The report is based on a Sri Lankan Company (SRI LANKA ABC PLC) which is main player in the telecommunication industry in the company. The report focuses on its consumer or rather customer experience and its relevant theoretical view.
Task one of the assignment is a report which gives a brief insight of the company while the rest focuses on the customer expectations when the company intervenes amongst customers in terms of online and offline. In order to evaluate that, an adapted version of customer journey mapping has been implemented. Concluding task one, is an evaluation of importance of branding to SRI LANKA ABC PLC which has been executed using the brand resonance model of Keller.
Task two – the report aims on customer experience of SRI LANKA ABC PLC significantly. An evaluation of the customer experience model has been implemented and a brief explanation of each component has been given. Furthermore, RATER model has been used to evaluate how SRI LANKA ABC PLC can help the organization to improve the digital customer experience. At the latter part is brief discussion of how digital technology could improve SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s people, process and promotional elements of SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s marketing mix.
Task three is a discussion paper which focuses around online customer experience and market research methods that could be used to measure the effectiveness of online customer experience.
Sri Lanka ABC PLC is a Public limited company that is one of the Sri Lanka’s most valuable blue chip companies that are listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. The company’s market capitalization as at 31 December 2013 topped Rs.80 Billion. The two main shareholders of Sri Lanka Telecom as at year end were the government of Sri Lanka which held 52% Global Telecommunication Holdings N.V. of Netherlands, which owned a 44.98% stake. According to the SRI LANKA ABC PLC annual report 2015, SRI LANKA ABC PLC Group achieved revenue of Rs. 65.04. Bn, displaying a growth of 10%, Group PBT increased 12% from Rs.5.85 billion to Rs.7.36 Billion .Group profit for the year increased around 10% from Rs.3.92 billion to Rs.5.41 billion.
The SRI LANKA ABC PLC Group has mainly segmented its customer base as cited in Figure 2 While the Domestic consumers contribute 56% of the total revenue of the company, the rest is provided by the corporates which includes SME’s, retailers and large scaled corporates. Sri Lanka Telecom has a significant 4% market share from the total fixed line customer base in Sri Lanka which includes both Fixed Wire Line (SRI LANKA ABC PLC Megaline) and CDMA (SRI LANKA ABC PLC Citylink) services.
- SRI LANKA ABC PLC Landline and Mobile communication services
- Broadband facility (High speed internet and dongles)
- Internet television service facility
Sri Lanka ABC PLC competes in an oligopolistic natured industry where the company owns 38% of the total market share of the telecommunication industry in Sri Lanka. The following companies are the rest of the players who compete with SRI LANKA ABC PLC aggressively for the limited aggregate customer base in the market.
|Dialog||Dialog Axiata PLC||Controls the majority of the telecommunication industry having 46% of market share|
|Hutch||Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Pvt) Ltd||04% of the total market|
|Airtel||Bharti Airtel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd||12% of the total market share|
Customer experience has been given a great importance by many scholars in the recent years as they perceive customer experience as a new method of competing in the market (Pine and Gilmore 1998; Shaw and Ivens 2002; Meyer and Schwager 2007). They further suggested that the consumer will undergo through a process of experience despite the type of products and services they purchase (Carbone and Haeckel 1994).
In order to identify how SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s online and offline interactions affect consumer experience, customer journey map can be utilized. Customer journey mapping is a method of identifying the key processes that the customer encounters when they interact with the organization (CSE Standard Cabinet Office). The following figure illustrates SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s customer journey map briefly.
Online consumer groups
Online consumer review communities
Online subscription of services
Visit retail stores
|Online Consumer Group|
|Online review community|
|Online subscription of services|
The above table illustrates how SRI LANKA ABC PLC intervenes with the customers in terms of online and offline interactions at present.
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers (American Marketing Association). In order to access how branding could impact SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s customers, Keller’s brand resonance model can be taken in to consideration. The model would ensure identification of the brand with customers and relationship of the brand in customer’s minds.
