The customer-activated telco

The customer-activated telco

Rob van den Dam, Nick Gurney  |   November 27, 2013
IBM
Telecom CxOs foresee major changes in the business landscape in the next three to five years. They expect to reframe their approach, shifting to more collaboration and open business models with customer and partners. IBM's recent survey, of 218 CxOs of telecom providers in more than 50 countries, revealed three key themes that telecom CxOs believe will shape their organizations' future:
  • Open up to customer influence
  • Pioneer digital-physical innovation
  • Craft engaging customer experiences
Open up to customer influence
In search of innovation more than half (55%) of CxOs expect to open up their organizations - bringing down barriers to extend collaboration inside and outside. Their most radical shift may be a new view on what it means to collaborate with customers.
A growing number of CxOs believe customer influence shouldn't be confined to activities in which customers have traditionally participated, such as developing new products or services. Instead, they stand ready to relinquish absolute control of what is typically considered their domain - developing business strategy. In fact, the majority of telecom CxOs told us customers' influence on their organizations' business strategy is second only to the C-suite itself.

 
 Customer influence on the enterpriseAlmost two-thirds (63%) of telecom CxOs say customers now have a considerable influence on their organization (see figure at right hand side ). They realize that the groundswell of opinion and innovation being shared on social sites, blogs, text chats and the like is tantamount to customers banging at the door and demanding to be heard. Savvy leaders know that online input is a vital part of the discourse and have plumbed their organizations to listen closely. Those at the forefront don't just invite customers in for a chat, they recognize it as an urgent call to action.
  
Deep collaboration with customers is a clear CxO ambition; 88% of telecom CxOs foresee doing so in the near future. But accepting customers as stakeholders in determining their organization's future has huge cultural and organizational implications. Their businesses can't just be customer-centric. They must be customer-activated. That requires creating fully reciprocal relationships with customers. It means being ready - and willing - to change course to pursue those paths that create mutual value. And it requires finding ways to include customers in key decisions.

 

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