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Survey Says: How to Communicate Most Effectively with the Empowered Subscriber

The increasingly digital consumer lifestyle, fueled by explosive growth in the use of the internet, mobile technologies and social media, has given rise to the empowered customer. With access to more information, choices, and opportunities, consumers across all industries are in a position to demand not only what they want, but also where and how they want it.

For communications service providers (CSPs) in particular, the digital shift has flipped the operational model on its head, as it is no longer about how CSPs drive subscriber interactions with the network; it is now all about how CSPs embrace digital transformation to create extraordinary online experiences for their subscribers. How they communicate with and engage subscribers is a key component.

In a study conducted by 451 Research and commissioned by Nominum, now part of Akamai, we set out to gauge consumer attitudes toward new forms of digital engagement for CSPs. As the results indicate, subscribers show a strong preference for in-browser messaging for a variety of communications needs over email and other methods, as outlined below:

  1. 86% of subscribers prefer IN-BROWSER MESSAGING for important security alerts, as well as advice on how to fix problems
  2. 83% are willing to be notified for the purpose of BILLING AND PAYMENTS
  3. 83% of customers also place importance on proactive alerts for CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IMPROVEMENTS
  4. 61% are willing to accept notifications of NEW SERVICES such as paid content and on-demand video services
  5. 30% are willing to accept relevant offers from THIRD-PARTY ADVERTISERS

The reasons for this shift in attitudes about engagement and communications are rooted in trends tied to the digital era. Today's consumers are almost always online and expect self-directed, on-demand, two-way engagement--anywhere, on any device. In-browser messaging is the ideal way to meet these demands and achieve the 'subscriber communications trifecta'--that is, reaching the right customer with the right message at the right time.

Closing the Subscriber Communications Gap
While CSPs provide an email address to subscribers, the majority of communications to this account is ineffective. According to 451 Research, on average 64% of respondents stated that they have a CSP-provided email address, but nearly one-quarter (22%) of respondents said they never check this account, and 40% check it just once per month. Over half (53%) of respondents stated that important emails end up in spam folders, and the data also shows that 62% of respondents said they receive too many emails from businesses.

On the other hand, in-browser communications are proven to generate a 90% view rate among the target audience within 24 hours of being sent. This type of personalized digital communications can also encompass new rich-media engagement options, including videos, surveys and feature-rich web landing pages that are delivered to a subscriber's digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Not only are customers generally willing to accept these communications, but they also deliver 5-15 times higher conversion rates compared with other communication methods.

Providers use in-browser messages for a wide variety of purposes, with measurable results. These messages complement other communication methods, depending on the use case. Enabling subscribers to pay their bill online or schedule automatic payments, directing infected or at-risk subscribers to safety tools, and sending reminders so subscribers can confirm, cancel or move their service appointments are all instances where in-browser messaging has proven effective. Additionally, it can be a tool for generating incremental revenue with improved cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

As digital experiences represent a revolutionary shift in the brand-customer relationship, service providers must make critical adjustments to the customer experience in a manner that accounts for and aligns with this overall digital shift. In-browser messaging is a powerful medium for CSPs to engage with customers in a trusted, meaningful way that increases brand loyalty.