Myth of the ‘Customer’ God

With a billion people, Indian market is a lucrative proposition for business. A BILLION seems a lot. But under the hood, remains the hypercompetitive economy where even now approximately 70% people live under $2/day income.

In such a condition, would operators really care about their own existence or would they care about managing customer’s experience? Official answer is ‘Customer comes first’, unofficially, ‘save thy skin’. If a customer care centre is called by a consumer roughly 5 times in a month, the ARPU value goes flying out of the window. So the obvious choice is customer differentiation, the good term of which is ‘segmentation’. Now if You segment, You serve only the top priority customers, while the masses lay amass- lol, You have the Important Gods and the no-so-important Gods.

It is absolutely possible to manage experience, when the business is sustainable, but I am not sure of the practicality of the same in economies like India and Africa et al. Hence just for the sake of business sustainability, is it not more important for the operators playing in such markets to concentrate more on survival strategies? This brings me to asking, what is more important for operators and hence companies at large- is it not safe-guarding investments and returns on investments- at all quarters and corners of business? Or would You invest to ‘serve’ customers’ experiences while You bleed white?. The following question that keeps coming up then is – should the activity of business stabilization not be in scope of the motherhood term called ‘revenue assurance’?

Moinak Banerjee
Moinak works at Protiviti Kuwait, as Product Lead for their Risk Technology Services. Over the years, he has worked in product management for several leading vendors of telecom OSS/BSS software.
  • Moinak (alias, Maverick),

    After centuries of sorting out the demands of Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu, and 330 million other deities in your culture, appeasing the diametrically opposed Gods of Customer Experience and Business Survival shouldn’t be too hard a task after all. . . :- )

    Kidding aside, I just read your first two posts and they are excellent, thought provoking . And to think you just got started!

    Getting to your point. I attended a very interesting session at the TM Forum event in Dublin given by Flavio Lang, the Customer Relationship Planning General Manager at Oi.

    Oi is Brazil’s largest telco – and a savvy one at that. It strikes me that the Oi example should be a good one for Indian operators because Brazil is a highly populated country with a wide disparity between rich and poor.

    Oi has 40 million mobile subscribers and 20 million fixed and 4.5 million broadband subs. And out of those numbers, Oi has carved out a Platinum segment of customers equal to 7% of its customer base. And these customers represent 40% of gross margin.

    In addition, Oi identified 10,000 VIPs in its customer base who it has singled out for better treatment. And prominent in this list are influential media people [presumably including that telecom industry gadfly, Eric Priezkalns].

    To give you an idea on support costs, Oi has about 25,000 customer care seats.

    So lots of good numbers and customer support ideas were presented in Lang’s presentation. So get yourself a copy from TMF.

    Look forward to your future posts. Glad to see this Maverick was unleashed.