SAS helps Vodafone add a personal touch
Bill shock is one of the leading complaints of mobile phone users but with the help of SAS, mobile telecommunications provider Vodafone is making this a thing of the past.
The expression “bill shock” occurs when customers receive a bill that contains unexpected charges – something that can happen if they’ve unknowingly exceeded their data limits. Regulatory reforms now make it mandatory for mobile phone customers to be informed when they reach certain data limits – such as 50 or 80 per cent – and this is where Vodafone spotted an opportunity to help its approximately five million customers.
Vodafone’s General Manager of Customer Value Management, Tarun Sharma, said the company wanted to provide customers with a solution to avoid incurring excess data charges. “Instead of just sending a text to notify customers of their data usage, we wanted to give them the choice of topping-up their account with more data via a ‘data add-on’ pack,” he said.
To help in providing this solution, Vodafone turned to SAS® Real-Time Decision Manager (RTDM) and following its implementation in 2011, Vodafone is now able to interrogate its data warehouse in real time, and receive a better understanding of the customer context.
“If we are about to send a product offer to a customer, we check to see if they have opted out of marketing messages, for example,” said Mr Sharma. “We can also see if the customer already has a data add-on. This insight lets us make the offer relevant and personal.”
Thanks to SAS we now have a better understanding of our customers and can be more proactive about how to communicate with them.
Customer Value Management
Interrogation speed crucial for improved sales
The speed at which SAS RTDM is able to interrogate the data warehouse is critical. “If the response isn’t within the regulatory requirements for sending an alert, then a default message is sent rather than the personalised message with a product offer,” said Mr Sharma. “Therefore the performance of the solution is instrumental in letting us increase the effectiveness of these offers.”
He added it’s also important to notify customers quickly as they are still using data while the alerts are being generated. “The speed in which we can tell them they are reaching their allowance is crucial in helping them manage their data usage,” he said.
“So we need to be able to process that message as fast as possible.”
Vodafone has many variants of these alerts – 190 SMS and over 50 email variants – depending on the customer profile and marketing permissions. All variants are managed through RTDM. Over the past two years, volumes have increased consistently and now several hundred thousand alerts are sent every day, with up to 10% of the customer base being contacted with personalised usage alerts.
“We saw a very significant increase in the uptake of data packs when we introduced the personalised alerts,” said Mr Sharma. “While we were required to comply with regulation for spend alerts, we were able to turn it into a value-add opportunity for the customer.”
Mr Sharma said that for customers, it helps them manage their bill, and for Vodafone, it’s a way to increase customer satisfaction. “If customers go over their data limit, then bill shock is the likely outcome,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest issues facing the industry at the moment and if we can help customers manage this then that’s a good thing.”
Improving the customer experience
Mr Sharma said Vodafone is continually refining its offers so the right offers or service messages get to customers through the right channel at the right time to provide them with more value and a better experience.
“SAS helps us coordinate the different messages customers receive from us,” said Mr Sharma. “Its real strength is its ability to interrogate and interpret enormous amounts of information and thanks to them we now have a better understanding of our customers and can be more proactive about how to communicate with them. This allows us to deliver them a more relevant and valuable experience.”