos in taking advantage of ‘new’ channels of communication to engage with its customers and provides a strong example of how businesses of all sizes can tap into the use of social media. Telefonica’s operations in Germany and the UK have both made recent moves to enhance their social media presence. O2 Germany has now launched an official Facebook ‘shop’ designed to allow O2 employees both to sell its products and services and also to offer feedback and advice. As well as providing a cost effective medium for sales, it also provides a way for O2 to demonstrate how its own employees consume O2’s products and services. O2 is one of a host of companies that are seeking to prove that they ‘eat their own dog food’, and enterprises should expect real life demonstrations of services such as unified communications (UC) propositions as they seek to establish which solutions will best enhance their own working practices. O2 UK, meanwhile, has officially launched ‘#TweetServe’, a customer account service that allows customers to find out a range of information (e.g., usage data) without having to phone customer service. The twitter service provides automated responses based on keywords, as well as also providing a standard customer identification process. Both this and O2 Germany’s Facebook page (which is open Monday – Saturday, 08:00 – 22:00) provide a valuable extension to a businesses operating/trading hours without significantly increased staffing costs.

Aside from social media, another area that businesses can look to help from mobile operators is in using ‘big data’. Big data is one of the prevailing buzzwords of the moment, particularly amongst SIs. However, enterprises should also be aware how mobile operators are using analytical tools to support targeted business expansion. Operators such as O2 and EE are able to use their customer data to provide retailers and other customers with profiles of what type of people shop in what type of places. All data is anonymised, but mobile operators can give a picture of the age, gender and even home postcodes of shoppers in a given area at a given time. Thus, if a retailer, for example, is seeking to open a new store, then this information can provide valuable guidance as to which location may be most successful for a given brand. This information can also include data on mobile operating systems used in order to help prioritise mobile app development and mobile advertising campaigns. This is of course important to companies of all sizes, but may provide life and death information to a start-up retailer looking to open a second store.

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