How Mobile Operators Can Up Their Game To Support Digital Lifestyles
Natasha Tamaskar serves as Vice President, Global Marketing and Sales Strategy for Radisys. Follow on Twitter @ntamaskar.
Telecommunication companies serve as the digital lifestyle conduit for countless customers globally but have traditionally had few, if any, ways to enhance how their customers interact with the digital world. Every day, customers connect through TikTok videos, Instagram stories, pins, tweets, posts and streams. They like, thumbs-up, heart and share their lifeworld without thinking about their cellular or internet service provider. As 5G deployments become more prevalent and enable customers to consume even more data, mobile operators have an opportunity to take a central role in their customer’s digital lifestyle rather than simply acting as the data pipe enabling their smartphone.
Currently, mobile operators have limited occasions to engage with customers through interactions focused on solving various issues – billing questions, technical support and service updates. Even positive experiences, such as signing a new contract or announcing new services, are often limited in their ability to establish a relationship beyond a basic transaction. Mobile operators need new ways to monetize their 5G networks by increasing customer engagement opportunities.
Reimagining Customer Engagement With Gamification
There is a radical new approach that redefines the relationship between a mobile operator and its partners to collaborate and deliver a richer digital lifestyle. Through a personalized game-style user experience, mobile operators can transform their role from platform to partner while offering their customers a new way to improve their digital lifestyle.
The concept of “gamification,” which adds game-style elements such as scoring points, competing with other players or up-leveling to unlock new features to a product or service to increase engagement, is not new. By adding game-like features to an app, website or dashboard (online or in a car), businesses can increase customer engagement, spur new ideas, increase loyalty and, in some cases, influence behavior. Gamification has been applied to many applications, from learning a language (Duolingo) and crowdsourcing commutes (WAZE) to changing driving habits (Ford’s Efficiency Leaves) or improving and maintaining health (Nike+ Run Club).
What is new, however, is the breadth of opportunities mobile operators have to take gamification to a new level of service that also establishes creative engagement scenarios with their customer base and simplifies digital lifestyles. Now mobile operators are uniquely positioned to facilitate a unified, highly personalized digital engagement solution in a way that is beneficial to customers, partners and mobile operators alike. For example, a game-style user experience could allow customers to unlock premium services or increase loyalty status while simultaneously enabling operators and their partners to recommend new 5G-enriched services. This further enhances the customer’s ability to unlock those new loyalty status levels, all through a simple interface.
Enhancing Digital Lifestyles
Customers today have an unlimited number of social media platforms and apps to manage and they want the interactions with their platforms of choice to be personalized. Using the power of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, combined with gamification, mobile operators can deliver personalized 5G services to better increase their ability to compete against over-the-top players and generate more revenue for themselves. Customers benefit from a simplified, yet enhanced, digital lifestyle.
Collaborating For The Win
Obviously, mobile operators cannot do this alone. Thanks to the inherent power of 5G networks and AI, operators can combine a number of products from partners and vendors to extend the digital lifestyle experience beyond the abilities of current gamification applications.
To establish immersive customer engagement platforms, mobile operators should develop an ecosystem of solution providers, application developers and platform providers that offer programmable software solutions, allowing them to choose the capabilities that best suit their network and service offering needs. For example, a mobile operator wishing to include a virtual and augmented reality element to their application may select a platform provider’s product to power the user interaction portion of the application. The operator may then choose a different provider’s solution for a conversational AI-based virtual voice assistant to enable hands-free customer interaction and enhance the AR/VR experience by allowing the customer to request information and take action.
Other solutions would address customer onboarding, analytics and revenue management. The AI and machine learning help identify additional opportunities to give personalized offers to drive desired actions, bring more value and propose relevant new 5G experiences. The application could also provide intent and sentiment analysis of the customer’s voice and expressions to ensure the customer is having a positive experience.
Application developers and platform providers can also integrate with each other in a dedicated ecosystem via a digital marketplace. This digital marketplace serves as an integrated, self-service entry point for partners to provide the necessary tools and APIs that enable operators to deliver real-time communication services to enhance their customers’ digital journeys. Customer insights are shared across mobile operators and ecosystem members to help identify and link relevant services while helping deploy and rapidly scale new 5G service models.
Through this collaborative ecosystem, all participants will have greater opportunity to establish more informed campaigns and adapt them quickly based on real-time data, as well as engage with an increasingly expanding ecosystem. More importantly, mobile operators have a way to establish relationships with their customer base, monetize a variety of new 5G services and move from supporting their customer’s digital engagement to becoming an integral part.
Customers win by receiving an intuitive application that fully integrates all aspects of their digital life. It gives them control over their digital lifestyle, consolidating the many siloed apps and loyalty schemes into a format that delivers greater value, and offers new services and experiences.
Collaboration, like gamification, is not new. But by leveraging the opportunities presented by new 5G networks, mobile operators and their partners can level up their collaboration solutions to transform the digital lifestyles of customers and become central players in the game.
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