Table of Contents
o Executive summary
o Telecomm industry
o What is CRM?
Scope for Telecom industry
Benefits to Telecom industry
o Future Avenues
CRM IN TELECOM INDUSTRY
The telecom industry in India has witnessed a transformation from a monolithic regime,
through an age of de-regulation and privatization; it has seen the rapid rise of market players
who offer innovative products and services. Faced with a growing market and increasing
competition, companies in the telecom business are adopting to new technological
imperatives in order to outperform their competitors. These companies adapt continuously to
the dynamic environment so as to survive competition. The emphasis here lies in identifying
critical value adding processes and redesigning them to become customer centric. IT is being
adopted to redefine the customer service parameters and for retaining customers. The ultimate
objective of technology consists in its applicability in targeting to right customers and
catering efficiently to their needs. One such practice which is being followed by the telecom
companies is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to help them compete in the
ever changing environment.
Thus in our IT project we have depicted use of customer relationship management in three
companies namely FIBCOM, Airtel & Vodafone.
FIBCOM depicting role of CRM in telecom industry considering B2B (business to business)
market whereas Airtel and Vodafone depicting role of CRM in B2C (business to customer)
market and how CRM helped them to survive in the competitive market.
Telecommunication is considered to be one of the prime support services needed for rapid
growth of any developing economy and is one of the fastest developing sectors in India.
This sector can be divided into two segments:
Fixed service providers : consist of basic services like national or domestic long
distance and international long distance services
Cellular service providers : It can be further divided into two categories:
Global system for mobile communication (GSM), &
Code division multiple access (CDMA).
In India, GSM sector is dominated by Airtel (Market leader 22% share, July 2013), Vodafone
and Idea Cellular, while CDMA sector is dominated by Reliance and Tata Indicom.
A decade ago, India was at the bottom of the pyramid in the world telecom market. But After
opening of the telecom sector for competition through liberalization, disinvestments, &
privatization initiatives adopted by the government of India, the industry, especially the
mobile segment is experiencing a tremendous growth and today we are the second largest
telecom market in the world.
The glory of Indian telecom is unparalleled. Extraordinary growth, exemplary innovation in
technology as well as services offered, constantly dropping prices of services, and a booming
subscriber base are some of the characteristics that define dynamics of this market today.
The Indian telecom sector offers unprecedented opportunities in various areas, such as rural
telephony, 3G, virtual private network, value-added services, etc. The industry is expected to
continue to record good subscriber growth as a result of low penetration levels, heightened
competition; a sustained fall in minimum subscription cost and tariff that increase
affordability for lower-income rural users, expansion of coverage area by mobile operators,
and government support through schemes such as the rural infrastructure roll out funded by
subsidies from the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
CRM is a system for managing a company’s interactions with Current and Future Customers.
It involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing,
customer service, and technical support. CRM addresses the Sales, Marketing and Service
activities of the organization. It is emerging as a critical strategy, since relationships are
coming to the forefront of competitive battlefield. The cost of acquiring a customer is six
times more than the cost of retaining them. Losing an existing customer is like losing a
Cost of retaining current customer
Cost of acquiring new customer
Cost of winning back lost customer
80 100 120
“Winning back a lost customer can cost up to 50-100 times
as much as keeping a current one satisfied.”
- Rob Yanker, Partner, McKinsey & Company
Treating customers like cattle is the antithesis of CRM, the goal of which is to recognize and
treat each customer as an individual. In competitive markets, where customers have a choice
between similar products and pricing, “70% decision making is based on how customers are
treated. Thus the embattled companies have now realized that without customers products
won’t sell and revenues won’t materialize and are thus becoming smarter about selling which
means smarter about who’s buying.
Scope for Telecom industry
With telecom industry nearing maturity, showing saturated growth, efficient CRM substitute
is essential, since customer attrition is high due to presence of close substitutes and near-zero
switching costs and service providers are trying to attract customers from competitors by
giving attractive offers. All this is making the switch-over process happen at the speed of
thought. The reasons for this switch over can be many:
Numerous tariff options available to customers,
Billing disputes with a particular vendor,
Quality of service provided
Inadequate network coverage
The problem of switchover is very high in prepaid segment, which accounts for the vast
majority of Indian cellular users. The key to prevent such shifts is to adjust to the everchanging customer needs, his behaviour and certain other issues that could indicate a
potential defection, for example: change of address, cancelled direct debits (automated bill
settlement), complaints made, and usage of volume declines. CRM is thus evolving as an
important tool not only to sustain the market share, build relationships but also to retain it.
