Increasingly competitive markets and tough economic times have made one thing abundantly clear. Product-oriented companies will struggle to beat competitors that are focused, first and foremost, on the customer experience. In telco, it is no different. What matters most is not what you want to sell to customers, but the experience they want to receive.

So, what does this mean for service providers? Operators must organise their business in such a way that they can leverage customer data to influence engagement. When you can uncover the interests of your customers and the drivers that fuel their decisions and their actions, you can more effectively appeal to their needs and desires. This requires organisational and technological transformation.

Organising for Customer Engagement

The first step is to ensure your company is built to deliver superior customer engagement.

Most telcos organise their business by serving offerings – one unit for mobile, one for fixed, one for broadband. Customer experience is managed separately for each unit, but it is a siloed approach that does not lead to consistently great experiences.

At Saudi Telecom Company, we created a single 176-person Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) team. The team sits at the intersection of three strategic areas: our commercial side (marketing/sales), the IT team and our customer experience team. There are three pillars that form the structure of the CLM team:

  1. Customer Value Management (CVM) – focused on analytics, big data and business intelligence
  2. Retention – a proactive and reactive department that seeks to limit churn
  3. Loyalty Management – solely focused on retaining the most valuable and profitable customers

This structure allows Saudi Telecom to focus deeply on data-driven marketing programs and activities aimed at bringing value to customers and encouraging long-term growth.

Customer Engagement

Setting the Data Foundation

Too often, telcos have a wealth of data at their fingertips, but fail to bring it all together. As long as these data sets remain isolated from one another ,operators will never be able to form a full view of their customers. When unified and analysed, data can provide a complete view of behaviours and decisions.

Our CLM team at Saudi Telecom relies on a strong foundation of data brought together from multiple repositories in one place. For example, the team analyses 250 million call data records every single day to identify trends and pockets of value. The benefit of this centralisation was immediate – in a short amount of time, we were able to analyse customer data and begin rolling out targeted campaigns.

Over time, our campaigns became more intelligent and sophisticated based on closed-loop data analysis and organisational maturity. We are now able to target the right customer, through the right channel with the right offer thanks to the plethora of information we are able to mine.

Embracing New Ideas

In keeping with the philosophy of customer delight, the CLM department have set ourselves a target to collate 10 fresh ideas every single week, inspired directly from insights gained from daily data analysis. Each idea is then evaluated, with one chosen to be tested and operationalised.

The concept here is that even if 9 out of 10 don’t work, if you can find one new idea that brings value to the customer in some way, large or small, that is a victory. Our team is built to work in an agile “fail fast” environment, and our closed-loop analysis ensures we are always learning from what we do and improving.

It’s all possible through a shift in mindset, thinking less about the product and more about how you can improve the customer’s experience in even the smallest of ways.


  1. Organise your business with the customer at the centre
  2. Centralise data so it can serve as the foundation for insight and action
  3. Emphasise agility and closed-loop analysis so that you fail – and learn – fast
Luca Decarli,
General Manager, Customer Lifecycle Management at Saudi Telecom Company. Maintains overall responsibility for three departments along the entire customer lifecycle: Customer Value Management (CVM), Loyalty and Retention.
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