Guest Post by
Srija Majumdar, Consultant, Infosys
Suppose you want to buy a new mobile handset? What are you most likely to do? Go to the web and look for the latest models in the market? There are plenty of sites listing all the models and their features and prices. But is that information really useful? Some phone might be really attractive looking with all the advanced features, but you might not need them at all! And thus, even after all those "research" you end up buying the "wrong" product for yourself, because you got lost in the ocean of information and you were not helped to navigate meaningfully through that information! Just like it happened with Mr. Robert! Mr. Robert is a middle-aged man and senior executive at a manufacturing firm. Most of his workday is spent in meetings and visits at the company's several offices and plants spread across the city and its suburbs. While in transit, he checks his emails and responds to them and also directs his team on their tasks. In the midst of his busy schedule, he does not find time to play the different apps available on his high-end mobile. Nor is he much inclined towards socializing on the web. Thus these features are not of much use although he had paid a hefty sum to buy this mobile phone. Moreover he gets confused with all the heavy applications and finds it difficult to navigate.
On advice of a friend, he lands on our Telco's portal and starts browsing for a suitable voice and data plan. As he has frequent calls, he chooses the most expensive plan. He also browses the various smartphones hoping to find one that will best suit his needs. He compares several models, features and prices and also clicks on the social networking icon beside the product descriptions to read up reviews and opinions of other users. However he does not want to end up buying another phone most of whose features will be of no use to him. He is confused! Just then he notices an Online Assistance application on the Telco's portal. He clicks on the application to open a chat window where a representative is waiting to assist him in his purchase decision. He explains his requirement to the agent who after understanding his requirement, his usage needs and his lifestyle suggests him to go for a bundle which has attractive data plan with per second pricing just perfect for his short and frequent calls. Moreover he realizes he does not even need an expensive smart phone, a standard phone with advanced mailbox features will be enough for his needs. The online agent also assists him in registering on the site and proceeding with the transaction. He ends up paying half the price of his original selection.
He gifts his previous smartphone to his son who is about to enter college and is hooked to mobile apps and social networking. In this example, both father and son get to fulfill their actual needs, thanks to the online experience and the smart online agent.
To take this experience one step ahead, the Telco site can describe phones and plans from the point of view of the customers, i.e. what kind of customers might need this phone? We generally have every product listing its features in full details. With so many variants available in the market today, going through the features list to decide on your purchase can be a tedious, rather confusing task. But if the same phone is described in such a way keeping in mind the kind of customers it would suit the most, it would go a long way in helping customers make their purchase decision. This trend can be noticed in the online retail portals where they would not only describe a white shirt stating the measurements and shades, but would describe it like "team it with a classic black skirt or slim fit trouser for that smart professional look or you can team it with a pair of classic blue denims for a movie with friends". This usage hints are more likely to prompt the user to buy since she is educated about the necessity of the product. Otherwise, she might have thought "I like the white shirt, but where will I wear it to?" Moreover, the keywords - classic black skirt or slim-fit trouser are hyperlinked and would take you to the respective products, thus upping the opportunity for cross-sell. Similarly, a Telco could build a story around its phones and link it with accessories that go with the product, like "plug in the slim car kit for taking urgent calls on your drive back home while you can enjoy music at other times", thus upping the chances of selling that slim car kit along with the handset.
Today the space is cluttered with information and if one can help customers navigate through that information through assistance at all levels and across channels, it is a win-win deal for both parties. Would like to hear your comments on how we can make the shopping experience in the telecom space all the more easy and fun for the customer.
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