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Impact Of Digital Technologies On Customer Behaviour

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Question:

 What is the Impact of Digital Technologies on Customer Behaviour.
 
 

Answer:

Digital presence in simple terms means having space online. Today many companies and businesses have social media accounts, various websites, apps and other viable forms of online advertising so as to reach their customers and other interested investors. Due to the recent advancements and innovations in the technology sector, many people worldwide are at the liberty of convenience to many forms of digital channels of advertisement and marketing. With this, it is easy for a company to reach to customers and make customers get access to its database and access information about the offerings being given out by the particular company. Through this, a company can easily engage with its customers and by so end up building good customer relationships and brand loyalty. (Fume, 2015)

For instance, Vodafone which is the second largest telecom company in the world with over a half a million subscribers worldwide after the Chinese firm China Mobile has been using and recently expounding its digital presence in the past years to engage its customers and in turn, create good consumer relations with its clients. Vodafone has a large customer base with a predominant existence of its services in the regions of Africa, Asia, and Europe. It owns and operates networks in more than 20 countries and has a partnership with networks in over 45 countries (Wuaglobal 2016, p. 1). As of 2014, it had a connection base of subscribers of over 435.9 million throughout the world. The big question now is how it gets to achieve good consumer relations with all these customers through the use of apps, websites, social media and other forms of customer-related technologies.

In 2016, Vodafone launched a new small business focused application marketplace. The first country that went live with the application for small and medium sized businesses was Italy. The application marketplace was made up of four main apps. The apps included;

  1. Smart sales which were created basically for catalog and management of context.
  2. The smart hotel which was created with solution providing tools for those investors and businesses in the hotel sector.
  3. Smart mobility which was created to organize the notes of staffs and business expenses mainly.
  4. Site web which was created as a personalized website design page.

Customers were enabled to directly download the apps and manage them online through the Vodafone's marketplace, and this helped in the improving of the consumer's experience on Vodafone. (Vodafone.com 2016, p. 1). With increased consumer experience Vodafone was and is still able to boast about its great consumer relationship with its customers.

For the past five years Vodafone through its partnership with Designate a company with expertise in telecom digital design, have been able to create a digital self-service model with customers’ experience at its center. Through this initiative, the two of them were able to come up with an app ‘MI Vodafone’ an app that gives the customers the pleasure of managing all their Vodafone services on a single platform. The app gives the users a tool through which they can manage both their individual products as well as their services together with their relationship with Vodafone.

 


With the use of this app, the customers have been able to check in their day to day consumption, manage their bills, get access to information and change their payment plans all centered in one place. With this app, Vodafone has been able to redefine the relationship with its clients since it now offers highly visual and very transparent relaying of information. Users of Vodafone are now completely in control of their experience on Vodafone compared to the previous experience which was tedious and wasted a lot of money and time compared to the current system which is more efficient and effective. Currently, it only takes thirty seconds or less to access information on Vodafone and this great consumer experience makes the customers more satisfied creating a good customer relationship between the company and its clients. (Designate 2017, p. 32)

 


Social media is not only just a platform where people socialize anymore in the contemporary world as it used to be some years back. Nowadays, social media is platforms that can help a company or a business create a good or poor relationship between a brand or itself and its customers. Vodafone being a telecom company had a very bad encounter with social media some time back in the years 2011 and 2012 in one of its operational bases Australia. To be more specific Vodafone Hutchison Australia a partnership between Vodafone and Hutchison had an experience with consumer backlash due to social media criticism. In the year 2011 and 2012, the company Vodafone Hutchison Australia lost more than 680000 customers mainly because of a widespread criticism on various social media platforms.

To rectify the mistake, the new CEO Kim Clarke came up with a strategy through which the company gets to directly engage with its customers through the company's website and various social media platforms. Vodafone Hutchison Australia has now come up with a well-designed process of improving customers’ experience through ensuring that there is the practice of consistent and highly relevant social media engagement with its clients. To make sure that this is not just a strategy with no action the company has put up a network team of thirty-five agents. The agents are assigned to manage the company's social environment through a platform known as Radian 6. (CMO 2017, p. 45) With this the company has been able to ensure that it provides highly objective service level to its customers and thus create a good consumer relationship with its customers. This can be attributed to the recent improvements that have been noticed in the company's operation in the immediate present past.

