Sweet Deal: Balancing Targeted Offers with Telco Risks

Just three days into his new job, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler called for more competition within the telecommunications sector, noting that effective competition has been what sets the U.S. apart from the rest of the world.. Of course, the telecommunications industry is already highly competitive, packed with companies looking to make their mark and take their share. By balancing targeted offers with risk assessment, you can entice customers without endangering your bottom line.

Communications service providers (CSPs) know best

CSPs are some of the best-informed types of businesses for customer intelligence. That’s because you can tell a lot about a person based on their communication. From travel to roaming, long distance services and high data usage, the type and frequency of a customer’s communication can help you define their needs. When you know what a customer wants from a communications company, you can then deliver timely, targeted offers that have the best chance of eliciting a high response rate. Use what you already know as a way to create personalized marketing efforts for more efficient campaigns.

Reliability vs. flexibility

The very nature of telecommunications competition has changed with emerging networks and better service. Just 10 years ago, customers chose CSPs based upon their ability to provide the widest range of service for reliable calls. Today, phones do so much more than calling, and networks are vast and inherently reliable. Therefore, instead of looking for a CSP based on the best range, customers are more interested in choice and features — a flexible contract, for instance. To be competitive, CSPs must entice new customers with more choice without putting the bottom line at risk.

Risky business

Of course, not every customer is stellar. Some pose risks when you’re too ambitious with offers and discounts. Managing these risks is a matter of information and intelligence. Equifax facilitates a National Telecommunications Data Exchange for CSPs, which allows the sharing of defaulted commercial account information as a way to aid in the risk assessment and prescreen processes. By creating your own filters and then categorizing best bets, you can easily segment existing customers based on past account history; you can then send out targeted offers in the hopes of netting new business or cross-selling services to your customer base.

Playing matchmaker

Don’t overlook a customer who is a prime prospect. Targeted offers are more about playing matchmaker — linking customers to an offer that works the best — rather than filtering out customers altogether. Consider this: A customer often has high overages and long-distance fees. By offering a better-suited plan and long-distance discounts, you not only help to recoup any future losses and defaults, but engender loyalty in a now-happy customer. By effectively matching the right customer to the right offer, you can create marketing tactics that are more efficient and help to secure your place among the CSP competition.

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