HomeDigital Platforms & APIsTelcos' concerns about using customers' data for personalisation costs them millions

    Telcos’ concerns about using customers’ data for personalisation costs them millions


    A report just published by Intent HQ in partnership with Mobile Europe compares the views of operators with those of consumers on privacy, personalisation and more.

    Watch Talking Telecoms today at 2pm to learn more, with Sharifah Amirah, Chief Client Officer at Intent HQ and Simon Blanchard, Partner at Data Protection Network Associates, in conversation with Annie Turner, Editor, Mobile Europe.

    Telcos have more customer data than any other industry, yet a new report, Telcos, personalization and the missing millions, found that they are financially disadvantaging themselves due to the disconnect between how well they think they are doing regarding personalisation and what consumers think and want.

    Some 80% of operators feel they are doing a good job of personalising customers’ experience, but only 40% of consumers agree – despite the fact the two parties are in complete agreement about the value of personalisation. In short, customers want more offers and information that are relevant to them as individuals.

    “One of the most striking findings was the huge perception gap because whilst operators may think they are doing a great job at personalisation, just half as many consumers agree and ultimately, it’s the customer’s opinion that matters,” says Sharifah Amirah, Chief Client Officer at Intent HQ (pictured).

    At the same time, they also want more options and transparency concerning choices about consent, and to feel confident that compliance with their privacy choices and regulation are inherent in all interactions with their comms service providers.

    Personalisation is patchy

    Operators’s adoption of personalisation measures is patchy: the survey found that 46% of telcos do not even use the customer’s name in correspondence, which is probably due to the technical diffulties of doing so, such as siloed data. Instead, many rely on mass marketing ploys – which tend to make the customer feel is for the operator’s benefit rather than theirs – and 58% do not go beyond the most basic level of personalisation.  

    While consumers do not seem too upset about their names not being used in all correspondence, 48% want them to understand and use their preferred communication channel while 45% say they only want to receive relevant offers and information.
    Privacy and trust are major concerns
    The survey found that trust is by far operators’ biggest concern regarding customers’ data for the purposes of personalisation, and 47% of consumers expressed concerns about their operators’ ability to protect their privacy while 31% of consumers want greater transparency about their operators’ data collection and storage practices. 

    Despite this, 73% of consumers said they would be happy to grant operators some degree of consent to use the data held about them specifically for personalising offers, marketing, and customer service purposes. 

    Blinded by compliance

    Such is operators’ preoccupation with regulatory compliance around data privacy when engaging with customers, they are losing out on many millions of new revenues – compliance trumps commercial interests and innovation. For example, a McKinsey study found that across industry sectors, companies that do personalisation well generate 40% more revenues than the average, while Bain & Company notes, “Customers don’t need to be persuaded about the value of personalization and other aspects of the customer experience. If anything, brands may need to catch up with customer expectations”. 

    More than a fifth of operator respondents (23%) admit a lack of technology and data infrastructure are holding back their personalisation efforts while 42% are struggling with the concepts of data privacy, security, and auditability. Almost a third of operators say they are held back by a lack of knowledge over how to extract value from the data.

    Simon Blanchard, Partner at Data Protection Network Associates, notes, “The study indicates some telcos are a little cautious and could do a lot more to optimise customer touchpoints for informed consent – not just ask them at the very start of the relationship.

    “Customers really value choice and transparency. Focus on the value exchange and be sure to communicate the benefits clearly. This is the best way for telcos to build trust and gain consent if they want to drive upsell, cross-sell, and lifetime value.”

    Download the report from here.