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We attended the recently concluded Telecoms World Middle East conference in Dubai, which happens to be one of the biggest and most influential telecom events in the region focusing on the latest developments transforming the telecom industry such as 5G networks, MarTech, AI and automation. With over 200 speakers and over 1000 attendees from the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa, Central, and South Asia, we have had some exciting conversations at the event.
The opening keynote address by Hatem Dowidar, CEO International, Etisalat, set the tone for the event as he touched upon the proliferation of digital services within the telecom industry’s business models. He further stated that the role of the telecom industry is that of a key enabler, with connectivity and connected devices on the rise.
Excited to share some of the key takeaways, and dominant themes from the event:
This was a recurrent theme across multiple panel discussions with Hany Moneim, Chief Customer Care Officer at Telecom Egypt talking about the importance of getting a single view of the customer. During a discussion on enhancing the customer experience with data, Shabir Ali Murtaza, Operational Support and Readiness Expert at Ooredoo Oman stated, “Most data is still in silos, which is a frustrating experience for customers. From customer care, social media, etc. – the focus for telcos needs to be on integrating this data to segment users, and build engaging experiences.”
“Telecom services are increasingly being looked at by users as a commodity. This has been leading to lower brand loyalty when consumers are choosing between providers ‘A’ and ‘B’. And more often than not, the users make decisions based on pricing”, opined Daniel Kyama, Group Lead, Airtel Africa. He further added that customer experience and data-based engagement lead to higher engagement and brand advocacy as the service transcends from being a commodity to a lifestyle choice backed by a high QoS (Quality of Service).
A few other themes resonated across panels, and the need for businesses to go digital was brought up by numerous speakers at the event. Customers have identified the power they hold over the telecom operators and are getting more and more demanding in terms of the quality of service and personalization. The services provided by the telecom industry are viewed more as a utility by end customers. And this is why the need of the hour is for telcos to pivot in such a way that ensures customers look at their services as not just a utility but a lifestyle choice. According to Ameen Amaendran, CEO of Tune Talk, Malaysia (a part of the Air Asia Group), “The logical conclusion is that Telcos needs to offer services across a larger ecosystem that users may benefit from. Those being OTT, Insurance, Travel and such while using the operator services. This leads to a user becoming a part of a larger ecosystem rather than becoming a single service user, which in turn improves user stickiness. User experience optimization and the user journeys can be the key enablers for ensuring higher levels of engagement with the users.”
The “Uberization” of the economy is leading to an increasing number of on-demand services that are delivered to younger audiences via their dedicated app. These audiences expect real-time results along with complete control over the user experience. Feda Hadzic, Chief Commercial Officer of Jawwy also stated, “The youth of today demands instant gratification and Jawwy is constantly building relevant and highly personalized interactions for the end-user, providing them complete control of the choices that they opt for. This has led to reduced churn and increased engagement rates.” He added, “It has also been found that users prefer channels of communication as per their convenience. Thus, businesses are increasingly opting for channels like WhatsApp, to engage the users as per their preferred channels of communication.”
The EU centric GDPR laws have had ramifications for marketers across the globe. Companies across the board have been grappling with means to address personalization while being compliant with the new norms. This is where Malay Harsh, Director of Marketing at CleverTap mentioned that that marketers don’t need personally identifiable information (PII) in order to deliver personalized experiences to users. He spoke about the capabilities of CleverTap which use best-in-class encryption standards to process data both in transit and at rest to ensure data security. He also stressed on CleverTap’s ability to rely on its strong foundation of privacy controls that proactively prepare marketers for the most stringent data protection norms across the globe.
To sum up, it was a great experience that allowed us to share insights on how forward-looking telecom enterprises can leverage the power of CleverTap, while learning from leading experts in the industry about the immense potential for technology and innovation backed growth in the Middle East and Africa.
We look forward to being a part of more such events in the region, and continuing the interesting conversations we started at Telecoms World Middle East!
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