1.3.1 Brand resonance model in context of SRI LANKA ABC PLC
Positive accessible reaction
Points of parity and differences
Identity – Identity refers to brand awareness of the company. SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s brand awareness in terms of online interactions at present remains to be low. However, the following tactics have been used by the company to increase brand awareness.
Company Website and Social media profiles – SRI LANKA ABC PLC has integrated their brand and its vision together in the website and in their respective social media platforms in order to increase consumer awareness and brand recalling capability of the brand
Company mobile app – The app has fully themed with the colors of the brand and logo in order to familiarize the brand with the consumer mindset as much as possible.
Meaning – How the brand is distinctive from its competing brands in the respective industries is showcased from this step
Online promotional campaigns – Online web banners in telecommunication and mobile app websites and social media campaigns are utilized to differentiate the company from the competitors.
Response – How consumers perceive about the brand based on their feelings and judgments
Online consumer review communities – Reliable and real situation experiences of consumers who use SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s services are traded off. This has a significant impact on SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s brand as the number of audience who use online platforms is completely high
Relationships – The relationship between the consumer and the brand is defined from this step
Social media – The distinct relationship between the brand and consumers is managed through social media presence of the brand. At present even though the company shows a presence, the level of interaction remains to be vitally low
Customer experience is a personal interpretation of the service process and their interaction with it through the given touch points provided by the company (Ding et al 2010, Johnston and Clark 2008). The following customer experience model will elaborate how SRI LANKA ABC PLC manages their consumer touch points in brief.
The above adapted customer experience model for SRI LANKA ABC PLC can be briefly evaluated as following in related to how the company’s consumer experience components are integrated with the company’s digital offering.
|Component||SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s digital offering||Explanation|
|Experiential||SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s activities which are executed while the consumer is involving with the brand digitally|
|Physical||Physical elements mentioned are permanent consumer experience elements which focus on continuous customer digital engagement with the brand.|
|Setting||All the daily activities which are manageable and aimed on the atmosphere of the digital offerings of the company|
|Functional||Focuses on convenience of implementing business activities through digital media|
|Technical||Level of expertise which is required to manage the integrated social and digital media platforms in order to ensure smooth consumer online services|
|Operational||Involves SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s implementations which are executed before, during and after managing consumers through online|
This section mainly refers on how SRI LANKA ABC PLC can improve its digital propositions offered to the customers through improving its quality widely. Quality is the extent to which commodities meet the requirements of the consumers at the start of its life (ISO 9000); which in SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s case, how consumer digital requirements are met by its online platforms.
Below RATER model will be thus used to identify how SRI LANKA ABC PLC can improve its digital offerings to the consumer.
Reliability – This focuses on accuracy of the service and thus increases the ability to depend on it. SRI LANKA ABC PLC can adapt the following implications in order to ensure reliability of their services.
SRI LANKA ABC PLC Website – SRI LANKA ABC PLC needs to identify that their company’s website does not give the consumer a proper image as the website has no efficient management system. The website should focus on daily updates rather than once in a while supervision in order to give more credible and less-obsolete information to the consumer.
Mobile app – The mobile application of SRI LANKA ABC PLC does not completely integrate with the company’s main digital campaigns which misleads the users in many aspects. Thus a comprehensive knowledge portal should be fully integrated with the app in order for the consumer to ensure the ability to involve with the brand 24/7 without any hassle
Assurance – Aims on expertise and manners of the employees when building trust and brand confidence in consumers
Social Media platforms – Initial trust on brand should be built using the primary social media platforms in order to ensure that high number of audience is exposed. As many potential consumers do not tend to visit SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s website at first, necessary reliable information should be given to them through the social media platforms which would result a high tendency of building brand confidence within consumers’ subconscious.
SRI LANKA ABC PLC Website – The Company should make sure that the consumers who visit their website makes at least a single purchase or bill payments within the given time in order to guarantee continuous generation of income through the website. As consumers are generally afraid to involve in online financial transactions due to the given high stakes, SRI LANKA ABC PLC needs to integrate and promote necessary online mechanisms to manage it.
