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Moving from personalization to individualization – Why Telcos Need to Move to a Segment of One

 
February 17, 2017

Its the case in every business: we must better understand the behavior and needs of our customers to provide the right product at the right time. Thats the only sustainable path to customer satisfaction and profits.

As we enter the age of the distinct, conversant and empowered customer, its clear that the road to retention and competitive edge is paved with ever growing personalization. Over the past decade, marketers have become proficient in using customer data to segment and target for personalized recommendations, offers and messages to increase conversion rates, sales and customer loyalty. These 1:1 real time personalization efforts differ from the traditional personalization as they expand the purview of the application of the customer data beyond offers and messages to include content, interactions, needs and behaviors of individual customers rather than only segments. The segments provide only a piece of the picture but even when they come close to the full definition of who the customer is, the result is usually in groups of customers. And with the rapidly changing customer interests in todays environment, more often than not these segments describe who your customer was & not who your customer is. The moment of connection with the customer is lost due to dated information.

Today the value lies in knowing in real-time who your customer is in that moment, as they interact with your brand. And by who it does not really mean only their demographics or psychographics segments but also their past behaviors, interactions, transactions, needs and behaviors, all of which tell something about their capacity and propensity to buy, as well as their interest in any product. Forrester calls this new class of experiences individualized experiences and defines them as: Experiences that use customer data to structure interaction, functionality, and content around the needs of individual customers.

Today telcos are able to collect real-time customer data like usage details, location, financial transactions and social media activities through different channels for more informed decisions. And, with such real time strategy for individualization they can develop the capability to analyze large amounts of relevant customer-data in real-time with in-memory analytics to predict the most relevant product offerings and deliver excellent experiences.

Individualized customer insights are more intimate and to deliver those experiences, telcos need to break down data silos, integrate all the touchpoints, analyze all the data and then act on those insights, delivering more relevant and timely interactions that give customers what they want. But despite its broad application potential, marketers have been slow to use this technology for additional decision management apart from offer recommendations and generic targeting. Because of this, we still consider these efforts to be an advanced form of mass personalization rather than individualization.

Telcos should not waste their time and resources mastering the old mass personalization techniques. To maintain their competitive edge, they should create interactions that are relevant and valuable to their customers. As suggested by Forbes When the customer, brand and marketer are aligned, the customer experience is optimized, and you can move far beyond mere personalization to true individualization.

Siddhartha is Product Manager of Customer Intelligence & Insights for Communications at TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group, a next generation analytical solution for telcos to help them deliver superior experience, improve their wallet share and increase cost savings through operational efficiency. Embracing the core values of innovation, learning and growth, he has driven complex business intelligence solutions & consultation programs successfully across varied domains and industries including banking and financial services, healthcare, retail and telecommunications. Prior to joining TCS, he had extensive exposure on offerings for revenue assurance and fraud management solutions with clients in telecommunications to reduce the impact of revenue leakages on their profitability.