Telecom Should Spend More Time Listening to Its Customers

by / Tuesday, 06 December 2016 / Published in Blog, E-Commerce, Guided Selling, Industry, Latest posts, Telecommunications

Disrupting Telco Series: Guided Selling Sites.

Anyone who’s ever signed up for a new cell phone provider online knows what they’re up against: offers so complicated by bundling and fine print that it’s easier to pick up the phone and have someone explain the details.

If that isn’t confusing enough, consumers now have to wade through the marketing blitz for the ancillary services that telecom companies are grabbing up like Halloween candy. AT&T, for instance, recently acquired DirectTV. Verizon owns AOL and is looking to acquire Time Warner.

We believe in the power of guided digital selling at Fluid, so rather than giving into the urge to shut the laptop and call a representative, let’s look at how the top three telecoms present their offers to digital shoppers.


AT&T doesn’t miss a chance to push its latest acquisition to potential customers. A tout for the iPhone 7 for $0 looks appealing—until you read that it requires a subscription to DirectTV.


What’s missing is any opportunity for customers to input what they want from a cell plan and relevant recommendations.

We believe that any brand looking to sell services should consider guided shopping, which puts the customers—and their individual needs and desires—first. Guided shopping was developed precisely to address complex purchasing decisions like selecting a cell plan or an automobile or even a sofa. The best of these feels intuitive and effortless, the equivalent of a savvy sales associate understanding your preferences through casual conversation. Each question paths the customer to additional facets that eventually result in a highly relevant product recommendation, like the perfect cell plan for that family of four.

AT&T—which does provide a guided shopping experience—is missing an opportunity to really tap into their potential customers’ needs; rather than focusing on whether you have a subscription to DirectTV.



Shortly after the long-rumored deal between T-Mobile and Sprint fell apart, Sprint’s CEO introduced a plan called the Family Share Pack to woo customers away from T-Mobile and other rivals.

Sprint, which leads their offer with “Get a 4th line free,” is great for families, but doesn’t offer relevant incentives to single people or couples who don’t requite a fourth line. 


Both AT&T and Sprint should take a page from Verizon’s playbook.


Rather than up-selling you bundles of content or extra lines, Verizon puts their customers in charge by giving options that actually reflect realistic need states.


If you’re interested in a cell plan and already have a phone, for instance, Verizon doesn’t force you down the wrong path. They provide clear, easy to digest options, no matter what you’re seeking.


Each offer is clearly defined in a way that allows the customer to understand what they’re purchasing and how it compares to the other options. Even the names they’ve given their plans make sense, comparable to clothing sizes.

For telecom companies—or any brand that is offering complex products or services—following these three golden rules of great customer experience are the place to start.

  1. See the world through your customer’s eyes, not the brand’s. This means asking questions and presenting options, not forcing customers of different shapes and sizes into the same sized product or service simply because that’s what you want them to buy.
  2. Provide recognizable signposts. Services like data plans are extraordinarily difficult to understand because they’re usually presented in abstract terms, like gigabytes. This is where Verizon gets it right by taking a page from apparel sizing which we all understand.
  3. Make it fun. This may sound obvious, but it really does make a difference when a guided shopping experience invokes a sense of play. Having fun means that we’ll take more time to complete the journey and buy what you’re offering.

Fluid works with telecom companies to help identify the pain points for consumers that impact business, prioritize which to address first, and executive flawless customer experience solutions.  We’d love to help you too. Contact us today!

As the Director of Strategy at Fluid, Chris Haines is responsible for the strategic combination of data, brand content and user-generated content to create highly immersive digital experiences that increase engagement and conversion.