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Customer Experience

September 26th, 2009

CLM CASE STUDY: Agillic and Telenor SONOFON


Customer Lifecycle Management is a new approach to business that is taking the telecoms world by storm …

How CLM can Optimise Revenue in Today’s Telecoms Market

Customer Lifecycle Management is a new approach to business that is taking the telecoms world by storm. Its focus on delivering true one-to-one dialogues through targeted marketing campaigns has been instrumental in helping some operators drive up ARPU by 20% and reduce churn rates by between 40-60%. Is this the future of marketing? In this article, Georgia Hanias sheds light on the role of CLM in the wireless sector. It focuses on the success of Danish CLM provider Agillic and how the company’s technology has helped to improve the fortunes of GSM operator Telenor SONOFON.

End of Mass Marketing

In today’s telecoms savvy world it takes a lot more to keep a customer happy. With so much competition and services available, there is very little reason for any user to stand by an operator that isn’t delivering the best services with the best prices in town. Attracting customers and ensuring their loyalty is the main business objective for any operator wanting to compete in today’s advanced markets. But what if everyone seems to be offering the same services? Which operator will the customer choose as a life network provider, and most crucially, how will telecoms providers manage to control the cost of acquiring and retaining these loyal customers in the long run? The answer to these problems lies in the way in which operators are communicating with each of their customers.

With so many telecoms providers to choose from, customers have become immune to traditional and impersonal methods of marketing. Direct campaigns such as telemarketing and direct mails have been used in the past by most operators but they are now becoming too costly to run and are largely ineffective. They also give few options for differentiated marketing. In today’s competitive mobile world, a more individualised communication approach is needed to help create a one-to-one dialogue with each high value customer and to help win greater loyalty and trust for an operator’s brand.

More Customer Interaction

In the report The Enterprise Marketing Software Landscape, Surresh Vittal, senior analyst at Forrester research, confirms that any operator that tries to simply push offers onto customers rather than developing an individualised customer interaction is doomed to fail. “Inbound interactions- like an online transaction or a customer a customer service call- are initiated by a customer with a specific need. Firms must first ensure that the customer need is addressed by positioning offers or other marketing-driven content in the context of the interaction,” writes Surresh.

The report also stresses that Inbound channels of communications must not be used to simply shove more products towards the customers, as this merely creates negative customer experiences and lowers their satisfaction with their mobile operator. It also leads to greater attributions and ultimately degrades the company’s brand. “To avoid these potential pitfalls, firms should evaluate interaction management software which applies business rules and real-time analytics to a customer profile made up of historical and contextual data,” explains Surresh in the report.

Customer Life Cycle Management

John Strand, CEO of Strand Consulting in Denmark, supports the view of a more one to one dialogue with customers and stresses the role that this approach plays in today’s mobile world. He defines this individual approach as Customer Life Cycle Management (CLM). “Customer Life Cycle Management (CLM) is next generation CRM.  In the past, operators would just target customers with different messages to sell services. CLM is different. You are looking at things from a lifecycle perspective and you are focusing on the individual customer.  The big difference between CRM and CLM is that with CRM you are communicating to segments of users when you believe they need something. CLM is more about one to one communication- it’s about knowing what they want and delivering it when they want it.”

Through the use of real-time behavioural based marketing, CLM is a new innovation that is designed to enable operators to manage, evaluate and automate customer interactions to support one-to-one dialogues, based on user profiles and previous exchanges. The focus of CLM is to create a bond between the operator and the customer throughout the customer’s lifecycle so that the operator knows exactly what the customer wants and providing that service to them in real-time. This approach has consistently proven to lower churn and increase ARPU for customers.

Another big benefit of CLM is its ability to minimise customer acquisition and retention costs by using low-cost digital channels. This approach also offers low cost of ownership for the operator with a hosted solution that does not require network integration. The result is an easy to use system that provides a flexible, on-demand marketing tool that allows operators to gain full control over their programmes.

“CLM is a big step up from the traditional process of asking customers to fill out a profile sheet,” says John Strand. “Questionnaires and forms are not always reliable when comes to assessing customer preferences. Someone can write down they want to buy a Lamborghini in a questionnaire, but at the end, what do they buy? A Ford Fiesta! CLM is a much more effective way of not only understanding what the customer wants but also delivering what they can afford at the same time.  This information is figured out in the network’s database. With CLM, an operator can take every interaction that has taken place with each customer and apply special promotions and deals. This communication is triggered automatically when a customer repeats a pattern known to the system. So let’s say a user sends many texts in one day- the system can automatically generate a message back to that customer informing them that they can get a special deal on SMS.”