In New Zealand, Vodafone has a partnership with one of the local companies called Digital Mobile which is one of its largest dealers in New Zealand? Digital Mobile is mandated to mainly sell and support the products and services that are being provided by Vodafone in the New Zealand’s local market (Vodafone 2016). For a long time, the customers of the company have been used to signing their Vodafone contracts. They have been doing so using a paperwork system which was tedious, time-consuming, inefficient and very ineffective with the comparison to the new system since customers were returning incomplete contracts. Consequently, the company's employees had to go back to the customers and ask for the missing information. These always resulted in customers ending up not getting all the services they had applied or requested for, and at the end the customers became frustrated, and that stretched the company's relation with the customers (Ready Business 2015, p. 1).

Recently, through the making of various consultations with various expertises the company has come up with an electronic signup system to make the signing process for the Vodafone contracts is more streamlined and becomes satisfying to the customers. Through the introduction of the self-sufficient electronic sign-up system, the customers are now able to sign up for their contracts using mobile data through a digital signing process. The employees in the company now don't have to go back to the customer for missing information on the contracts, but instead, they do it through the same platform. The new system now manages customer follow-ups, the signing processes and sends customers’ reminders thus reducing time consumption in signing up for contracts. (Secured Signing, 2017, p. 12). These have made sure the customers are highly satisfied and through the company has been able to create a good bond with its consumer bases hence making a good customer relationship between the company and its clients.

In 2011, Vodafone Egypt during the ‘Cairo ICT 2011 conference and exhibition' was able to introduce to its customers some apps which were tuned towards improving the consumer services the company was offering its clients. The apps were also focused towards improving its consumers' experience. One of the apps ‘shirkers' which in English can be translated to ‘my company' was introduced mainly to help companies increase their performance effectiveness and efficiency by allowing them to employ latest business management of finance and administration of customer relations through the internet (Indian Weekly 2010, p. 23).

The app comprises of two other apps. One of them ‘mallaffaty' which in English can be translated to ‘my files' was made in such a way that it allows customers to save files on a program based on the internet and also allows them to retrieve them and also download them at any time. The second one is known as ‘mawqe'ie' which can be translated into English to mean ‘my website' application that helps the users to set up their websites and emails through very easy steps rather than having to look for expensive expertise. Another app they introduced is known as ‘Hesabaty' which translates to ‘my account' an app that offers the customers to manage their accounts through the internet (Dupre 2016, p. 1). Due to this apps introduction, Vodafone Egypt was able to create a good consumer relationship with its customers since customer satisfaction was improved and is now at its best.

Also in 2012, Vodafone was able to introduce high internet speed through the 4G technology. Long term evolution  LTE was introduced at a speed of 150Mbps which is the highest yet known internet speed so far.Through the introduction of this high-speed internet, customers have been able to have a very pleasant experience with the use of internet everywhere around the world. In the same year 2011, Vodafone was also able to come up with an app the Vodafone Buzz (Clariden Global 2017, p. 1). The app is mainly designed as a networking and chatting platform just like other social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Google talk. In addition to this Vodafone, buzz gives additional options like questionnaires, chat rooms, and games.

 


To add on its long chain of network and technological modes of managing its consumer relationships Vodafone came up with a device called the Web box. This device is connected to the television so that both of them work at the same time. This enables the customers to listen to FM radio, access the internet and send and receive emails, short messages, and multimedia messages. With this Vodafone has been able to cement its consumer bases and thus created a great bond with its customers and by so doing it has been able to maintain its relationship with its customers (Vodafone Egypt, 2011)

Vodafone has been on the verge of improving and transforming businesses throughout the globe. Through its workings, Vodafone was able to come up with transformation pathways for businesses and effective business models (Designate 2017, p. 13). Through its visions and focus Vodafone was able to come up with FSOM the Future State Operating Model whose aim was to deliver a unified set of standard processes in the business and corporate world across its many networks globally. With this the company has been able to introduce transformations in the business like BMT2 the Business Transformation Methodology which when applied transformed the company from a merger and acquisition growth technology company to a shareholder driven consumer focused company making it more flexible towards the management of consumer relations.(Digitalist,2014)

