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Study Highlights Potential $4.6 Billion Saving for Mobile Operators

‘Omni-channel’ approach to CRM brings huge benefits to the bottom line – up to 4.8 per cent OPEX saving

Research into future customer relationship management (CRM) trends has highlighted a potential saving of up to $4.6 billion to Western European mobile operators if streamlined ‘omni-channel' CRM systems are implemented.

Omni-channel means delivering a consistent, accurate service to customers whether they enquire in-store, online, over the phone, via email, social media or through an operator-branded self-help app. The purchasing channels become transparent, so for example a transaction could begin online and be completed in-store as part of a continuous process.

The research, conducted by Northstream and commissioned by AsiaInfo, looked to quantify the benefits and challenges of an omni-channel approach targeted at giving operators a single customer view (SCV) across all channels and internal functions.

The research found significant OPEX savings in customer service by avoiding duplication of work as well as the simplification of renewals and new customer acquisitions. Further savings were found to result from greater efficiency in marketing, sales and IT operations.

The detailed report has a particular focus on the impact of social media, recognizing its widespread use by both businesses and consumers as a simple means of interaction. The study found, however, that social media is often inefficient for customer care functions because the high volume of queries generated are typically being handled manually and not being automatically fulfilled and integrated into customer profiles.. The result is that operators do not maximize the potential benefits of social media engagement. Omni-channel CRM is able to rectify this inefficiency and provide increased value to both consumers and operators.

Northstream's research approach involved a series of case studies and expert interviews covering the telecom industry, as well as the retail and finance industries. The most common identified challenge is in how to implement the transformation. This was a particular issue for those businesses with disparate systems, derived over the years from mergers and acquisitions, or those with critical legacy systems, products and services that have been patched and protected rather than renewed and replaced.

The interviewed operators recognize that the current multi-channel approach to CRM is not only incomplete but contributes to a deteriorating customer experience. As the customer moves across the channels, the dialogue with the operator or service provider is too often discontinued.

"Ironically, we found that knowledge about customers at the service provider end is becoming more and more incomplete as the different channels are not sharing their respective customer data. For instance, a customer's online/self-service transactions or dialogue with a call center are often not visible to staff at the stores. One of the key benefits of multi-channels to service providers should be improved customer understanding and information, delivering an improved personalized experience," said Northstream's CEO, Bengt Nordström.

"The operators we interviewed all admitted that to improve customer satisfaction they need to improve seamless customer experience across all channels."

Dr Andy Tiller, vice president of product marketing at AsiaInfo, said: "The research highlights that as business models have moved from single to multi-channel customer interactions, a lot of complexity and manual processes have been added. Omni-channel is the answer to reduce that complexity and provide a streamlined process to deliver better CRM and significant savings to the business. However, this can only be fully achieved through a fundamental IT transformation to next generation CRM architectures that deliver the necessary flexibility."

To learn more about this research, visit www.asiainfo.com/omni-channel

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