Over the past few years, the telecommunications industry has changed profoundly as a result of the emergence of certain marketing trends that we are still confronted with today.
Telcos, companies that provide connectivity services, both fixed and mobile, and organizations that operate news and entertainment channels, have learned to use new technologies to improve the customer experience, to increase business resilience, and to specify their value propositions. To continue to do so, they have gradually adapted to market trends that are pushing toward restructuring offer models and integrating digital tools—first and foremost CRM—into customer care processes. The Telecom industry trends that we will discuss in this post are proving successful because they focus on putting value on innovations, not only technological innovations but also organizational, methodological, and cultural innovations, to achieve improved engagement and customer satisfaction.
Before describing the trends that are reshaping the telecommunications industry in 2023, we will explain the impact of digital transformation on the business proposals of Telco companies.
CRM offering and customer care: the data revolution
In the transition from traditional marketing to new methods made possible by digitization, telecommunications companies have adapted their strategies to remain relevant and meet the changing needs of consumers. This means, for example, that they have completely revised their offer model, rooting it in a dimension of greater information richness that finds its main engine in CRM.
The contemporary offering model includes much more than just a single product or service. It includes the extra value a company adds to its products by focusing on levers such as convenience, quality, and support. Customers may prioritize these elements differently, so it’s important to offer a wide range of features and benefits to attract the greatest number of them. Today, to structure their offerings, companies—and not only Telcos—must select and implement elements in line with the needs and desires of the target market. Only in this way can they generate interest, increase sales, and promote brand loyalty. Therefore, in developing an offering, it’s critical to identify the features and functionality that are most important for the demand to be met. In other words: knowing what customers value and what they need can help a company develop truly useful products and services.
To develop business proposals that are actually relevant to different target segments, telco companies must gain a deep and “granular” knowledge of their audiences. They must first consider incorporating different types of data, from multiple sources: from customer surveys, to overviews of comments and interactions, from focus groups to market trends. The starting point for this process of growing the knowledge base is the information contained and organized in CRMs.
The operation of services aimed at directly enhancing the quality of the customer experience—customer care, first and foremost—are strongly influenced by this new data management approach: from onboarding to billing processes, having access to a complete and accurate view of each user’s preferences, usage habits, and needs enables companies to create targeted and effective loyalty initiatives.
Key trends in the telecom industry
The trends we will discuss, which arise from the convergence of marketing strategies and cutting-edge technologies, create personalized, fluid, and engaging experiences. In an environment of increasing competition, where customer expectations are constantly evolving, telecommunications companies cannot miss the opportunity to take full advantage of their transformative potential.
1. Empowerment and self-service through automation, AI, and ML
According to Gartner, 70% of workers regularly interact with digital platforms powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications. If chatbots and virtual assistants improve the customer experience, artificial intelligence and machine learning enable more effective and efficient analysis of customer data, help identify recurring patterns, and allow companies to intervene early to resolve critical issues and offer additional services. The information gathered can also be used to improve self-service options, proactively solve problems, and provide personalized recommendations.
Through automation, Telco customers have instant access to 24/7 customer service. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to process giant streams of data and use the results to identify customer preferences and recommend the products and services that are more likely to meet their needs.
2. The conversational experience of next-generation chatbots
At the intersection of automation, AI, and ML, we find chatbots, which are increasingly being used to handle troubleshooting requests and complete support tickets. Using natural language processing (NLP) programs, chatbots can even understand customer questions and provide relevant answers, reducing pressure on human operators in live channels and improving response times. The key point is that customers today are no longer satisfied with pre-recorded answers from automated call centers. Instead, they expect a true conversational experience, highly personalized and segmented, tailored with respect to their specific needs and preferences.
Gradually, the line between interactions guided by live operators and chatbots will become increasingly blurred, and users will no longer need offline interactions (such as phone calls or in-person meetings in stores), except in the case of particularly complex issues. The exponential increase in data points will also incrementally improve chatbot functionality, ease of navigation, and consequently the overall customer experience. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2024, 40% of enterprise applications will have some form of integrated conversational AI. And Juniper Research indicates that chatbots will save up to $11 billion by the end of 2023.
3. Customer centricity: the long wave of personalization
Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices have changed the way people communicate. Social media, instant messaging chats, video calls—the alternatives for staying in touch have multiplied. With so many different communication channels available, it can be difficult for companies to keep up with changes in consumer behavior. That’s where personalization and segmentation come into play. If segmentation is the partitioning of audiences into groups based on shared characteristics, personalization is a further refinement of this same process, as it enriches content and experiences targeted at individual customers with timely insights. We can see both strategies at work within social media marketing and in the use of data to design increasingly profiled campaigns.
Social media platforms offer companies a way to connect with customers on a more personal level.
They empower brands to identify their customers’ priorities by “listening” to their voices as they emerge from “social” spaces.