 


Vodafone through its partnership with a Kenyan based Telecommunication Company Safaricom which is the East Africa's largest telecom company was able to introduce the world’s largest mobile money transfer platform known as MPESA which has its transactions accumulating to $ 50 billion a year (Telecom Lead 2016, p. 1). Through Vodafone, the platform is now operating in more than four countries, and it has helped users send and receive money conveniently through their mobile phones without having to go to banks and other financial institutions. With these Vodafone has been able to manage its consumer relationships.

Conclusion

Vodafone just like many businesses in the today corporate world has put emphasis to digital presence to create and enhance a good relation with its customers. Through the various innovations, it has made it has been able to remain one of the world's largest telecom companies. The above discussed are just some of the apps, social media, and customer-related technologies are just some of the many forms Vodafone is using to create and reinform itself for digital presence.

 

References

Clariden Global 2017, 2nd annual digital consumer care, contact center, and experience. Available from: claridenglobal.com/conference/digitalcustomercare-contactcenter2017/ (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

CMO 2017, changing the brand one conversation at a time: Vodafone Hutchison Australia. Available from: www.cmo.com.au/article/462940/changing_brand_one_conversation_time_vodafone_Hutchison_Australia. (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Designate 2017, Nextgen digital relationships. Available from: https://designit.com/cases/nextgen-digital-relationships (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Digitalist 2015, Vodafone Turns Up The Volume On Business Transformation. Available from: www.digitalistmag.com/industries/telecomunications-industries/2014/04/23/vodafone-turns-up-the-volume-on-business-transformation-01249234 (Accesses on May 6, 2017)

Dupre 2016, Vodafone Fastest Mobile Operator to Respond To Customers-Du Pre’pel. Available from: www.dupre.co.uk/mobile.../vodafone-fastest-mobile-operator-respond-customers/ (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Flume 2015, What Does It Mean To Have A Digital Presence?-Cover Magazine. Available from: flume.co.za/what-does-it-mean-to-have-a-digital-presence-career-magazine/ (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

India Weekly 2010, India weekly Telkom news March 12, 2010. Available from: https://books.google.com/books?id=07nmDyIHCQIC (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Ready Business 2015, Ready Business Insights: Social Media in Hospitality-Vodafone NZ. Available from: www.vodafone.co.nz/readybusiness/digital-insights/social-for-hospitality/ (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Secured signing 2017, Digital Mobile Moves To Electric Signing for Contracts. Available from: www.securedsigning.com/resourses/case-studies/digital-mobile (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Telecom Lead 2016, Vodafone reveals digital cloud marketplace targeting SMEs. Available from: www.telecomlead.com/telecom-services/vodafone-reveals-digital-cloud-marketplace-targeting-smes-72137 (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Vodafone 2011, Press release for publication Cairo, 28 May 201. Available from: www.vodafone.com.eg/vodafoneportalweb/en/releaseDetail-page?dDocName=VF_017145 (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Vodafone cloud 2015, Vodafone cloud barometer. Available from: https://www.vodafone.nl/-assets/mgb/downloads/.../whitepaper-cloud-barometer.pdf (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Vodafone 2016, Vodafone launches new small business focused app marketplace. Available from: www.vodafone.com/business/press-release/vodafone-launches-new-small-business-focused-application-marketplace-2016-10-24 (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Vodafone 2016, Vodafone: ready business index. Available from: https://businessapps.vodafone.com.au/en/readybusinessindex (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Vodafone 2017, Future ready retail-Vodafone. Available from: https://www.vodafone.ie/content?id=BAU025225 (Accessed on May 6, 2017)

Wuaglobal 2016, Vodafone Wins Digital Customer Experience Study SIM only plan…-WUA. Available from: www.wuaglobal.com/.../vodafone-wins-digital-customer-experience-study-sim-plan-g... (Accessed from May 6, 2017)

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