Preparing the Persona was the first step in aligning the business objects and the efforts for different user segments among different business units including marketing, customer service and design teams. You can read more on how to come up with the Personas on my previous posting.
I asked my Campaign Manager who was leading the Persona project to write up two white papers with the persona information. One for me and him, meaning the architects on this project to have all the process archived with all the details on the methodology on how we come up with all the different segments and all the statistical details on each attribute so we can refer later on and compare the progress in the coming years. We knew that this won’t be a one time study and it has to be a living document where we can make adjustments over time with the change in user behavior and the change in business environment. The second white paper was a shorter one, designed specifically to communicate with all our sales group (agents), customer service team and designers which simply present the outcome of the study and one pager write up for each different six persona type (with the images and names so they can associate the users not just by numbers or statistics but with visual cues as well)
The next step was to create automated programs to send offers, or informative emails to specific groups based on their behavior. I call them programs and not campaigns, because they are continuous programs that we design once and with the daily triggers that I’ll explain in a bit, they are being send out automatically by our own proprietary CRM application. For the regular campaigns that we do, I name them one-off campaigns.
There are six combination on the Persona groups since we have 3 usage segments and 2 engagement segments but we focused on three clusters based on the behaviors of our Personas that we can impact the productivity and decrease the churn: The lost customers, the power users and the non-engaged users.
The lost customers segment was the no-brainer, because based on our empirical studies we knew that the churn was the highest on the first three months after signing up a new customer. The churn ratio curve sharply flattens after 3 months. So we designed multiple programs to communicate with the users who stop using our service, starting with for 15 day, then for 30 and even for 60 days. First we offer a coupon to understand if the reason of not using the service is price related. If a user still do not use the service, on the 30th day, we issue them a credit (one free call) and ask them to use our service to test it again (if the issue was not the price, it may be the lack of quality to that destination so we want to earn their business again by offering a free call). On the 60th day, what could be better than asking the customer directly why they stopped using the service.
We got a very good response to these programs and by simply contacting the customers at the right time paid off immediately. Telecom is one of the most problematic industries in terms of quality since even one simple call involves many different providers and different equipment which result in substandard results for every call – so it is no surprise that the Telecom industry do not rank on top 25 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
The second focus was on the power users. Acknowledging this group and offering additional monetary benefits are also a smart thing to do considering the majority of your revenue is generated by them. Monthly usage and the total usage (first one focuses on the heavy users and the second on more on the loyalty of the customer) indicators helped us in triggering the different offers and acknowledge this segment.
The last group was the non-engaged group, who did not use our online features much, or are not aware of our campaigns, cell phone applications and/or other savings opportunities. While we were working on the persona analysis, we realized that the more engaged the customer is with our service, the higher the overall value of that customer. The churn ratio is the lowest among the people who interacts the highest with the Company. So, increasing the engagement would result in a decrease in churn along with increase in overall spending by the customer. Hence we designed multiple programs based on different triggers. e.g. if a customer signed up about 15 days ago and still has not created an online account, we would send her an email, explaining the benefits of creating an account with a ‘call to action’ to create an account now. We created similar programs for almost all important features, and set triggers based on behaviors like usage, cell phone ownership, usage of features etc.
At the end, we created about 25 different programs with each different triggers, and communicated to the customers on multiple channels. Sending the email was the first step. Then we also redesigned the CRM modules for customer service reps and added the Persona dashboard to the customer accounts, so when a customer calls in the call center to recharge her account or to inquiry a feature etc, the customer service rep would see the exact same offer that has been send to the user and convey the same message to him on the phone as well. Considering about 60-65% of the people do not read the emails, reaching them on the phone was extremely important. The third step will be also to show the message on the back-office for the users which is on the agenda to develop so we can cover all three channels, email, phone and web to reach out to the user and convey the same message.