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Understanding Telecom By Using Voice Of Customer

In today's digital era, technologies have enabled consumers with unprecedented powers which allow them to compare prices, find deals and voice opinions

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By the time Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, took to the stage of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 1st of September 2016, it was known that with the launch of Jio, the Indian Telecom industry was about to be shaken to its very core. Following this announcement, there was a flood of tweets on the micro-blogging site targeted towards the Indian telecom industry.

Since the launch, there have been countless reports and articles on the web that aim to provide detailed insights of the financial impact on the incumbent telecom players but there aren't many articles that capture the change or shift in consumer discussions. In this digital era, a lot of these discussions are happening on social media sites, especially Twitter, where consumers are freely voicing their opinions and/or expressing their concerns.

Using ATOM (Automated Text Organizing Machine) platform, we picked and analyzed thousands of tweets targeted towards major telecom players to see how customers rated their experience since the launch of Jio and what implications that could have going forward. Amongst many others, our initial analysis on customer activity revealed that there was a considerable increase in overall activity on Twitter, with telecom targeted tweets increasing by almost two folds during the Dec'16 quarter alone. Below are some of the more key findings.

- After the launch of Jio, the number of total tweets increased by more than 83% in the Dec'16 quarter.
- Customer activity for Airtel and Vodafone increased by 90% and 66% respectively since the Jio launch.
- Tweets targeted towards Jio have increased by 48% since the announcement of Prime Membership.

The analysis also indicated that while Jio was able to garner considerable consumer interest on Twitter during its free period, it has been able to sustain that momentum after announcing paid services.

For a large, extremely competitive and all-pervasive industry such as the Indian Telecom Industry, capturing and analyzing the Voice of Customer (VOC) is an extremely important input for the management to devise new operational strategies especially if the industry is facing a tactical shift after the entry of a new player. We used the AI-powered platform to extract the contextual information from the tweets in order to identify the topics of conversations. The data showed that after Jio, there was a considerable shift in consumer expectations from telecom service providers. An increased number of users were tweeting about price and promotions offered as against connectivity. Below are some of the more findings from the report.

- Connectivity as a topic of conversation fell from 51% in the Dec'16 quarter to 37% in Mar'17 quarter.
- Post Jio, price and promotions were increasingly discussed resulting in increase of 4% and 6% in the Mar'17 quarter as compared to Dec'16

Lastly, we also performed the overall sentiment analysis on the incumbent players and Jio to gain an overview of the wider public opinion as social media sentiments shifts are known to correlate with the shifts in the market. Below are some of the results.

- Jio's customer sentiments have remained stable at positive 64% since the launch.

- Airtel's positive sentiments have moved up from 44% to 59% after the launch of its aggressively priced offers.

- Positive sentiments for Vodafone have continued to remain under 50% since the launch of Jio.

Summing up, findings from the ATOM powered Twitter analysis suggest that Jio was able to bring a renewed customer activity on social media platforms by offering audacious free services followed by cheap data and free voice calls for the life. It was also able to considerably shift the rhetoric of consumer discussion away from Connectivity to Price, Promotions and Apps. Not so surprisingly though, large incumbent players like Airtel and Vodafone faired differently on the overall consumer sentiments barometer which can be attributed to the different level of aggression displayed by each of these brands in countering Jio's offers.

In today's digital era, technologies have enabled consumers with unprecedented powers which allow them to compare prices, find deals and voice opinions. In Telecom, like in any other consumer business, it is customers who play kingmaker and the entry of Jio has forced the executives of the incumbent players back into their board rooms to constantly come up with new strategies to survive in the hypercompetitive landscape. Social engagements and strategic data analytics allow organisations to stay closer to the ground and it can serve as a vital input to draw a future roadmap for launching new products.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Manas Agrawal

Manas Agrawal is the CEO of Affine Analytics Private Limited. Manas has 15+ years of professional experience in the field of Analytics, BI and IT. Prior to Affine, Manas has worked with IBM, Dell and Mu Sigma, including one year of experience as an entrepreneur in the service industry. He has worked in the roles of solution design, engagement management and people management. Manas has done his B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

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