July 20, 2020

The Vodafone Experience: How AI-Driven Personalization Creates Business Impact

Telecom customers are deeply dissatisfied, craving digital experiences that are highly personal and friction-free. Personalization can satisfy those cravings and catapult conversions, as Vodafone Italy has found.

In this piece, we recap our webcast discussion with Vodafone and Adobe, exploring how the telecom leader employs AI-powered personalization to serve the right message to the right audience at the right time. The result: rising conversions from using the right words delivered millions of euros in customer value per year.

The opportunity: 91% of telecom consumers are dissatisfied

Only 9% of surveyed customers feel their telecom provider meets their needs, reports Adobe. It wouldn’t take much for these customers to switch to another provider. On the flip side, it also doesn’t take much to outperform competitors when responding to changing customer expectations:

  • 54% will consider switching providers if the online experience is difficult.
  • 77% want more human interaction online.
  • 75% would be more likely to buy if video or live chat were available to resolve doubts.
  • 44% want real-time assistance when choosing a provider online.

Spurred by COVID-19, this is a critical moment for telecom leaders to acquire customers and grow their market share.

“We see a big impact on satisfaction when a customer is shown one message versus another, so we want to use data to achieve the right mix on an individual level.”

-Andrea Luciani, Vodafone

Vodafone’s vision

Vodafone Italy has secured a whopping 50% of its digital market by personalizing customer interactions across all digital touch points, from its app to push notifications, SMS, chatbot, paid media, and more. To make this possible at scale, Vodafone partners with Persado to accurately predict which messaging components will garner the best customer response. Vodafone also partners with Adobe to deploy those messages.

How Vodafone creates compelling experiences 

Starting with messaging crafted by Vodafone’s creative team, Persado breaks messages down to code components and analyzes how to adapt or arrange those components for the best possible result. Vodafone then uses Adobe Target to disseminate the right content to the right audience.

How that breaks down, in a snapshot:

In following this process, Vodafone measured a response rate elasticity of 150% across 100+ messaging experiments. “Elasticity measures the difference between the worst and best message used to communicate the same value proposition,” explained Riccardo Di Virgilio, senior director of customer success at Persado. “This proves the way you talk with your customers is critical.” 

Experiment 1: 200% upsell increase

Vodafone’s “Try & Buy” campaign offered customers an upgraded plan for free, for one month. At the end of the month, customers could renew or opt-out, returning to their previous plan.

Customers were split into two segments, each offered a different plan. Top-value customers were pitched a premium plan, and lower-value customers were offered a cheaper option. Persado used data insights to pinpoint which messaging elements (e.g. emotion, descriptions, CTA, tone) would achieve the best responses from each segment. Sales doubled over the previous month.

“Sales doubled over the previous month.”

 Experiment 2: 83% leads increase

This time, Vodafone marketed smartphone upgrades, using COVID-sensitive language to engage customers during the crisis. As in the earlier campaign, Persado analysis revealed which message elements would induce the best engagement.

For this campaign, emotional language drove 69% of the response rate, followed by the call to action (16%) and visual formatting (14%). The winning message drove an 83% increase in leads.

Key lessons and next steps

In the past, personalization took a ton of guesswork, time, manual work, and was difficult to scale. But with AI, personalization enables companies to engage and delight customers with fewer resources, eliminating unnecessary delays, risks, and manual tasks.

Vodafone’s vision is to evolve beyond segmented personalization to 1:1 personalization.

“We see a big impact on satisfaction when a customer is shown one message versus another, so we want to use data to achieve the right mix on an individual level,” said Andrea Luciani at Vodafone.“ It’s more revenue for us, and more satisfaction for our customers.”

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