Telecom Embraces CRM

By Heather Baldwin

The telecom industry has undergone some changes of late. As recently as two years ago, the name of the game was customer acquisition and CEO scorecards were based primarily on the number of subscribers. More subscribers, the industry assumed, would mean more revenue. Fast forward to today where the focus has shifted to profitable growth – reducing the percentage of customers defecting to other service providers each month and growing the number of high-revenue customers. “The change,” says Michael Couture, vice president of product marketing at Amdocs, “has started to put CRM more in the forefront of the strategy of telecom companies.”

The growing adoption of CRM solutions has been accompanied by some other encouraging news. Telecom industry leaders, it seems, are at last getting the message about ROI. Within the past year, Couture says he has seen a sharp increase in the demand for proof points to justify investment in a CRM application. “There’s much more focus on the metrics, on our track record and our ability to deliver a full solution than there used to be,” he says. “Service providers are looking for proof – before they make a decision that the benefits they’re being promised are going to be delivered.”

In response, Amdocs, which in November acquired Clarify to complete its family of CRM products, offers customers case studies, references and macro-level measurements – such as how much it has improved response times or reduced bill cycle times on average – for customers of varying sizes to help prospects cost-justify a CRM purchase. And customers, in turn, are seeing three major benefits from Amdocs’ ClarifyCRM Suite: the ability to grow more profitably by profiling customers and segmenting their markets more efficiently; an improvement in customer loyalty and retention; and reduction of cost through automating and streamlining processes.

In other words, while telecom “has been slower to adopt the CRM philosophy than some of the other industries,” Couture says service providers are not only starting to whole-heartedly embrace customer relationship management practices – they are doing so wisely by emphasizing proof points and ROI data.