Telefónica Ecuador accelerates Digital Transformation, improves campaigns and achieves growth via intelligent decisioning powered by SAS.
In recent years, the mobile phone market has gone through difficult times and changes, most notably from the COVID-19 pandemic. As economic challenges and rising unemployment spread through Ecuador, many users canceled their postpaid mobile plans or greatly reduced their prepaid top-up expenses. As a result, the market contracted from 15.85 million registered subscribers in 2019 to 15.48 million in 2020.
Telefónica Ecuador, one of the country’s leading telecommunications companies, wanted to optimize the costs and results of its campaigns in an effort to multiply its income sources and increase the effectiveness of its commercial actions in the midst of the recession. That’s when the company turned to SAS.
César Bedoya, Chief Data Officer, Telefónica Ecuador, said: “The real-time campaigns deployed in 2020 brought incremental revenues to the company and helped us differentiate ourselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Campaigns run in real time today are four times more effective than the batch campaigns we ran in the past.”
Real-time customer solutions attract more prepaid mobile users
Think about how many changes a person’s behavior can undergo in a second:
- When you are in the middle of doing something and receive a phone call.
- When you are in a videoconference and the power goes out.
- When you are chatting on your mobile phone and unexpectedly run out of data.
How can a company create products and services – or design campaigns that consider these types of situations – and deliver immediate solutions to any change that could occur at a moment’s notice? That is precisely the power of advanced real-time analytics.
When it comes to change, the COVID-19 pandemic created a continuous and dramatic period of uncertainty where people, companies, industries and economic sectors were affected. This was particularly true for the telecommunications industry.
Suddenly, telecom operators needed to manage greater connectivity and communication capacities in residential areas instead of business centers, adapting their commercial and service packages to the new reality experienced by users. This led to an accelerated transformation, as operators worked to modernize their infrastructures, update strategies and adapt offerings to the new circumstances.
In some markets, the changes people made ended up affecting the general behavior of the entire telecommunications sector. As the pandemic spread, so did the economic crisis and job losses, which caused a reduction in the number of mobile subscribers.
Yet, during the turmoil, Telefónica Ecuador managed to increase its mobile subscribers by more than 5%, reaching one of the highest historical levels in the market where it operates through the Movistar (Otecel) and Tuenti brands. The company also was able to diversify some of its revenues and reduce several of its costs.
How did Telefónica Ecuador manage to grow during such turbulent circumstances? By identifying customers’ new needs and adapting its strategies and campaigns to meet them. The company implemented sophisticated segmentation, data visualization and advanced analytics solutions from SAS with embedded Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities.
Rafael Carrera Bustamante, Business Intelligence Architecture and Development Manager, Telefónica Ecuador, said: “SAS allows us to have an agile business infrastructure. Our solution is scalable, enables code reuse and supports the development of new use cases.”
The product must find the customer
“The mission of each person who works in this company is to make customers’ lives easier,” said Bedoya. “And this can only be done by being closer to them, knowing exactly what they need and when.”
Historically, prepaid segments represented a large percentage of the company’s total revenue in Ecuador, where well-designed campaigns were being carried out – but sometimes they were repeated and not personalized to a customer’s specific needs. General or traditional campaigns often are not the best strategy.
As customer behavior changes, companies must adapt accordingly.
“That’s where real-time analytical intelligence becomes valuable, because it allows us to identify and manage customer needs at the exact moment,” said Bedoya.
“This can show the ideal time to run a campaign and trigger a promotion, send a ‘happy birthday’ message or even just say hello. It may happen that the customer is already very well covered, and the only thing the operator needs to do is greet them or show them that we are there. This is very important because it is not always about selling or generating more income – many times what is required is simply to be there, to ensure availability and closeness to the customer.”
But what happens when a prepaid subscriber is talking on the phone and suddenly runs out of minutes? Or when someone is surfing the web and runs out of available data? These are instances where operators must be able to identify the specific need and be able to resolve the situation quickly for the customer.
“The prepaid mobile segment is quite unique – it requires being there at the exact moment when the user needs something,” explained Bedoya.
“It is often the case that a sense of opportunity – and even empathy – is lost when a customer no longer has a balance in their account. In this type of service, the challenge is to ensure that they do not run out of service at any time. We should be motivating them to recharge before they run out of service, but also, if they run out of minutes or data, they should have immediate access to recharge.”
Real-time interaction management is a rapidly growing area of marketing technology in recent years. Its application helps companies create a personalized experience, necessary to retain or improve customer experiences.
Telefónica Ecuador relies on SAS solutions to manage real-time campaigns associated with its prepaid business line customers to provide the right offer at the right time. This includes notification management from platforms that identify the consumption status of services purchased by customers.Click below to share this article