The evolution of sales channels and the attention to a digital and multichannel model constitute the base of the retail approach of European Telcos to be able to increase their profitability and guarantee their survival. That way is told by the research made by Business Consulting, the consultancy division of Indra, under the title “Quantum Retail: digitalization and multichannelization for Telcos’ sales channel and customer support strategies”.
In this document we analize the strategies that Telco companies must follow to face digital changes in the market and the new shopping dynamics of current customers with the goal of balancing the decrease of income generated by traditional mass consumption products
As the report notes, saturated Telco markets – as it is the case of Europe – nowadays face really complex challenges to guarantee their survival. The reduction of market potential by the high penetration rates, the customer migration to the new low cost operators, the decrease of voice traffic demand or the poor regulatory framework are some of the factors that are leaving their mark in the income statement of operators through important drops of EBITDA margins.
In this regard, the report echoes collected data from diverse studies that alert about the challenges of EBITDA which European operators are facing. It is estimated that between 2008 and 2012, European operators lost profitability of up to 12,000 million euros and the EBITDA margins are falling by three percent each year. Furthermore, new actors like Google and Microsoft are taking over 35% of Telco business.
To face these challenges and the new market requirements, Indra experts establish a new retail point of view of Telco in parallel to the Quantic Theory. It means that one has to evolve and exist in as lots of variations at the same time, so the limits between channels are reduced to the minimum to attract, delight, and at the end, turn visits into sales. In this regard, the Indra study advocates to include selective multichannel mechanics (online channel, call centers and monobrand shops) as well as a digitalization of stores capable of increasing customer satisfaction, sales and reduce total catchment costs in all the channel ecosystem. Likewise, the monobrand shop is key as the tip of the spear of these channel because it’s the most tangible pont for the user experience.
Customized customer support and joint incentive of channels
Among all the customer catchment recommendations that the report gathers, the “total” access inside the physical store and the possibility to give support in an individual manner are highlighted. And so, there are gathered actions such as the development of new channel forms: social networks, online chat or mobile applications that reward visits to the physical store, store showcases for 24/7 shopping, or virtual stores at the subway. It also includes introductory courses as examples for new generation mobile phone newbies, ad-hoc promotions in channels based on the customer data knowledge or digital discounts for visiting the store.
Likewise, the digital approach must extend to the sale and to customer support. Operators must work to remove barriers between channels, so a customer can consult or make a transaction on different channels without the need of starting from scratch on each of them, something that, according to the study, is currently still far from the truth. It’s also necessary a system and an adequate organization structure that accurately defines the positions, responsibilities, incentives and flow of information between channels (when a customer knows an offer from a phone call, he investigates the benefits on the Internet and buys in a physical store). The review of the operational processes and support tools is the key of this new vision.
Finally, experts establish a series of guidelines to remove the conflicts between channels and turn interactions with users into sales. This way, all channels must be incentivated, in a way that the local sales targets and customer support reflect the transfer of customers between channels and their conversion. Defining clear business rules between sales channels and support and the recruitment of salesmen depending on their abilities/experience that translate to empathy and connection with the customer, are some other capabilities that the new Telco retail approach requires.
Build over a solid base
The Indra study also advises that before evolving the sales channels and attention to a digital and multichannel approach (the Quantum challenge), it’s essential to make sure that there is a solid base on which to build over. It means that the capabilities of the channels must be reviewed in order to reinforce them with the goal of enduring the evolution to the new digital format and generating programs that that improve sales and attention. It’s also fundamental to develop a digital strategy, taking advantage of examples of good international practices adapted to the local reality of the operator to finally end with the implantation of the project plan that will direct the transformation, with the tools, executors, work teams and well defined milestones.
Indra is one of the main consultancy and technology multinationals of Europe and Latin America. Innovation is the base of its business and sustainability, having dedicated more than 550 million euros to research and development in the last three years, a number that puts it between the first European companies in their section by investment. With approximate sales of 3,000 million euros, near 60% of the the income comes from the international market. It has 42,000 professionals and customers in 128 countries.