PARTNER INTERVIEW: Fully digital customer journeys could prove a game-changer for operators of all sizes, providing drastic improvements to satisfaction levels and bringing mobile providers in-line with big name disruptors in other industries.
Here, Nicolas Chalvin, Thales VP of marketing, connectivity and embedded solutions, and triPica founder and CEO Mathieu Horn discuss their Trusted Digital Telco service and the advantages operators can derive from fully embracing digital.
Could you tell us more about the Thales Trusted Digital Telco concept and what industry need it addresses?
Nicholas Chalvin (NC): Thales Trusted Digital Telco is a system developed to provide a completely digital method for an operator’s customers to sign-up and manage their accounts flexibly and quickly using a mobile application.
The solution uses a combination of triPica’s knowledge of digital BSS and Thales’ Trusted Digital Identity (TDI) and eSIM solution.
We’ve worked with operators and end users to really fine-tune the customer journey and have developed an interface designed to reduce the number of clicks needed to create an active subscription. On the mobile app users can do everything, it is really an a la carte way to manage an account.
This solution targets all types of telecom operators, including large players that want to move on digitalisation, and those wanting to start a purely digital brand.
Mathieu Horn (MH): We’re providing a next generation BSS stack tailored to help operators launch new brands or become fully digital telcos, a radically new customer proposition.
Today operators are living with the constraints of legacy infrastructure and our offer really allows them to unleash their creativity when shaping their customer propositions.
The app is the tip of the iceberg. It’s really all about the concept of a telco in an app, where a customer can do everything, including fully digital enrolment using eKYC and eSIM technologies. Doing that on the legacy system would be extremely complicated.
Which industry and consumer trends are driving operator moves towards dynamic digital customer journeys?
NC: This is not a new topic. Many other sectors have already heavily moved to digital services such as banking and media content delivery. These industries have taken a mobile app approach to disrupt the market, and we believe this is what operators need to do.
Today’s consumer simply doesn’t want to wait to get a service and by providing a rapid digital method of sign-up operators can differentiate, as the whole industry won’t move at the same speed. We can already see some players positioning themselves as market disruptors with this approach.
Another factor moving operators in this direction is that the underlying technologies are now in place. We have digital BSS and digital Trusted Digital Identity systems available and eSIM is now well deployed in the market. These elements make a pure digital customer journey available and useable.
MH: Operators are facing competitive pressure and declining ARPUs so they need to adapt their business models. So, together with customer demand for instant services, there is interest from both sides driving this forward.
However, the transformation to digital can only work if the customer experience is excellent. Offers need to be simple and transparent because you don’t have a middleman, there are no sales or support agents there to help you.
Operators must resist the temptation to over complicate. Keep it simple, keep it transparent, make it easy for end users and people will love you.
What competitive advantages can operators derive from adoption of fully digital services?
NC: There is clearly market demand for services which are flexible and simple, but also because of the current public health situation many people don’t want to go to a physical shop. Using digital recruitment and subscription management is a way to meet this immediate need and set up for the future.
Operators using a digital approach will be able to extend their retail coverage to areas where they have no shops while also creating differentiation against rivals by providing a more convenient customer service.
Trusted Digital Telco applications put the end user at the centre of the experience. They decide from the very beginning what they want to do and can define their own subscription, activate it, add new features, deactivate and manage other elements.
Customers using a fully digital sign-up system enjoy an improved enrolment system which has been designed to get a better ratio of end users to complete the process.
MH: Consumers are demanding faster, streamlined and more autonomous ways of doing things. Players able to quickly grasp these factors and swiftly offer a proposition following these principles will catch the market. We also should not underestimate the radical impact technologies such as eSIM and eKYC will have on the market.
There will be some operators able to adapt and those which will struggle in this new environment.
With some of our current customers we have seen even when launching a brand using the same network from the same operator, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for a fully digital brand is sometimes above 50 points compared to between zero and 10 for the equivalent legacy brand.
Sub-brands offering a fully digital service can also be shaped for a specific target demographic, for example focusing on a more technical-savvy, younger audience.
Many operators have legacy business and IT systems in place which hamper moves toward fully digital customer journeys. How can this be best addressed?
MH: This a key challenge for a lot of companies. In fact, when you look at IT systems and business processes found in most big operators, they have all been set up for a time where the physical SIM card had a central role.
Operators have invested millions of dollars over the years across the industry on the digitalisation of their IT stack. On the one hand they have invested in e-commerce platforms for digital sites where you can order a device, while on the other they have invested a lot on self-care, initially through a website and then on their own mobile apps.
However in the vast majority of cases these two systems don’t talk to each other. They’ve been built on the top of the legacy stack and once you put an eSIM into the equation it just doesn’t work smoothly.
These systems cannot provide a full experience in a single customer journey that lasts less than three minutes, which is what the market demands today.
This is exactly the problem our Trusted Digital Telco is solving.
Our proposition is designed to use a single platform able to take you from buying the subscription directly on the mobile app to activation of the line and management of the plan in a single session.
Trusted Digital Telco is a way for operators to not be blocked with the existing infrastructure while benefiting from previous investments in separate elements like digitalisation, eSIM and TDI systems.
What are the security implications of fully digital consumer journeys and how does the Thales and triPica Trusted Digital Telco address these?
NC: Security is crucial and is something very important for Thales as a key contributor in the digital security segment. We have the know-how not only within telecoms but globally in a wide number of sectors.
We are applying this knowledge and experience in this TDT solution. We securely run the authentication and identification of end users with our most advanced Thales products. This includes validation of ID documents using a picture with likeness detection.
The payment system is secure, while eSIM follows the same GSMA standard as a physical SIM card.
We know people sometimes think digital means less secure, but this is absolutely not true, at least for us.
In some cases digital is even more secure than in-person transactions. Users cannot move forward if they have not been authenticated using our TDI solution, which is maybe not the case in all shops at some operators.
What is also important is that security does not mean complexity. We have been able to mix a high level of security with flexibility and simplicity.
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