Customer churn poses an ongoing dilemma for network operators that find they are competing in a highly saturated market. While aggregate figures on customer churn are not widely published, the costs of churn surface every now and again. For example, in 2017, two Canadian operators – BCE and Telus – reported that, according to their calculations, the costs of acquiring a new customer outweighs the costs of retaining a customer by a factor of 50. The operators reported that a new customer cost CAD 521 to acquire, while retention costs hovered around CAD 11. Despite the costs of churn operators are clearly not doing enough to keep customers happy. In the UK, the telecoms sector repeatedly scores at the bottom of the pack amongst industry sectors in the annual UK Customer Satisfaction Index. When operators are clearly not keeping customers happy the resulting churn is of little surprise.
It’s a complex picture
In the light of poor customer satisfaction, it is tempting to conclude that operators have only themselves to blame for churn. But operators are acutely aware of the costs of customer acquisition, so it is unlikely that networks are simply turning a blind eye, ignoring the costs and reasons behind churn.
The reality is that understanding the causes behind churn is not easy and that internal operator data only provides a partial answer. This partial data set cannot account for the broad variety of reasons behind churn – poor network performance, problems with a third-party app or the offer of a better deal.
Netradar to the rescue
Network operators have certain restrictions on the data that they can collect. For example, once a customer churns, operators will lose track of the customer, unable to collect further insights into customer behaviour and preferences. Furthermore, operators are typically limited to data generated by their networks and cannot get deeper insight into user behaviour such as app usage.
In contrast, Netradar collects analytics at the device level, covering far more data points and maintaining the ability to collect insights even if a customer switches operators. Furthermore, Netradar maintains a store of analytics that stretches across operators and which covers several countries.
What Netradar’s analytics can tell operators about churn?
Armed with more data continuity and deeper insights, thanks to Netradar, operators can set out to get a fuller understanding of the reasons that are causing customers to churn. Netradar can help operators in six key areas:
• Comprehensive churn analytics
Netradar is able to track when customers are churning, and why they are churning. With our solution, networks can get data highlighting the areas with high churn, and also understand which operators their customers are churning to.
Netradar can deliver these unique insights because we can continue to identify the user even when they switch networks.
•  Insight into the post-churn experience
It can be frustrating for operators when a long-term customer suddenly switches just because a rival offered a better deal. However, it is valuable for operators to know what the user’s experience is once they have switched to a rival network.
With Netradar, operators can analyse how the users that switched are faring with their new provider. In other words, are users more satisfied or indeed less satisfied than before?
•  Churn thresholds that cause customers to switch
Depending on how an operator has invested in a network, and what the user demand is, the user experience can be excellent, or poor. In some spots download speeds in Mbps may be very high, in others the user may experience low bandwidth. When the user experience drops too far chances are that a user will decide to switch.
Netradar can shed light on this threshold. In other words, at what level of network performance do users start switching. Knowing this threshold can help guide investment to prevent network performance from dropping so low that large numbers of users start churning.
•  Next-generation networks and churn
For many operators, certain sections of their networks are still waiting for a 4G upgrade. It’s an expensive investment and operators will only spend the cash if the user demand is clear. Customer churn is, of course, a factor and when churn becomes more likely, it is a sure signal for investment.
Netradar Suite can outline where the demand for 4G is becoming so high that operators are facing large scale user churn. In turn, operators can identify these areas for urgent investment. This factor is particularly important in light of the current shift to 5G connectivity. With Netradar Suite network operators can be proactive in their investment strategies, rather than reactive.
•  The apps that are causing churn
Some apps are more bandwidth intensive than others and therefore more likely to trigger churn due to network quality issues. That said, consumers sometimes blame operators for poor in-app experiences when in fact it is the app itself that is at fault, not the operator.
With Netradar’s unique churn statistics operators can determine which apps are likely to lead to churn, and also identify whether apps are performing poorly due to the fault of the app or another reason, not because of the network. In turn, operators can work with app developers to improve app performance through better network peering or content delivery networks.
Crucially, because Netradar collects detailed app usage data, operators can also determine which apps are trending and stay ahead of the potential implications for their networks. As a result operators can pro-actively boost capacity, if necessary, ensuring that app-driven churn never even becomes a concern.
•  Are churning customers to be missed?
There are, of course, certain customers that are not very profitable for networks. Some users will never be satisfied with network performance, always complaining, irrespective of their operator. Others pose a high level of load on networks, a factor that is becoming increasingly important as more and more operators are starting to offer unlimited data plans.
Thanks to Netradar operators can detect which users are really of little commercial benefit, and this knowledge can guide win-back strategies and future marketing tactics.
Get the complete picture on churn
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to minimizing churn. However, a detailed picture on the causes behind churn – and what happens to customers after they churn – is absolutely essential to developing a comprehensive strategy to retain customers.
Netradar delivers a broad range of data points that operators have thus far not had access to. This data will give operators the insight to build their existing churn strategies into broad-reaching, effective tactics that can comprehensively combat churn.