“One-to-one” is the cornerstone of the telecommunications’ evolution.
As part of the conferences and exhibitions held in Tunisia for the ‘North Africa Com’ Congress, Telecom Review in French had an opportunity to speak with Amine Jabali, the Managing Partner at Peppers & Rogers Group. In this interview, Mr. Jabali focuses on the main concepts and strategies of his company, as well as the potential of the North African market.
As we understand, your business is based on the “one-to-one” marketing concept. How would you describe this concept and what are the ways that you advise the companies to interact with their customers?
The philosophy of our company is built on customer centricity. The founders of our consultancy, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Ph.D., had established towards the end of the 1980s the “one-to-one” strategy, which is centered on treating different customers differently based on their values, needs and behavior.
Today, this concept has become the model across industries, including telecommunications. As such, the world of telecommunications is trying to take advantage as much as possible of the power of customer insight. And that is also what we as Peppers and Rogers Groups are trying to do: the more we understand the customer needs and behavior, the more we are able to customize the products and services, and furthermore customize the interactions with customers.
For you, what is the evolution of this concept in North Africa?
Today, the North African market is similar to most other telecommunications markets in terms of structure, including the Middle East and the Gulf regions. North Africa is a highly penetrated market, highly competitive and facing customers who are more and more demanding. By being customer centric and focusing on “one to one” strategies, operators would be able to develop differentiated services and personalized customer experiences. This would enable them to sustain a profitable growth and manage customers’ expectations.
The main question that arises is: Will North African operators be able to survive?
The operators in North Africa have been investing in 3G technologies over the past three years. These operators continued to focus on the voice, with an attempt to accompany it by data, media and content; but the reality is that they are investing heavily in technology without really changing the traditional way of doing business. Tunisiana is the best example. It still operates the 2G and remains the market leader with 54% market share and the fastest growth among other operators in Tunisia. This example illustrates that it is not just a question of technology and services, but also a question of developing and deploying a customer-centric culture and strategies.
What are major companies who practice “one-to-one”?
Most of the operators that we work with are trying to implement this “one-to-one” strategy. They understand that they cannot rely mainly on the prepaid services for their survival in the next five years. These operators are transforming their culture and business models through customer-centric programs and initiatives to be able to face the current and upcoming challenges.
What is the region that has the most potential?
I believe that all regions have the potential, but it is mostly in North Africa where the percentage of younger generation (less than 35 years) is very large. Whether they have money or not, young people want to use the internet, play online games, download videos via Youtube, send SMS, use BBM, etc. and as such, this is one of the strategic segments that the operators are focusing on.
Therefore, the idea is to implement strategies to attract and change the behavior of the consumer by providing engaging mobile applications, offering smart phones at affordable prices as well as by managing customer value across all stages of the customer lifecycle.
You have recently expanded your business to Asia. What are the expected advantages?
We believe that the Asia-Pacific in particular is a promising region with important strategic implications in terms of its continued economic growth and containing highly populous countries. Moreover, this is a mature and, we believe, a truly attractive market in which Peppers & Rogers Group will continue to invest in.
How do you evaluate your performance in 2011?
Last year was a year of integration with Teletech, which is one of the largest business outsourcing solution providers in the world. We have shared many synergies with respect to added value services as well as market expansion; achieved through a very mature transformation which brought added value to both organizations.
In summary, we have managed our business in a way that allows us to diversify our service portfolio across the industries and sectors, as well as expand into the regions with high potential.
What are your future plans and expectations for 2012?
I am very optimistic about the year 2012. According to our company’s forecast, we are very confident and excited about our expansion into Asia Pacific. We are trying today to penetrate more and more the North African region. We are already present in Egypt in Algeria (for two years) and today in Tunisia. We hope to develop with increasing momentum in Tunisia and Morocco in the near future. Furthermore, we expect to see improvements in the situation in Libya soon, which we also consider as another potentially attractive market.
So, I think that the year 2012 will be excellent. However, life in the Middle East is always subject to highs and lows, which exposes us from time to time to some risks. Nevertheless, I am confident in our ability to reach a balance and focus on achieving our projected growth.