By leveraging data analytics, companies can learn about usage patterns, preferences, and demographics, can gain valuable insights into needs and behaviors, and can use this information to create one-to-one marketing campaigns that are tailored to specific needs, offers, and recommendations, resulting in improved overall customer experience.
The need for personalization and segmentation is a Telco trend that shows no signs of slowing down; it’s a long wave that will continue to widen. More and more companies in the industry are incorporating it into their strategies because it allows them to optimize customer experience solutions, and gain a competitive advantage over lagging competitors, those who have not yet abandoned typically broadcasting modes.
4. Omnichannel strategy: relevant and contextual interactions across all touch points
To meet the expectations of customers who primarily seek seamless, fluid experiences in both physical and virtual locations (store, website, mobile app, social media platforms), digital innovation has produced new channels—smartphones, smart kiosks, smart TVs, wearables, chatbots, social media, to name a few.
Telecommunications companies have been particularly active and forward-looking in this context that is so rich in connection possibilities from the outset.
Once they have defined the distinctive characteristics of their target audiences and understood how users interact along the way, they can focus on creating the conditions necessary for them to reach their goals securely, quickly, and with as few steps as possible. Put another way, Telcos are redesigning their short- and long-term system architecture to provide hyper-personalized omnichannel experiences that are also consistent throughout the customer’s journey. By integrating customer data and using technologies such as AI and ML, they can thus provide relevant and contextual interactions across all manned touch points.
5. The introduction of 5G networks: we will be increasingly connected and integrated
The introduction of 5G networks, the next generation of wireless networks, has opened up new ways to innovate the customer experience in the telecommunications industry. 5G enables faster, more reliable connections and supports immersive experiences such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Telecommunications companies can leverage 5G capabilities to offer high-quality video streaming, real-time gaming, and seamless communication services. In addition, IoT device integration paves the way for an increasingly connected and integrated customer experience, from smart home solutions to connected vehicle services to advanced wearable devices. 5G also offers the benefits of lower latency time: customers will no longer have to worry about interrupted calls or low upload speed. With lower latency, their telecom provider will offer nearly instantaneous responses.
The telecommunications market trends we have indicated so far are making a profound impact that we will most likely only fully realize in the near future. In the meantime, however, we can draw some conclusions: the change is particularly evident both in the increased resilience gained by the entire industry and in the new meaning given by Telcos to their value proposition.
The boost to business resilience in the Telco sector
Telecommunications companies operate in a fast-paced and highly competitive environment in which technological advances, changes in the regulatory environment and customer demands are constantly evolving. To thrive in such conditions, they must be able to equip themselves to withstand external influences, socioeconomic shocks, and unforeseen events. Simply put, Telcos must demonstrate resilience; they must implement strategies that enable them to adapt to change, maintain service continuity, and preserve financial stability. Robust infrastructure and network redundancy make it possible to withstand natural disasters, equipment failures, and cyber threats.
By diversifying their network resources and implementing disaster recovery plans, telecom companies can minimize service disruptions and ensure uninterrupted communication services.
In order to prove resilient, telecom companies must focus on innovation and agility, that is, they must strive to stay abreast of emerging technologies, customer preferences, and market trends.
How the value proposition is changing in the telecommunications market
The value proposition in the telecommunications industry refers to the unique combination of products, services, and benefits that a provider offers its customers that allows it to differentiate itself from competitors. Telecommunications companies strive to offer exceptional value to customers through various means: from providing reliable, high-quality network coverage that ensures uninterrupted connectivity and efficient data transmission, to a wide range of tailored services (voice calls, messaging, Internet connectivity, and entertainment options, such as streaming services and digital content). In particular, telecom service providers will increasingly need to emphasize personalization and high quality standards in customer care if they hope to increase their customers’ satisfaction. Both the introduction of advanced technological solutions—from perfectly responsive interfaces to intuitive apps to responsive service channels—and the development of data-driven business propositions—offerings of tailored plans and flexible payment options—further strengthen the value proposition.
In summary, the value proposition in telecommunications revolves around providing reliable connectivity, a full range of services, personalized experiences, and excellent customer service. The set of Telco trends we have reported implement exactly these principles.
Enhancing telecom industry trends to create more engaging customer experiences
In this post, we have seen that telecommunications companies have now widely recognized the importance of personalized experiences.
We talked about how investment in digital self-service portals, mobile apps, and chatbots has streamlined the customer service and communication channel system and provided customers with innovative, convenient, and efficient ways to address any obstacles along their purchase and consumer journey.
The reference to technological evolution cannot be missed: while telecommunications providers have made tremendous progress in making network services more reliable, and the introduction of digital tools has reduced wait times, improved problem resolution, and enabled greater control over the management of brand interactions. At the same time, proactive initiatives, such as notifications and personalized updates, have helped build trust and foster stronger relationships.
We can then conclude that by enhancing current trends in the telecommunications market, Telcos can significantly improve customer engagement and satisfaction.