Tangibles – Identification of physical appearance and equipment which could be used to improve quality
Mobile app – The basic structure of the mobile application of SRI LANKA ABC PLC should be simpler and less complex as the App should be aimed on from the user from the rural village to the high end corporate party.
Digital portals in outlets – SRI LANKA ABC PLC needs to identify that, consumers now a day prefer interaction with digital tools rather than communicating with a sales personnel. Thus, having digital tabs and portal boards within SRI LANKA ABC PLC retail store outlets can improve customer attraction levels and on the other hand, the cost per customer handling can be reduced.
Empathy – Focused on customized individual attention given to the customer
Social Media platforms – SRI LANKA ABC PLC should ensure that they use their Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media profiles to cater to each individual query on a customized basis. The Company needs to expect that through this, customer online retention rate will be kept above the par and increase digital brand awareness of the company.
Responsiveness – Aimed on specific and swift assistance from the Company to the consumers
SRI LANKA ABC PLC Website and Digital media profiles – Even though SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s website and social media platforms receive significant amount of inquiries from the existing customers, the level of responsiveness remains to be low. Consumers usually expect 24*7 services from any company who showcases its digital presence despite the industry which they are competing in. Thus, SRI LANKA ABC PLC needs to integrate their website and digital media platforms with suitable expert personnel to evade the issue of high consumer digital churn rate
2.3 How digital technology can be used to enhance people, processes and promotional elements of SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s marketing mix
This section focuses on how SRI LANKA ABC PLC can leverage on digital technology to improve people, processes and promotional elements.
Many customers cannot separate the product or service from the staff member who provides it, so the people will have a profound effect on customer satisfaction (CIM, 2015)
SRI LANKA ABC PLC could use following digital implications to improve Company’s people element.
- Integration of IT and marketing department
Evidently, SRI LANKA ABC PLC needs to identify the importance of digital marketing in order to increase digital brand awareness of the company. Thus, the employees need to be improved in terms of Digital marketing concepts, and should be familiarized with web and mobile based consumer touch point tools for an efficient and effective digital marketing strategy.
- Online webinars
Webinars which are conducted online related to social media and training related to digital media can be used by SRI LANKA ABC PLC to develop skills of the employees in the company in a more attractive an effective manner. This could further assist in well expert front line employees who have the ability to resolve online queries without transferring the decision making procedure to the IT department.
- Real time communication with professionals
SRI LANKA ABC PLC could use online live chats with professional digital media handlers in order to give employees complete and comprehensive real-scene situational training. Employees will then be able to use the provided experiential learning when confronting with online consumers in different situations such as online tutorials, FAQ (frequently asked questions) and consumer review pages.
Many customers no longer simply purchase a product; they invest in an entire experience that starts from the moment they discover the brand and lasts through purchase and beyond (CIM, 2015). This simply means the procedures which deliver consumer satisfaction are vital for the organization throughout the entire customer experience.
The following suggestions will directly impact on SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s processes as high level of digital integration would increase aggregate efficiencies in general.
- Investment on new equipment
At present, considering the wastage of the prevailing equipment; managing of it would be highly ineffective as investing on new technology would be much more profitable. Thus digital technology related to new equipment will increase SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s ability to compete in the telecommunication industry more competitively.
- Use of virtual software to train consumers
In order to SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s operations to be much smoother, the company could use virtual software to train consumers beforehand the real retail store or service experience of SRI LANKA ABC PLC. This can reduce the friction and complexity of process systems which would directly cause SRI LANKA ABC PLC to experience reduction in operational costs in each retail outlet.
Promotion is the way a company communicates what it does and what it can offer consumers. It generally involves advertising, PR, corporate identity and sales management (CIM, 2015). However in the case of SRI LANKA ABC PLC, the following digital involvement can be suggested for SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s promotional mix.
- Mobile application
Even though SRI LANKA ABC PLC currently owns a mobile application, as mentioned earlier the mobile application does not fully communicate to the consumers regarding the company’s information. Therefore, the company should focus on integration of the organizational generic strategic framework with the mobile application in order to give the consumers a sense of brand engagement.
- Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and consumer generated content pages)
SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s current social media profiles do not clearly cater to consumer needs of information. However, the company’s tendency to increase their competitiveness in terms of the online consumer segment should be taken into consideration highly as in the next few years; the dominant revenue generation source of telecommunication companies is expected to be from online and social media platforms.
- Video blogs and professional tutorial videos
Exceeding the consumer expectation of written word of communication in online platforms, the company can build a consumer video blog site which none of the competitors have implemented yet. Through this video blogs, professional opinions and tutorials of opinion leaders and experts could increase brand awareness of SRI LANKA ABC PLC and create a new brand image for SRI LANKA ABC PLC.
Task 03 – The Discussion Paper
This paper includes a brief introduction on why SLT should measure and monitor online customer experience. Its further explains in both customers’ and SLT’s perspectives. The second part of the paper shows the methods that SLT could use to analyze online customer experience. There it discusses both primary and secondary research methods can be used. The latter part shows how SLT can improve its digital offerings to enhance online customer experience.
- SLT’s mobile app does not include all the services
- The SLT’s website loads slowly
- SLT’s website has a complex design
Recommendations to overcome issues
- Make the app available in Windows store and iTunes
- Design the app including all the services
- Schedule the Facebook posts
- That improves customer satisfaction
When SRI LANKA ABC PLC monitors the online customer experience of its customers that make them to be satisfied throughout the entire customer journey. That means from the point where customers identify SRI LANKA ABC PLC as a good communication partner to the point where they make purchases they’d be satisfied.
- It helps customers to build up strong relationship
Customers always expect individual attention by the company they interact with. So when SRI LANKA ABC PLC monitors and measures its customer experience they tend to enhance the customer experience always. It makes the customers to have what they deserve and increase the relationship with SRI LANKA ABC PLC.
- Customers’ perception towards SRI LANKA ABC PLC is increased
When SRI LANKA ABC PLC always monitors and measures the online customer satisfaction they ensure that the customers’ desires are fulfilled. This may direct customers to have positive attitudes towards SRI LANKA ABC PLC and treat the company in a favorable manner with trust.
The need to monitor and measure online customer experience from the perspective of SRI LANKA ABC PLC
- SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s level of customer loyalty is increased
Customers’ level of loyalty gets naturally increased when SRI LANKA ABC PLC measures the online customer experience. The more they have satisfied customers, they’ll increase the number of loyal customers even more. Moreover, having a set of loyal customers means the repeat purchase level of SRI LANKA ABC PLC is also high which reduces the marketing cost of attracting new customers. Because loyal customers spread their experiences with SRI LANKA ABC PLC in a good word of mouth.
- The sales and revenues of SRI LANKA ABC PLC get increased
Customers tend to spend more on SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s products and services when they realize that it’s easy to do business with them. Monitoring and measuring online customer experience enhances the SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s customer service provided online which persuade the customers to do more purchases. Ultimately this cause SRI LANKA ABC PLC to increase their sales and revenue over the time.
- It creates a competitive advantage for SRI LANKA ABC PLC
Measuring and monitoring online customer experience helps SRI LANKA ABC PLC to differentiate itself from competitors. There SRI LANKA ABC PLC can persuade its customers by saying that they offer a better customized service to the customers than similar companies do.
Market research tools which could be used to measure online customer experience of SRI LANKA ABC PLC
“Marketing Research is the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services.” (American marketing association)
- Feedback forum report: Feedback forum represents the customer comments and ideas about SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s overall online customer experience. If SRI LANKA ABC PLC measures analyze all the reviews and suggestions and make a report, that would help SRI LANKA ABC PLC to identify their overall level of online customer experience.
- Google analytic report: In here Google ranks SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s website according to how many times it has been searched by users. This report indicates search engine optimization (SEO).
Offline primary research methods which could be used to analyze online customer experience of SRI LANKA ABC PLC
- Observation: SRI LANKA ABC PLC can monitor how their customers deal with its digital tools such as the digital interactive screens inside their arcades, Facebook page, Twitter and the website. This may help SRI LANKA ABC PLC to identify the issues that customers face and where do they need optimization.
