3 Caveats to Calling the Right Customer

The technology world is abuzz with rumours of the new iPhone 5.  Not to mention the hoopla surrounding the court proceedings of Apple v. Samsung.  Which begs the question, with all this free publicity, are Telecommunication providers making the most of the opportunity to attract new customers and lock existing customers in to new contracts?

Many would say “yes”.  Think again.

One thing Telcos and many retail organisations do well, is creating innovative and opportunistic marketing campaigns, tapping into existing trends and using the publicity to attract new customers.  They’re also very good at identifying customers coming up to end of contract and pro-actively persuading them to re-sign for another few years.

But are they calling the right customers?

In a world driven by increased revenue targets and counter-active cost cutting, it’s not nearly as important to have the most customers than it is to have the most profitable customers.  In a perfect world we could make attractive offers to every individual, but the reality is marketing budgets dictate a finite number of offers can be made.  When it comes to knowing who to call, there are three caveats to consider:


 1.  What are they worth?

That’s easy, right?  Work out what they spent over the past contract period and assume that’s what they’ll spend in the next.  Wrong! 

Customer patterns change over time, even within the two years they may have been a customer.  Imagine two customers who have spent the same amount on a mobile phone plan over the past two years.  Except one of those customers spent more in the first six months when they were travelling internationally for work, and has since retired.  Whilst the other had an increase in spending in the past six months as their travel for work increased.  Which is likely to bring more revenue in the next contract period?

Fortunately, predictive analytics was designed to make the process of understanding the lifetime value of the customer a solvable problem, uncovering hidden trends and patterns in individual behaviours and extrapolating those into the future to understand their likely spend.


2.  What will they pay?

Why offer a free phone to every renewing customer, when some of them would be more than happy to pay for (at least some of) it?  The easiest way to execute a marketing campaign is with one offer for all.  The smartest way to execute a marketing campaign is to tailor the offer to the individual customer and their willingness to pay.

Using predictive analytics and scenario modelling techniques, we can find an optimum price at which a particular customer will re-sign.  And if we’ve already addressed Step 1, we know what the customer is worth and can model the combination of customer/product profitability.


3.  Who will they tell?

It goes without saying we’d rather invest attractive offers in customers that will tell all their friends, and influence them to switch from other carriers, than one who will keep the benefits to themselves.  This is perhaps the most difficult of the three to address, and is the newest member to the caveat list.

Social media analytics can help us to understand what our customers are saying about us in social media, and which of our customers are the most vocal and likely to become advocates for our brand.  With the help of big data technology, we can trawl through petabytes of tweets, blogs and posts to understand sentiment and influence amongst our customer and their social networks.

Somewhat more specialised to the world of telecommunications, network analytics can help us to derive insight from call logs such as who our customers talk to and their circle of influence.  Targeting those with influence over individuals who are currently signed with other carriers can give rise to indirect marketing possibilities that we may have otherwise missed.


With a wealth of information available both within the organisation and publicly accessible on websites and social media, there is no greater time in history to get to know your customer.  Just remember to caveat before you call and ask yourself:  What are they worth?  What will they pay?  Who will they tell?