Benefits to Telecom industry
Customer relationship management (CRM) is rapidly becoming an integral part of many
organizations. Successful implementation of CRM requires a strategic approach which
involves developing customer centric processes, selecting and implementing technology
solution, customer information and knowledge generation capabilities to differentiate them
and ability to learn from best practices. Various key construction of CRM are:
Customer Value: Customer value is a strategic weapon in attracting and retaining
customers. Delivering superior customer value has become a matter of ongoing
concern in building and sustaining competitive advantage by driving customerrelationship-management (CRM) performance.
Customer Satisfaction: At the basis of every long term relationship lays the customer
satisfaction. Evaluating customer satisfaction has become increasingly popular in the
last two decades. This popularity derives from the acceptance, that the satisfaction
construct is a predictor for repurchase intentions, word-of-mouth and loyalty.
Customer’s satisfaction is the base for business success.
Customer loyalty: Customer loyalty has always been valuable, but today it has
become more vital for success. Building customer loyalty is not a choice any longer
with businesses: it’s the only way of building sustainable competitive advantage.
CRM in Airtel:
In a telecom services company like Bharti, airtime is considered a product. “It is vital for us
to manage the expectations of our customers and provide them with innovative products and
services in a manner which makes them loyal,” explains Amrita Gangotra, Vice President of
Information Technology at Bharti. To achieve this, Bharti needed to have the appropriate
means. “To better serve our customers we needed a tool. It is this need that made us opt for a
CRM (customer relationship management) solution,” she says. Today Bharti is using the
Oracle CRM platform. “As part of our vision, we intend to provide Airtel services anywhere
and at any time. A customer should get the same quality of service no matter which of our
call centres he contacts. This has been our vision, and because of that we have gone in for a
centralised application like CRM,” Gangotra adds. The implementation of CRM also helped
Bharti in having a unified workflow and unified processes across the country.
Before choosing its CRM tool, Bharti evaluated many options. It considered factors like
proper workflow automation, facilitation of knowledge sharing, and integration with the
billing system. After a thorough evaluation, it decided to go ahead with the Oracle CRM
Need for CRM
Initially, when Bharti started operations, the whole system was run manually. “At that point
of time only 40% of our customer issues were getting resolved-this has now gone up to about
90%,” reveals Gangotra.
“It is vital for us to manage the expectations of our customers and provide them with
innovative products and services in a manner which makes them loyal,” explains Gangotra.
To achieve this, Bharti needed the right tools. “It is this need that made us opt for a CRM
(customer relationship management) solution,” she says.
Gangotra says it is important to understand and segregate customer needs depending on the
product and services he is buying. “One of the primary things that we have done in this
solution is the segmentation of customers. With this, Airtel is now able to give its customers
more value for money,” she says. With the help of CRM, they are able to provide customers
different schemes and services depending on airtime usage. If the customer is a heavy user
then they have some specific schemes; for normal users they have other schemes. Apart from
this, they have also managed to segregate their workflow with the help of the CRM tool.
Initially, when Bharti started operations, the whole system was run manually. “At that point
of time only 40 percent of our customer issues were getting resolved—this has now gone up
to about 90 percent,” reveals Gangotra.
Strategy has also played a major role in improving customer service at Airtel. After
starting its services in Delhi, Bharti acquired lot of circles and sought new licences in
other circles; whenever they got a new licence, they implemented the CRM tool
immediately. But they had to put in a migration strategy in those acquired circles
which had an existing subscriber base. “The migration had to be done in such a
manner that the existing customer base did not suffer; we have already completed this
in 14 of the 15 circles that we operate in,” says Gangotra. All the circles will go live
by the first quarter of 2004.
The biggest challenge for Bharti was to have a unified process in place. Once this was
done they faced the challenge of imparting training. “When you go in for such a
large-scale implementation you will definitely have problems,” says Gangotra. “We
also had certain technical difficulties during implementation, but we were able to
The CRM strategy at Airtel revolves around two aspects: operational CRM and
analytical CRM. The first is about helping their call centres in the workflow part,
helping them in their day-to-day activities. The second provides staff with the
required information on customers; this is used for business development activities.
Together they help Bharti provide better services to its customers.
Today Bharti is using the Oracle CRM platform. “As part of our vision, we intend to
provide Airtel services anywhere and at any time. A customer should get the same
quality of service no matter which of our call centres he/she contacts. This has been
our vision, and because of that we have gone in for a centralised application like
CRM, “Gangotra adds. Before choosing its CRM tool, Bharti evaluated many options.
It considered factors like proper workflow automation, facilitation of knowledge
sharing, and integration with the billing system. After a thorough evaluation exercise,
it decided to go ahead with the Oracle CRM platform.
Gangotra says it is important to understand and segregate customer needs depending
on the product and services he is buying. “One of the primary things that we have
done in this solution is the segmentation of customers. With this, Airtel is now able to
give its customers more value for money,” she says. With the help of CRM, they are
able to provide customers different schemes and services depending on airtime usage.
