Telcos are missing out on millions of unclaimed revenues and failing to meet the expectations of customers when it comes to personalising their communications. This was one of the key findings of the first ever global study to map consumer attitudes about data privacy with research into telco marketing practices. It highlights the disparity that exists between attitudes towards using data for marketing purposes among consumers and beliefs about customer expectations among marketers.
The study, which was conducted in spring 20220 by Intent HQ found that telco operators, a sector with access to more customer data than any other industry, are financially disadvantaging themselves by the huge disconnect that exists between what they believe they are achieving when it comes to customer engagement and the reality of how consumers perceive their marketing practices.
Gap between reality and perception
Whilst 80% of operators feel they are doing a good job of personalizing the customer experience, just 40% of consumers actually agree with that sentiment. Yet operators are closely aligned with consumers about the benefits of marketing personalization and both believe it to be valuable. Customers are ready for more relevance and they want telcos to be sharing personalized offers that are applicable to their interests, but they also want more consent choices and data privacy baked into communications.
Personalization in the context of this study is about making marketing, customer experience, and products relevant and appealing to an individual. Proper personalization also means knowing a lot about customers and using that data well. Many operators are failing on both counts, as evidenced in the study’s findings. This showed that current adoption of personalization is patchy, with 46% of telcos unable to use a customer’s name in all correspondence. Many are reliant on mass marketing ploys and 58% are unable to go beyond the most basic level of personalization. Yet 48% of customers want operators to at least get these basics right, like understanding what forms of communication they prefer and 45% said they only want to see relevant offers and information.
Privacy and trust are major concerns
Privacy was shown to be a major concern and the top challenge when it comes to using consumer data. Coupled with this, consumer trust is at an all time low due to recent data breaches and operators need to reassure concerned customers about the ways data is used, collected, and stored. 47% of customers expressed concerns about their operators’ ability to protect their privacy whilst 31% of consumers would benefit from greater transparency about their operator’s data collection and storage practices. On a positive note though, 73% of consumers said they would be happy to give consent, or limited consent for operators to use the data held about them specifically for personalising offers, marketing, and customer service purposes.
Overly cautious about compliance and overlooking enabling technology
One of the most striking findings in the study was the huge perception gap because whilst operators may think they are doing a great job at personalisation, just half as many consumers agree and ultimately, it’s the customer’s opinion that matters. This disconnect also means that operators are losing millions in revenues by over-compensating for regulatory compliance when engaging with customers, rather than finding ways to maximise the value that are privacy-sensitive.
23% of operators admit that a lack of technology and data infrastructure are holding back personalisation efforts and 42% are struggling with the concepts of data privacy, security, and auditability. Almost a third of operators admit they are being held back by a lack of knowledge over how to extract value from the data.
Ultimately, customers really value operator transparency and being given choices. By focusing on the value exchange and communicating the benefits to the consumer of data driven marketing, telcos – and indeed all marketers – can be building trust and gaining the consent needed to secure upsells, cross-sells, and lifetime value.
To download a copy of the research report, visit intenthq.com/missingmillions