The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things, including how and where we connect. As workforces went remote, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and e-learning platforms boomed. And as customers shifted to online shopping, telecom operators were faced with unprecedented demand.
In the blink of an eye, the entire world seemed to go digital. Now, as we take stock of the new landscape, we need to ask, what’s changed for telecom operators? What does the connected telco consumer expect in the new climate?
According to our Capgemini COVID-19 report, only 48% of consumers feel that their connectivity needs are currently being met. With fewer than half of consumers satisfied with their experience, it’s clear that telecom providers need to evolve to better serve their customers. In an age where digitally mature companies have been much better positioned to pivot – and where the gulf between technological ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is threatening to grow even further – how can companies with a strong dependence on physical channels evolve to keep up with their customers?
To find out, we spoke with Bastien Durand, EMEA Communications Business Dev Lead for Salesforce, and with Aurélie Lesouëf, one of the Inventive Telecoms Leads at Capgemini.
How is digital transformation in telco driving change?
Digital pioneers like Netflix and Uber have transformed the customer experience, and heightened consumer expectations are a hallmark of the New Normal.
“Telcos today need to catch up as customers are more and more demanding, seeking flexibility, transparency, simplicity. They want to be in the driving seat and be able to start, pause, change whenever they feel like it.” – AURÉLIE LESOUËF
Giving customers more control of their experience is a good way to start winning them over and retaining them in the long-term; businesses are increasingly going high-tech to do it.
“Telcos are very driven by technology and innovation,” Lesouëf says. “Telcos need to keep investing to keep up with new technological trends. We will see 5G, new business models, new customer experiences, new employee experiences – this is all driving transformation. All of this needs to be nurtured and planned for, while there is an expectation for telcos to accelerate.”
Telecom Operators need to innovate in a post-pandemic world
“There has been a trend towards moving to digital channels for a long-time now, with app and social-based experiences gradually increasing” Lesouëf states. “COVID has only been accelerating this trend, seriously rebalancing the weight of digital channels usage, in terms of both e-commerce & self-care needs. More than ever Telcos are expected to support their customers end to end on digital channels, during their entire lifecycle.”
If the digital imperative had arrived before COVID, the pandemic has sent so many people online that there’s clearly no going back. Telcos that can’t engage on digital channels aren’t just standing still — they’re moving backwards.
Telecom operators should not forget about digital enablement though. They have a duty to support the adoption of their digital channels. Digital should not be reserved for digital-savvy populations.
“Telcos need to make sure the customer experience is simple and pedagogical enough that people will be guided throughout their journey. Whether it be through voice assistance, through bots — technology needs to support digital empowerment.” – AURÉLIE LESOUËF
This mix of digitalisation and humanisation Lesouëf is describing has clearly become a beacon for businesses trying to navigate the fog of the current climate and connect in meaningful ways.
Capgemini & Salesforce can provide dedicated solutions to support the telco industry
“Together with Salesforce, Capgemini has defined an end-to-end value proposal to support telcos in transforming and adapting according to these expectations,” Lesouëf says.
“We can quickly execute our vision of transformation jointly with our customers. We’re able to have a first MVP on the market within a few months so that businesses can quickly see the benefits of their transformations.” – AURÉLIE LESOUËF
This ability to execute quickly is invaluable in the current climate, where speed and agility are prized. “We have a shared vision about how tomorrow’s operators should drive transformation, both internally and externally. We have the right accelerators to enable this shift and can fully leverage our past and ongoing experiences globally. We’re confident that we have the right recipe to support telcos with their transformations.”
Today’s telecoms are ready for their digital close-up
Many businesses have already seen huge benefits from leveraging this partnership to drive transformation.
Orange Poland turned to Capgemini and Salesforce to create their digital offering Flex, which takes the customer-friendly Revolut and Netflix model built on choice, simplicity, and freedom, and then takes it to the next level. Flex customers can transfer data balances and add streaming passes, as well as sign up for the service simply by taking a photo of their ID and a selfie – becoming a customer with an e-sim device in less than two minutes. Flex is also contract-, bill- and shop-free. Watch the Dreamforce video to find out more about Orange Flex or go to the Salesforce Industries Summit where Orange Flex was showcased under “Mobile Experiences”.
Meanwhile, Moroccan telco Inwi turned to Capgemini and Salesforce to create ‘win’, a disruptive, 100% digital mobile experience, meant for millennials & digital-savvy customers. In line with today’s expectations, win puts the customers in control of their experience, from configuring offers and ordering sims to engaging with 24/7 chatbots. In essence, Inwi’s win is enabling customers to become their own providers. It’s a bold step forward for telecom and a sign of things to come. Replay the recent webinar Capgemini has conducted with Salesforce and Inwi on their transformational journey.
“Digital Telcos such as Orange Flex and Win by Inwi have paved the way for the new normal with digital-only channels.” AURÉLIE LESOUËF
“It’s no surprise they have been able to fully leverage their digital channels to carry on with business despite Covid” Lesouef continues. “This was visionary — and this is exactly the ambition we have for our customers, anticipate and be ready for what will come next. Following that logic, Capgemini B2C Digital Telco Observatory in partnership with Salesforce highlights the key digital trends that we expect to reshape the telco business.”
What’s next for telcos?
According to Bastien Durand, EMEA Communications Business Dev Lead for Salesforce, “Customer expectations are higher than ever. They’re a new kind and have new traits. They want Uber or Spotify-like experiences, which are very far from what most telcos are delivering right now.”
Many telcos are facing overwhelming network investment — while being constrained by IT legacies — by heavy debt and shrinking profits. The challenges are real but so are the opportunities.
“We’re seeing a set of circumstances that are offering an unprecedented opportunity for telcos to grow a business with multiservices, with 5G, etc. But to truly harvest that potential, the telco player needs to transform now, the clock is ticking” Durand explains.
“It’s about leveraging analytics to outsmart competition, about shaping new eco-systems, and reinventing the customer experience.” – BASTIEN DURAND
The idea of reinvention is what will drive many telcos towards technological transformation, but like Aurélie Lesouëf, Bastien Durand also says that telco players shouldn’t forget the human element — and the importance of connecting during crisis. “The whole of connectivity has never been more important than right now. This is bringing a sense of purpose to telcos and their employees.”
As telcos push forward in the New Normal, into the world of 5G and beyond, they’ll keep reimagining the customer experience, and keep connecting those customers with what matters most – each other.
This is a re-publication of a blog originally published on Salesforce.com
This blog features:
Aurélie Lesouëf, Inventive Telecoms Leader, Capgemini Invent
Bastien Durand, Communication & Media Business Development Lead, EMEA, Salesforce
To learn more about how the Telecom industry is transforming, request our Capgemini and Salesforce Digital Operator Observatory B2C report here.
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