Technological innovations have changed the face of many industries in recent years but few have experienced the incredible scale of changes seen in the Telecoms sector. With smartphones increasingly replacing landlines and traditional phones and internet usage switching dramatically to mobile, today’s customers have very different requirements from even just a few years ago. The industry is also being disrupted by a significant number of new players in the market, from instant messaging services to social networks, and, most recently the emergence of Google as a potential Telecoms force with its recently launched new mobile network service, Google Fi.
As an entirely new player, Google is switching up the telecom industry by offering not only the ability to make calls via Wi-Fi, but also a seamless switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data connections. Additionally, the internet giant claims to not only offer more comprehensive pricing than its established competitors, but also refunds on unused data.
Major industry events like the entry of a powerful new player into the market or the launch of a new disruptive product by existing competitors, should be carefully tracked by companies in every industry, but especially in telecoms - where product differentiation is challenging and crucial to customer acquisition and retention.
Social listening can help PR & Communications teams of telecoms companies save time and better understand their social performance, but also give valuable business intelligence to other departments such as market research, research and development, risk management, and product development.
In this how-to guide, we used the example of the Google Fi Project and its impact on the telecoms market to outline how social media monitoring can help telecoms providers gain a competitive edge. Our 5 essentials will give you insights into how to leverage from social listening to: keep up with new industry trends and identify potential threats early on, gather competitive intelligence, refine your company’s market positioning and product development strategy and keep up with latest changes from regulators.
Competitive intelligence is a key source of information to see which ideas are driving technological developments within an industry. Understanding innovation driven by competitors is essential for telecoms providers to keep up with the latest changes and developments, while keeping up with customer conversations enables them to understand the motivation behind those changes. By analysing sentiment and understanding their own performance on the web, they are able to see what added value competitors have to offer, enabling them to improve their own USPs and adapt their positioning. These insights could be key for successful brand differentiation in the market.
After a new product or a new player is announced on the market, companies need to know how people are reacting to it. Gauging public sentiment helps companies determine customer reaction to a new product, giving other players insights into customer preferences and desires. This, in turn, enables them to adapt their own product strategies to meet customer needs. In the fast-paced telecoms market, being able to react to such changes quickly by drafting new product strategies or extending existing offers is key to ensuring customer loyalty and reducing churn rates.
A look at the sentiment for different telecoms providers over a period of 30 days between the beginning of April and the beginning of May shows that there are large differences in the positive and negative perception of the individual companies. While Verizon enjoys more than 35% positive sentiment, compared to 11% negative, this is reversed for Orange. Project Fi is off to a comparatively good start with positive mentions accounting for 13% of the conversation, compared to 11% for negative mentions.
A closer looks shows that a lot of the positive mentions for Verizon stem from the company’s #Never Settle campaign, which called on customers to not settle for anything other than optimum network quality. Negative sentiment for Orange, on the other hand, soared after allegations surfaced that the company was involved in the Gaza conflict.
With almost 100,000 mentions in total, Google’s new product was discussed more extensively than established telecom companies such as Vodafone or AT&T over the same period. The pure number of mentions serves as an indicator of potential interest in the new service. Based on this, other players in the market can see if new services or parts of new offers are especially interesting to their customer base. Digging deeper into the conversation then allows them to see which specific parts of those offers are discussed most extensively and use the data found to analyse these conversations for their own product development.