One thing businesses and customers have in common is their need for simplicity when dealing with each other.
Businesses want and need things to be simpler so that their customers find it easier to do business with them. Customers are increasingly utilizing the mobile device as the primary means of engagement with service providers.
Research by Alcatel-Lucent revealed that smartphone users would increasingly prefer to access operators’ customer service functions via a mobile application than a call center. A study of smartphone users in the UK, US, Japan and Brazil conducted for the infrastructure company by Penn Schoen Berland revealed that the majority of subscribers try to avoid interacting with operator helpdesks, and that a growing number of smartphone owners would prefer to utilize a self-service application to deal with common network service issues.
However, at the same time, users may also be wary of using up their data to communicate with a service provider, especially if they are roaming.
If businesses and service providers could somehow ‘sponsor’ or compensate for data used in communications directly with them, this could remove the barrier for customers to engage with them via their mobile devices. This, in turn, would reduce load on call centers and reduce the overall costs involved in effective customer interactions.
In order to address this challenge head-on, a group of TM Forum members have joined forces in a proof-of-concept Catalyst project titled New business models with mobile sponsored data.
This Catalyst demonstrates a new way to monetize mobile data in a business-to-business-to-consumer business model and create a trustworthy experience between digital service providers and their customers by leveraging the network of mobile operators – in this case, a digital service provider that wants to create a best-in-class experience with its customers.
As an example, a bank (or any other service such as an insurance company or travel agency) may want to incentivize its customers to use its mobile app and handle transactions digitally instead of going to a branch, which has high operating costs. During the customer service session, which may involve heavy content or a video chat, all the data used is taken care of by the bank (the digital service provider) and does not lead to a reduction in the consumer’s data bundle.
There are two main roles in each Catalyst: Champions (usually an organization seeking a solution to a problem) and participants (organizations contributing to solving the problem). The champion here is Orange. Participants include Sigma; DataMi; Salesforce; Comptel; and Cloudsense. Working together, these players create an agile, accelerated environment to come up with a solution that everyone can benefit from.
The New business models with mobile sponsored data Catalyst will be demonstrated at TM Forum Live! 2016 in Nice, France, in May.