- Interviews: Interviews can be conducted among SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s customers to identify each customer’s online customer experience. There SRI LANKA ABC PLC can ask relevant questions that make room for the customers to express their perception towards company’s digital offerings.
- Questionnaire: SRI LANKA ABC PLC can prepare a simple and attractive questionnaire and spread it among customers. The questionnaire can be filled within few minutes and must be adequate to get all the information need to analyze overall online customer experience.
- Focus group: A focus group can be conducted including customers belong to different customer segments such as teenagers, adults, customers from urban areas and customers from rural areas. The ideas generated through focus groups can be taken into consideration when analyzing the overall online customer experience of SRI LANKA ABC PLC.
Online primary research methods which could be used to analyze online customer experience of SRI LANKA ABC PLC
- Customer blog: SRI LANKA ABC PLC has their own customer blog which let its customers to express their feelings and experiences to the company as well as to the rest of the customers. In here SRI LANKA ABC PLC can overlook the comments and reviews poste by customers with regard to the online customer experience they have and get a clear picture about their overall customer experience.
- Facebook comments and direct messages: SRI LANKA ABC PLC can analyze the customers’ comments and direct messages which reflect online customer experience. Customers tend to send direct messages to SRI LANKA ABC PLC when they have an issue with online platforms. Therefore these things must be considered when analyzing online customer experience.
- Online questionnaire: SRI LANKA ABC PLC can create an online questionnaire and link it on their online platforms like customer blog, website, Facebook page, and Twitter. So customers can respond to it quickly.
SRI LANKA ABC PLC has a basic mobile app for the convenience of its customers. But it isn’t effective to enhance online customer experience.
- Build a more comprehensive application: SRI LANKA ABC PLC should design an app which includes all the services they offer. They have an app for the TV facilities but there’s no proper app which includes all services. So they should create a user friendly application which enhances its customers’ overall experience. The figure 3.1 shows how SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s main competitor, Dialog Axiata has developed their mobile app which helped them to increase the number of online users over the time.
- Make it available on more platforms: Since the SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s app is available only on Google play they need to make it available on other app stores like Windows store, Blackberry store and iTunes. That increases the availability of the mobile app and ultimately it enhances the online customer experience.
- It should reduce data usage and battery drain: When developing a new mobile app, SRI LANKA ABC PLC should focus on the battery and data use of the application. If it uses more data and battery, that would discourage the user to use the application. And if it uses less data, that would make the customers to use the app more and fulfill their needs.
Basically SRI LANKA ABC PLC has a very informative and effective website. But if they adopt the following changes that would make a positive impact on online customer experience.
- Make it simple: Though the company has a website which has almost everything included it looks so complicated which distract the customer from going through it. So SRI LANKA ABC PLC should redesign the website by categorizing the services. The figure 3.2 shows how Lanka Bell, one of the competitors of SRI LANKA ABC PLC has designed their website in a more simplified manner.
- Increase the loading speed: It was found that SRI LANKA ABC PLC’s website loads slower than most of competitors’ websites. If the website loads slower that makes customers to close the website and search the services on another website. Technically this increases the website’s bounce rate. So the company should develop it to load more quickly to enhance online customer experience.
- Post attractive posts: The attractiveness of the posts which SRI LANKA ABC PLC posts on social media, especially on Facebook, makes customers’ mindset to deal with the company in a more favourable manner. Here SRI LANKA ABC PLC can post more promotional posts and informative posts to enhance its online customer experience.
- Focus on time of posting: SRI LANKA ABC PLC should post on Facebook in times which can expose to more customers. There I recommend to post at night and on weekends. This let more number of customers to have information about SRI LANKA ABC PLC where customer experience is enhanced.
- Post more sponsored posts: Sponsored posts help SRI LANKA ABC PLC to expose to a wider audience. This will attract non customers to be attracted towards SRI LANKA ABC PLC too.
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