Customer Experience Management in Telecoms (Asia)

I’ve just returned from a week in Singapore, attending, speaking and chairing at the ‘Customer Experience Management in Telecoms’ conference. A great week, and hugely exciting to see the level of maturity that is being applied to the issue of CEM by mobile operators looking to build profitability not through mass customer land-grabs but through a more sustainable approach to loyalty.

Here’s a pick of some of the most interesting talk-points 


DIGI Malaysia

Is churn contagious? Malaysian mobile operator believes so. Its average probability of churn for post-paid customer is 3.9%. However, if you network in a community of churned subscribers your probability of churn increases to 12.7%. For prepaid customers, the average was 7%, probability went up to 14% if your community had churned.

DIGI also investigated the notion of ‘centrality’, ie: how influential a personal is / how connected to others. Research found that those influencers with a high degree of centrality, influenced the behavior of those connected to them. When they churned, members of their network churned in the subsequent two months. DIGI now actively runs influencer marketing programs to identify and manage these subscribers.

“Social influence reaches three degrees. You will influence your friends, friend’s friends and friend’s, friends’ friends.”

“Influencers deliver more value –they are less likely to churn. However the link between ‘centrality’ and ARPU link is weak.”

Suresh Ramasamy, Technology Strategist / Futurist, DIGI Malaysia

SingTel, Singapore

“Customer Experience initiatives at SingTel include empowering our people with the right knowledge to build confidence in our products and services.”

“We want to provide tools to our employees to help them think like customers”.

“Base your customer experience on your key value.  At SingTel this value is ‘Joy’. We then design experiences at each touch-point based on delivering this value; this includes a cultural change across employees. At Optus (a SingTel network in Australia, the value is Me / We; the idea being to improve cross-function collaboration in the company, to get back that alignment to the customer.

Michael Seng, Manager, Group Center of Excellence – Customer Experience, SingTel


Dialog Axiata , Sri Lanka

“Our Customer Services Representatives are the most informed people we have in the business for customer insight and what’s really going. Traditionally they have never had a voice to share this knowledge but we [Dialog Axiata] now involve them in customer experience design. Engaging employees is key to building passion, commitment and alignment.”

Kapil Sharma, General Manager, Group Service Delivery Management, Dialog Axiata 


Aircel, India

“Satisfaction occurs immediately during an interaction. Experience is something that develops when the customer goes home and out of your [the carrier’s] sight.”

“C-SAT trends could not be correlated to customer loyalty, acquisition and revenue.”

“C-SAT suffers from a lack of cross-functional ownership. It generally remains a KPI of customer service.”

“79% of our customer interactions now occur through automated channels like IVR, web etc, so it’s important to measure the experience at each of those channels.”

“AHT has no place at Aircel – we measure total ‘service time per unique caller’ per month.”

Sachin Kumar Das, Head of Customer Experience Management, Aircel, India


CSL, Hong Kong

In an effort to improve the customer experience, Hong Kong mobile operator CSL has implemented an ‘Immersion Program’. This is designed to help business leaders within the operator empathize with consumers and the brand promise that they have set. This manifests itself in activities such as Support immersion, having executives spend time answering calls in the contact center. Of the 60 or so participants in the program, each must listen to (and assess) at least two complaints per month. Other activities include having executives work in retail stores, spending time talking (and selling) to consumers.

The program was implemented to a) build a sense of ‘customer ownership’ among leaders in the business and to b) remove the disconnect that often occurs between strategy (as directed by management) and front line / touch point employees.

With customer experience management requiring ownership and sponsorship at the most senior level of the mobile operator, I like this approach. I’d be very interested to hear of any more organizations that run such programs.


PT XL Axiata, Indonesia

Probably the toughest market in the world!

  • ARPU <$5
  • 98% Prepaid
  • High churn, double digit per month
  • No device subsidies – so no lock-in
  • Selling 10m SIMs per month

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