posted by Brian Johnson
The cable industry has come a long way since the 1996 movie “The Cable Guy,” when Jim Carey portrayed a sinister cable installer who wreaks havoc wherever he goes and in general represents an untrustworthy and not-so-transparent industry that was not overly concerned with customer experience.
Now fast forward to 2020, Verizon recently announced a new plan called Mix & Match, whose primary objective is to provide customers greater flexibility and transparency—what you see is what you get...no contracts, no lock-in. Customers are in control. This is certainly a bold move, disruptive even. Verizon is signaling to the market they plan to compete on superior customer experience.
Globally the telecom industry faces low to no growth in subscriber base and revenue is flat. That, coupled with greater competition from web-scale companies and OTT providers, are forcing service providers to up their game and compete on how well they meet or exceed their customers’ expectations on any given service, in this case FiOS (bundled internet with content).
After all, Verizon has made significant investments in network design and taking fiber closer to the customer in order to have a more efficient network operation and superior quality of service. Verizon is betting on their operational excellence, advanced engineering, and new technologies to provide the superior network quality they are renowned for and outstanding customer experience that by itself will keep customers coming back for more—no contract required.
But maybe rather than a bet, Verizon’s calculus is based on a deeper understanding and insights of customers behaviors.
The Mix and Match offering is based on two fairly straightforward services, broadband internet access and TV/Content offering. Verizon, like all service providers, has solid understanding of historic, current, and future network traffic tendencies and upload and download speeds across their residential base. So in the case there are three options to choose from and Verizon has a fairly decent idea of which customers will choose which network speeds.
On the TV/Content side, Verizon has to rely more on machine learning and artificial intelligence to determine what content aligns most to customers viewing preferences. So in lieu of not knowing what to offer specifically or with any degree of certainty, Verizon chooses to offer everything for a limited time. And at the end of the “all you can eat” period, Verizon will make recommendations and be prescriptive with respect to TV/Content that most aligns to your preferences.
More than a gimmick, Verizon is moving the needle on customer experience—if you are not satisfied then drop the service no strings attached.
It was last year that Verizon announced a bold new initiative “Verizon 2.0” with the primary objective of creating a customer-centric organization. The statement from CEO Hans Vestberg mentioned that the entire company was transforming its culture, processes and technology with the aim of being a more customer-centric organization.
No doubt other service providers will take a page from Verizon’s play book. But to do this, service providers will need digital intelligence capabilities that provide insights into customers to build better marketing campaigns, messaging, and app experiences. Without the required investments competing on customer experience alone is a recipe for disaster.
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