Cloud services continue to attract attention as telcos and banks look to maintain revenue in the face of price pressures on existing offerings. Yet all too often they’re deployed with seemingly limited regard for how they’ll fit with the provider’s traditional product and service lines. And that impacts on customer engagement and uptake.
Experience has shown the importance of having a proposition, platform and staff and customer engagement models that deliver against customer promises and are adaptable to future changes.
In a market that’s moving to mass uptake, agility and capability should be built into every element of this new service.
Here are the steps we take with partners to maximise success for them and value for their customers, both now and in the future.
Step one: How will your marketplace help your customers?
Be clear on this before deciding which services go into it. It should answer a need or challenge for a significant number of your customers. The value derived from your marketplace will be different from that of its cloud services. Be sure to define both.
Step two: How will your marketplace help your business?
Will it refresh and extend traditional income lines? Drive uptake of higher value core offerings? Increase retention by giving customers a reason to stay?
Rather than focusing on one or two sources of value to justify upfront investment, it’s worth considering everything at this early stage.
Step three: How far can – and should – your brand be extended?
If a bank offers bookkeeping software or a telco provides unified messaging, that makes sense. But swap the two offerings and you lose the obvious connection. If you can picture your customer thinking “Why are they offering that?” you’ve gone too far.
Step four: How will you engage customers across all touchpoints in a multi-channel environment?
Map the channel, the reasons why customers have sought you out, the service they’re considering or using at that point, and the engagement volumes to expect. Understanding the link between existing touchpoints and your marketplace will be critical.
Step five: How are you going to engage staff and channels?
How will you take them on the journey with you and your customers? How will that fit with your customer engagement plan? A training and incentivisation model can help focus them on your services, and provide the support needed to achieve quality sales.
Remember, that’s the number of customers multiplied by the number of months they stay, not just new subscriptions.
Step six: Now the fun part.
Match everything we’ve covered (customer and business objectives, brand, customer and channel engagement) against the top 100 cloud services in the market and your internal capabilities (be honest here – even create best / worst / expected scenarios).
Step seven: Choose three to five cloud services that are the best fit.
Why so few? Customers, staff and channels need to be drip-fed services to they get used to the concept and potential value case. Inundate them with an enormous catalogue on day one and you’ll increase engagement costs, and struggle with quality of sale.
Step eight: Keep iterating.
When you hit the point of ‘zero marginal benefit’, do a couple more iterations. It’s much easier to refine at this stage than when you’re building or deploying a marketplace.
Step nine: Do a competitor review.
Compare your business model design with others in your industry and beyond. This is an effective stress test, bringing up challenging questions and making sure you don’t fall into the ‘bigger is better’ trap.
Step ten: Keep learning.
No one gets everything right from day one. Get your first set of services in the market, then iterate and improve, over and over again.
To learn more about telecoms cloud services and implementing a cloud application marketplace, visit our solutions for telcos page