If the customer is a heavy user then they have some specific schemes; for normal
users they have other schemes. Apart from this, they have also managed to segregate
their workflow with the help of the CRM tool.
Results of implementing CRM:
The ultimate purpose of CRM, like any organizational initiative, is to increase profit. In the
case of CRM this is achieved mainly by providing a better service to your customers than
your competitors. CRM not only improves the service to customers though; a good CRM
capability will also reduce costs, wastage, and complaints. Effective CRM also reduces staff
stress, because attrition - a major cause of stress - reduces as services and relationships
CRM enables instant market research as well: opening the lines of communications with
customers gives direct constant market reaction to the products, services and performance, far
better than any market survey. Good CRM also helps to grow business: customers stay
longer; customer churn rates reduce; referrals to new customers increase from increasing
numbers of satisfied customers; demand reduces on fire-fighting and trouble-shooting staff,
and overall the organization’s service flows and teams work more efficiently and more
happily, as cited in the case of Airtel Magic at Bharti.
CRM in Vodafone:
Vodafone Group have a customer over 411 million. It operates over more than 30 countries
and in over 40 countries they are network partners.
It has a share of 45% of Verizon Wireless, which is the largest mobile phone company in the
United States has in terms of subscribers.
CRM has helped Vodafone in achieving the following tasks:
Customer Identification – Vodafone has been able to provide significance to their
customers, by determining their customer from different marketing channels, dealings
and time interactions.
Customer differentiation – They have been able to ascertain customer values of
different customers and understand the need of each buyer, their demands which are
unique and their different company requirements.
Customer Interaction - Customer wants change all over time. From a perspective of
CRM, the continuing profitability of customers and their relationship with the
company is very important. Vodafone has been able to know the client company
continuously and to track performance and customer needs.
Customization or Personalization - "Treat every customer differently" is the slogan of
the whole process of CRM. By personalizing the customer satisfaction, Vodafone has
achieved increased loyalty to their company
Use of E CRM:
E-CRM describes a wide variety of technologies used to maintain the CRM strategy. E-CRM
is also occasionally referred to as Web-enabled or e-CRM. It has been defined as “web centric
approach used to synchronize customer relationship between the communication channels
along with business functions and also for the public.
The objective of e-CRM systems is to improve service to customers, retain valued customers
and contribute to analysis capabilities within an organization. CRM applications take full
advantage of technological innovations to raise their capacity and analysis of data on the
habits of Internet users which helps to construe customer behaviour, grow predictive models
that respond in a timely and capable personalized communications and provide high quality
products and services to individual consumers. By using technology to increase the
interaction with business customers Vodafone has a full view of customer interactions from
the past to optimize future learning. E-CRM helped Vodafone in coordination of all
interactions with customers through multiple channels like telephone, Fax or email. It has
also enabled the business to improve productivity and maximize the capabilities of the
automation of workflow services revenue. E CRM allows to manage each call. Sales are now
connected automatically to the current and potential clients on the basis of knowledge of
services and the availability of the product. Customers can know the status of a call, or may
subscribe request information on the status of application.
E CRM helps to develop practices for individual analysis and personalized communication
interactions. Vodafone can identify segments of the relationship with the client to understand
the needs and preferences and create targeted marketing to provide special offers to certain
segments of customers. It also helps to monitor customer feedback and learn the lessons for
future campaigns and customers shopping behaviour. Needs of management processes and
existing methods are offered in the service changes and the quality of service for customers is
improved. This allows them to communicate properly with the client. Continuous interaction
with customers helps to continue the development of activities in the long term relationship.
Result of implementing CRM:
The main and overall result is that the new CRM solution has helped Vodafone to reduce
annual customer churn. CRM solution has helped Vodafone employees to synchronize &
coordinate all customer interactions across multiple channels, including telephone, e-mail,
face to face, post & fax. The CRM solution has also enabled employees to improve customer
service, increase productivity and maximize revenues.
The workflow automation capabilities of the CRM solution have enabled the company to
manage each and every one of these calls efficiently and professionally. Sales agents are now
automatically connected to customers and prospects based on product & service expertise,
named account, availability and geography. They can also check the status of a calling
subscribers’ request or inform him/her of the status of the request. Call scripting and profiling
further improved agent productivity.
CRM in Fibcom:
Fibcom India Limited is a part of the telecom ventures of the Suri Group. The company was
established in 1994 and is a leader in optical transmission products (SDH/DWDM),
integrated network solutions and telecom infrastructure development projects. Fibcom is
backed by a strong SDH / DWDM product portfolio, R&D center and manufacturing
infrastructure, located at Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The company also has sales and support
offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Their Business Domain Includes :
Sales & Services
Research & Development
Problems and challenges
FIBCOM is a telecommunication equipment manufacturer dealing with optical multiplexers.
