Listen when the customer calls | india | Hindustan Times
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Listen when the customer calls

With multiple telcos per circle, bleeding tariffs and newer weapons of marketing, the mobile telecom battleground is at its most challenging. The ARPU margins from voice have decreased exponentially. There has been a radical shift of power from the hands of telcos to that of customers. MA Madhusudan writes.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2011 21:08 IST

With multiple telcos per circle, bleeding tariffs and newer weapons of marketing, the mobile telecom battleground is at its most challenging. The ARPU margins from voice have decreased exponentially. There has been a radical shift of power from the hands of telcos to that of customers.

Today, mobile telephony is no longer a premium service, rather more of a commodity. There is no differentiation in pricing and services. The overall telecom experience is, therefore, the key differentiator amongst operators.

Surveys have revealed that over 75% of mobile service subscribers are dissatisfied with their existing service providers; they have stayed on because they wanted to retain their numbers. With mobile number portability possible now, the dynamics of the telecom industry are expected to change.

With the advent of digital media and more power in the hands of the consumers in general, making customer care important has become essential for operators. People often forget low tariffs or extraordinary services, but they never forget a good or a bad experience. Customer care service hence has a direct influence on the propensity to buy, advocate, complain or churn.

According to a recent Nielsen study, Mobile Consumer Insights, close to 18% Indian mobile phone subscribers would want to change their mobile operator with MNP. Of the 12,500 mobile subscribers reviewed, 58% were dissatisfied with customer service experiences.

The next battle in the telecom industry will be fought on the customer care service platform. And the next stage of customer care will be self-service. Globally, there has been increased attention on self-care, driven in large part by cost advantages and the need to put customers in control at their convenience.

Self-service will enable service providers to not only reduce the cost of interaction but also collect more customer information for personalised services.

In the Telecom Asia-Stratecast survey of operators across the Asia-Pacific region, over 60% (a jump by 10% over last year) of respondents indicated that customer care/self-care and customer experience management are very important.

In future, service providers that focus on giving customers a unique brand experience across the life-cycle of their relationship, will emerge as the operators of choice. Just the way it is in any service industry where customer is king, the time has come to put the customers first, and to listen to them.

The writer is CEO,
Virgin Mobile India