Telstra calls on SAS to keep customers engaged

The telecommunications sector is highly competitive, and with unhappy customers more able to switch between providers, ensuring customer loyalty is a key challenge.

Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra, says putting customers at the heart of what it does is its No.1 priority. This involves better understanding their needs so it can develop the products and services they want.

Liz Moore, Telstra’s Director of Research Insights and Analytics, says being able to innovate more rapidly is crucial for this process. “We now have to be able to generate insights at ‘the speed of now’,” she says. “What took us six to eight weeks in the past now needs to be developed and delivered to business in days rather than months.”

NPS brings Telstra closer to customers

Telstra works closely with SAS to analyze data and produce metrics that create a more comprehensive understanding of each customer household and how they feel about Telstra. To do this it produces a Net Promoter Score (NPS) for each customer.

The NPS is the flagship metric used throughout Telstra to gauge customer engagement efforts and effectiveness of marketing activities and services. It looks at customer value, the products customers have, and their likelihood of leaving Telstra. This allows Telstra to have richer one-to-one conversations with individual households.

“We want every interaction that our customer has with us to be better than the last one,” Moore says. “All targets are focused around ensuring we continually improve our approach to customers as measured through the NPS.”

Moore adds that a key goal was to tailor individual experiences for customers. “Each year we collect around 30,000 strategic NPS surveys – but the challenge was how to impute strategic NPS for the customers we hadn’t surveyed and be able to drive crafted responses and individual offers.”

SAS has not only helped us to understand what we have and where we could go, but it has also made suggestions about how we can integrate new thinking into what we’re doing to drive better value.

Liz Moore
Director of Research Insights and Analytics

SAS rises to continuous improvement challenge

Part of this challenge required taking the analytics techniques Telstra uses to predict churn and cross-sell opportunities and tailoring them for use in a service program. While many told Telstra this was an impossible task, SAS proved otherwise. Its software was used to develop an analytics program that lets Telstra understand at a granular level what’s going on for each customer and what Telstra can do to ensure each interaction continues to improve.

Now, on any one day, every one of Telstra’s 9 million customers receives their own imputed NPS score. “This is great for our customers as we can now tailor individual communications to each of them based on how they’re experiencing Telstra at any one point in time,” Moore says.

And SAS continues to be the analytics platform that underpins what it does in this area. “We support over 400 analysts across the business who use SAS to drive insights into a whole range of activities from predictive modelling for marketing purposes through to our credit scoring,” she adds.

Greater insights drive successful campaigns

One of its successful marketing efforts was the “Thanks a Million” campaign, where each of its 45,000 employees called Telstra customers to thank them for their loyalty. More than 3 million customers were called within a three-month period.

The success of this program led to the development of the “Check-In” initiative, where customers, including small businesses, were invited to contact sales channels to review whether their products and services were the right ones for them. The analytics team had to ensure data on every customer’s product and service usage was on-tap to support these conversations, Moore said.

“These channels were able to have much richer conversations,” she says. “Over a 12-month period, around 9 million contacts were made with customers as part of the Check-In campaign.”

Moore says Telstra’s ability to analyze vast amounts of data continues to improve. “SAS has not only helped us to understand what we have and where we could go, but it has also made suggestions about how we can integrate new thinking to drive better value. While SAS is our valued technology partner, it is also our innovation partner.”

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  • Provide tailored, individual experiences for each of its 9 million customers.



  • Telstra understands at a granular level what’s going on for each customer.
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