John mentions that one of the most successful companies to offer CLM technology is Agillic, a Danish enterprise set up seven years ago to provide an answer to failing revenues and customer disloyalty in the fiercely competitive mobile world. He states that “Agillic’s mindset is ahead of their competitors,” and that other providers can learn from Agillic’s “exceptional technology and customer support.”

Mikko Hietanen, CEO of Agillic, asserts that CLM can help operators become the masters of their own business fate. “Communications service providers want control over the future of their business. In today’s global markets this is difficult to achieve with so many competitors vying for the same customers,” Mikko says. “New products and services are continuously flooding the marketplace and making it increasingly difficult for operators to use them to prove their commercial superiority and to enhance user experiences. There is therefore a need for companies to find an alternative to adding customer value to their business. One way of achieving this result is by establishing a better relationship with the end user, a bond that can offer a real interaction with individual customers in a relevant and timely way. CLM can make this happen.”

Case Study: Telenor SONOFON

One of Agillic’s big success stories has been its collaboration with Danish GSM leader Telenor SONOFON, which deployed the company’s Pre-Paid and Post-Paid CLM solutions last year. Before implementing Agillic’s technology, Telenor SONOFON struggled to keep its subscribers away from the competition. ”Customers were migrating to other mobile operators with the belief that they could get better products and services at more competitive prices, without realising that Telenor SONOFON could offer them the same if not better,” explains Martin Kildgaard Nielson, CRM Manager from Telenor SONOFON. “This lack of customer loyalty was the result of our inability to communicate more effectively with each of our subscribers and to do so with cross channel synergy. We needed to address this serious challenge before we could improve our performance in the market.”

Agillic’s provided the foundation for launching a communications strategy that could manage both inbound and outbound communications with each customer. “Agillic’s CLM solution was exactly what we were looking for in a marketing system,” said Martin. “It was designed to support successful customer interactions by delivering one to one communication- a capability we were desperate to gain with our core customers. The solution also gave us the potential to build a relationship with each customer over time by learning from every dialogue.  It could also support real-time interaction, allowing us to react swiftly to customer behaviours. So if a user clicked on a web link we could automatically send out a message that was pertinent for that moment in time. All of these capabilities helped the company create a targeted marketing campaign that fit the user profile of each individual high value customer.”

With the help of Agillic’s CLM system, Telenor SONOFON’s pre-paid and post-paid programmes exceeded the company’s expectations. “Overall we are extremely impressed by Agillic’s system and the company’s dedication to our needs, said Martin.” When we evaluated all the marketing programmes we were running at the same time last year we noticed there was a 50 percent churn reduction with our loyalty programme and a 5 -10 percent increase in ARPU.  This was the biggest success of all of our marketing campaigns and it cost less than our other programmes.”

John Strand applauds Telenor SONOFON’s CLM approach to business.  “They are one of the few operators around that have maximised the potential of CLM. Telenor SONOFON don’t just apply CLM to services- they use it to sell devices as well. Cross selling and up selling is a good part of their business now.” He also adds his praise for Agillic’s technology. “Agillic is one of the few companies around that has a sound business case in CLM. Look at what Agillic has done for Telenor SONFON’s business. Telenor SONOFON now has the lowest churn rate in the Danish market. Because of low churn they have been able to maintain profitability and keep ahead of the competition.”

John expects that more telecoms providers will follow Telenor SONOFON’s path towards delivering a more individualised service to customers. “There is definitely a big market for CLM in the future,” he says. “Any intelligent operator who understands the importance of one to one dialog will want to invest in this technology.”

About the Author

Georgia Hanias

Georgia Hanias is a UK based freelance technology journalist and the founder f the media firm Cyrano Media Limited. She has written for manytelecommunications publications, including European Communications and Vanilla Plus and is also a contributing writer for the Canadian Press.Georgia recently completed a a three part series about Japan current affairsfor the ITN television news program More 4 in the UK. This included a news piece about the rise in popularity of targeted mobile advertisíng on mobilephones in Asia.

Georgia has many years experience in the telecommunications sector, having worked in marketing for Canadian firm Nortel Networks in Canada and Europe,as well as for smaller telecoms software providers such as Intec UK and France based VoluBill.

Born in Canada, Georgia graduated from Carleton University, Ottawa, with a degree in Political Science. She also has a masters degree in Public Policy from Queens University, Kingston, Canada.


Cyrano Media Ltd 

Georgia Hanias (founder)

Phone: +44 7812 211 403
[email protected]




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