C Spire Wireless connects more closely to customers

Reducing churn and increasing sales through analytical decision management

Published on 16-Sep-2013

"We are already seeing the positive effects on our bottom line, with the effectiveness of our retention campaigns increasing by 50 percent over three months, and sales of certain accessories increasing by 270 percent." - Justin Croft, Manager of Brand Platforms and Analytics, C Spire Wireless

Customer:
C Spire Wireless

Industry:
Telecommunications

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
BA - Business Analytics, BA - Predictive Analytics, Big Data, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: Customers, Business Integration, Business Performance Transformation, Business Resiliency, Empowering People, Enabling Business Flexibility

Smarter Planet:
Smarter Communications

IBM Business Partner:
Acxiom

Overview

Consumers have limited patience with being treated as one of the pack: they want their service providers to address their needs as individuals. In the high-stakes telecommunications business, how do companies get the right messages to the right people and create that personal connection?

Business need:
Finding new, more effective ways to reduce customer churn is at the heart of every telecommunications company’s strategy, and C Spire Wireless is no exception. With customers expecting more and mass marketing techniques losing their impact, the company felt that the key to success lay in getting to know its customers better and putting this information into the hands of front-line employees.

Solution:
C Spire Wireless analyzed past feedback and preferences from customers, and applied predictive modeling techniques to identify retention risks and sales opportunities – driving the company’s mission to make each customer experience personal. Using predictive analytics built on tried and tested business rules, the company has also embedded real-time decision management into its everyday processes.

Results:
Enhances customer satisfaction levels, improving the effectiveness of retention campaigns by 50 percent. Boosts cross-selling and up-selling, with sales of select accessories rising by 270 percent.

Benefits:
Offers fine-grained control over the customer experience, increasing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Case Study

Smarter Communications: Better outcomes with analytical decision management
Instrumented:
Customer preferences and history are collected at every customer touch-point, including point-of-sales, email and call centers, and are compiled to create a single customer view (SCV).

Interconnected: Decision trees draw on SCV data and predictive models to yield real-time recommendations to employees on how to maximize the value of customer interactions.

Intelligent: Employees are empowered with the information they need to act with confidence at the point of contact with customers, helping them address retention risks and capitalize on sales opportunities.

Consumers have limited patience with being treated as one of the pack: they want their service providers to address their needs as individuals. In the high-stakes telecommunications business, how do companies get the right messages to the right people and create that personal connection?

C Spire Wireless knew that the answer to this question lay in getting to know its customers better and – most importantly – putting this insight into the hands of the employees who interact with these customers in stores, via email or web, and over the telephone.

Customer-led strategy
As the United States’ largest privately held wireless communications company, C Spire Wireless competes with public companies that have the advantage of greater size and more resources. Nevertheless, the company is used to punching above its weight and keeping pace with the biggest hitters in the telecommunications industry.

Justin Croft, Manager of Brand Platforms and Analytics at C Spire Wireless, explains: “To continue to compete against larger rivals, we had to innovate and leverage our strengths. This led us to adapt our strategy so that personalization is the real focus – giving every customer the right service for them. Our ethos is very much to keep asking ourselves: what would be the absolutely ideal customer experience?

“Putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers helped us recognize some common frustrations. For example, why am I receiving generic marketing messages that are not relevant to me? And why do I need to explain my issues repeatedly to service reps and telephone operators when I call them? We made it our mission to ensure that our customers would never need to ask questions like these again.”

Getting a taste for analytics
As a first step, C Spire Wireless built a single customer view (SCV), which pulls all customer history and preferences from multiple systems, including point-of-sales (POS), email and call centers, which are updated several times each day.

The SCV has proven to be a real resource for the company. Croft elaborates: “Often, business analytics projects require a big lead-time for data acquisition. In our case, the data is already there, up-to-date and ready to analyze.”

The company was given a taste of what business analytics software could bring to its business when it deployed IBM® SPSS® Modeler to create predictive models based on the SCV data, and investigate the factors that contribute to customer churn.

“Our work with the IBM teams on SPSS modeling really whetted our appetite for business analytics. The results were so good that we started thinking about how we could integrate them into our everyday processes, where they could really make a difference.”

Going one step further
C Spire Wireless engaged IBM and Acxiom to help crystallize its vision of operationally embedded analytics, and came to the conclusion that decision management technologies could hold the key.

Croft comments: “Acxiom was invaluable in helping us understand exactly what we wanted to achieve, and how we could do it. It is a good starting-point to have an analytics team building models and drawing conclusions – but how do we make those insights actionable? When we came across IBM Analytical Decision Management we were really excited that we had found the answer.”

Using IBM SPSS Decision Management software, C Spire Wireless creates predictive models, combines them with business rules, and refines them to create better decisions. The solution delivers recommended actions to employees and systems in real time. By automating and optimizing the decision-making process, the company can ensure it provides a consistent and integrated customer experience across all channels.

“For example, we know that customers with a large recent bill are often a retention risk, so this will be automatically flagged and trigger a change across different systems,” says Croft. “The emails aimed at that customer will be different – for example, they might suggest switching to a different payment plan that offers unlimited calls for a fixed price. If that customer calls one of our telephone operators, that operator will know immediately that there is a pain-point, and a set of suggestions for how best to handle the interaction will instantly be displayed on his or her screen.”

He continues: “The solution also helps us with the other side of the coin – where there is an opportunity for cross-selling or up-selling. If we know that a customer’s purchase history indicates that they are likely to buy a new case for their cellphone, for example, we can offer them appropriate products when they are in store inquiring about something else.”

Dialing up success
As a result of the project, the C Spire Wireless marketing team has gained fine-grained control over the customer experience. Croft explains the impact: “Analytical decision management helps us look at customer interactions in terms of what the customer wants to buy, rather than what we want to sell them. This transforms the way our employees can relate to customers, and makes it a more positive experience on both sides.

“It has only been three months since we implemented Analytical Decision Management, and already, between 75 and 80 percent of all our interactions with customers are guided by the solution to some extent. This is a real testament to how it helps our employees do their jobs effectively.”

The ability to drive more targeted marketing campaigns is translating into positive business results for C Spire Wireless, as Croft explains: “We are already seeing the positive effects on our bottom line, with the effectiveness of our retention campaigns increasing by 50 percent over three months, and sales of certain accessories increasing by 270 percent.”

He concludes: “Since we are only in the early stages of learning about the full potential of IBM Analytical Decision Management, we are excited to see what the future holds. It isn’t just about understanding customers, but what you do with the knowledge that counts – and IBM software has proved itself as an ideal tool to put this idea into action.”

About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics software delivers data-driven insights that help organizations work smarter and outperform their peers. This comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for business intelligence, predictive analytics and decision management, performance management, and risk management.

Business Analytics solutions enable companies to identify and visualize trends and patterns in areas, such as customer analytics, that can have a profound effect on business performance. They can compare scenarios, anticipate potential threats and opportunities, better plan, budget and forecast resources, balance risks against expected returns and work to meet regulatory requirements. By making analytics widely available, organizations can align tactical and strategic decision-making to achieve business goals.

For more information
For further information or to reach a representative please visit ibm.com/business-analytics.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
SPSS Collaboration and Deployment Services, SPSS Statistics Standard, SPSS Decision Management, IBM Netezza Data Warehouse Software, SPSS Modeler

Service:
Software Services for Business Analytics

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Corporation, Software Group, Route 100, Somers, NY 10589. Produced in the United States. September 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Let’s Build A Smarter Planet, Smarter Planet, Netezza and SPSS are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.