It was earlier having a tie‐up with Tellabs Inc., a global telecommunication company that
designs, develops and supports telecommunication networking products.
However, in 2010 FIBCOM and Tellabs Inc.’s technical collaboration terminated. FIBCOM
started working on indigenous technology and developed its very own software platform and
Implemented its firmware and network management system on all its new products. It started
Receiving complaints about Product stability issues during software up‐gradation, visibility
NMS (Craft Terminal & NMS). This increased the cost of operation for FIBCOM, as multiple
visits of the service engineers on the same location lead to a tremendous increase in operating
expense. New orders were drying up & sales funnel was squeezing. Soon it became difficult
to maintain a large number of technical managers and engineers locally in each
telecommunication circle because the engineers had to be paid salaries and in addition to this,
huge amounts for travelling bills were incurred by the company, which lead to a crisis.
Thus, to manage its interaction with current and future customers, FIBCOM implemented
Customer Relationship Management tool. It started using CRM to organize, automate and
Synchronize sales, marketing, customer service and technical support.
Implementation of CRM
to data input
the system on
To effectively capture and manage customer, partner, and employee data, FIBCOM had to
develop and communicate enterprise‐wide information strategy aligned with their corporate
strategy and implement a corresponding set of people, processes, and technological initiatives
along with a phased implementation strategy. Fibcom aligned the implementation strategy to
its corporate goals.
The next step was to identify the critical data fields that were both required as well as
strategic, developing the information repository or database by integrating into their legacy
systems, establishing appropriate information views for employees, train their employees on
the data input requirements, link the employee performance to ensure that they’re utilizing
that system effectively, and to, of course, go back and re‐evaluate the system to see how its
performing against the original goals and objectives that they developed before implementing
Apart from serving the customers in the best possible manner following are some major
reasons to implement CRM:
Memory is not perfect: With a CRM it was easy to store and manage hundreds of
clients and let a computer system handle the task of memory and recall.
Emails are decentralized: A customer relations management system puts all the
pertinent client information in one central location that was easy to update and easy to
see when other's updated. All communication can be kept in one spot, nothing gets
lost and can be seen and share with the rest of the team.
We need metrics: CRM gave instant metrics on dozens of aspects to the business.
Plus, with a CRM it can actually create custom reports to better track metrics and
reports specific to their needs.
History is important: Customer relations systems helped keep all the conversations
with customers in one place and made it easy for the organisation to quickly look
back in time and see how things have progressed.
Track our tasks and events: CRM not only helped in keeping track of every task and
every event but also related them to the appropriate customer or lead.
Results of implementing CRM
Improved Customer intimacy.
Timely resolution of issues. (Within the defined SLAs)
Reduced expenses (due to less manpower & less travelling required)
Single Point of Contact for customers.
Greater customer Satisfaction.
Enhanced customer loyalty.
Improved Feedback and controlling systems
Cloud is one of the 'in things', full of great promises, which looks set to bring significant
changes in the existing CRM landscape. Today, moving CRM systems to the 'cloud' is one of
the most important topics of interest for organizations using CRM. However, they are taking
cautious steps in this journey. An understandable approach when it involves a new technology
trend that brings a disruptive change to the existing working models. On one hand, the idea of
reduced/minimal accountability (of maintaining infrastructure that supports CRM), ease of
system provisioning and access, and lower TCO for CRM systems seem to be strong pull
factors for Cloud-based CRM solutions. Data security, especially in public clouds, and
amount of control and flexibility organizations can have in relation to their CRM systems,
more so in a multi-tenant setup, are the major concerns that cause organizations to hesitate in
choosing the cloud option. To arrive at an appropriate decision, it's important that today's IT
teams gather a clear understanding of the different cloud-based options available for CRM.
Analysts forecast the Global Telecom Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market to
grow at a CAGR of 5.58% over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to
this market growth is the increasing demand from small and medium-sized enterprises in the
Telecom sector. The Global Telecom CRM market has also been witnessing an increasing
demand for customized telecom CRM solutions. However, the presence of complex tools and
workflows in CRM software could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.
The key vendors dominating this space include Amdocs Systems Inc., Avaya Inc., Infor
Global Solutions, Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., Salesforce.com Inc., and SAP AG.
To cultivate continued, profitable business among the best customers - an organization needs
to know how to reward them. It is also important to understand which segments of customers
are dormant and will come back later.
CRM solutions provide this transparency for customer information in an organized and
efficient way. Escalations, enforcement rules and alerts ensure alignment with business
strategies and an ongoing process to remain updated on customer details and specific needs.
Collaborative products and services are the future for mutually profitable relationships
between enterprises and their customers.
6. http://www.fibcom.com/ (Company’s official website)
9. Kenneth C Laudon & Jane Laudon, Management Information Systems‐Managing the
digital firm, 12th edition.