Singapore’s telco market faces new challenges. Plummeting data costs, increasing user demands for better digital products and digitization of core telco products are lowering barriers of entry while pressurizing established incumbents to become innovative.
“We saw these trends early as users, investors, and operators in the past…In this new age, it’s the digital companies like Netflix, Grab and Airbnb that win the battle for consumer mindshare and eventually their wallets,” Gaurav Gupta, Senior Manager – Omnichannel, Circles.Life said.
“However, this change is not being reflected in the way telcos work,” he added.
So, Circles.Life created a “virtual world” for its customers on its digital platform. Even though the firm does not own any physical infrastructure, the new generation of digital services helped it to achieve a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of +54.
“To put that into perspective, Singapore telcos have an average of around -30 NPS,” Gupta said.
Dialing Into the Cloud
The engine behind its success is the company’s Circles-X cloud technology.
“We built our cloud system, Circles-X, from the ground up five years ago. All the key pieces needed to run a telco is within Circles-X, from network operations, customer service, logistics, and delivery, to the consumer-facing digital experience,” Gupta said.
The full digital stack allowed Circles.Life to save 95% on operational costs, freeing up additional money for other products. More importantly, it allowed the firm to expand its value proposition by easily connecting with other platforms and partners, including EZ-Link, DBS Bank, Shopee, Grab and Lazada.
Circles.Life’s focus on customer experience was critical to its success. It was looking to understand them in a way that telcos did not.
“I define [the challenge] as ‘continuous conversation with each individual user across a combination of channels with content personalized to the life stage of a user and delivered in a uniform fashion.’ In other words, we need to know who they are, where to find them, what they need, how to talk to them [sic]!” Gupta said.
To achieve this, Gupta needed to overcome four major hurdles that are endemic in the telco industry: fragmented user identities, fragmented view of a user due to internal silos, scalability, and versatility. He looked for a martech company that had the capability, usability, and service, and support that he needed to do this – a role that Adobe was eventually selected for.
Working in Unison
The Adobe solution offered Gupta four benefits that he was seeking.
First, he needed people-based targeting and measurement. “True omnichannel marketing is possible, only by unifying all user interactions under one ID, and then targeting real people and not vague proxies. This can now be realized with a universal ECID being assigned at the very first touchpoint on our ads, website, emails or apps,” he said.
Adobe’s Experience Cloud architecture tied the various platforms “under a common identifier and enabled the free flow of data exchange.”
Gupta also needed to develop a personalized marketing strategy and orchestrate decisions. “Simply put, target the right person, at the right moment with the right message.”
The Adobe Audience Manager, Adobe Ad Cloud, and Adobe Campaign worked together to drive personalized marketing at Circles.Life.
Visual reporting was equally important. “Universal reporting that can visualize marketing data from all addressable channels across cohorts at a single source,” Gupta said.
At the same time, Gupta wanted near-truth attribution, which is very challenging. “[We need to] assign the right amount of credit for a sale to the right source or touchpoint for bias-free insights and decisions," he said.
Adobe Analytics gave Gupta a visual report of his campaign progress while allowing for near-truth attribution.
“Considering that Adobe is the only martech company that could offer a full stack solution - content management, web analytics, audience management, media activation, marketing automation, it seemed an obvious choice but it was their commitment to data governance, Experience Cloud architecture to unify data silos and pledge to create a democratized device graph with their ‘one for all, all for one' Device Co-op that scored well for them," Gupta said.
The Future is AI, Algorithms
Gupta is now looking to use the Data Workbench for algorithmic attribution across offline and online channels. He is also looking to use AI to predict customer behaviors.
“Adobe furthers the omnichannel dream with a predictive orchestration of optimized user journey powered by Adobe Sensei, their AI brain that now sits across all solutions. This, when fully deployed, will raise the bar of user experience to a level that we will be able to answer the questions that the user hasn't even asked!” Gupta said.
“[Customers] want personal, meaningful interactions, and Circles.Life’s disruptive offerings that are born out of the telco's belief to ‘give power back to the customer' are right on the money. While setting up a telco in Singapore that's fully digital with no physical store is a bold move, it is also proving to be a gamechanger in the industry, catering well to the growing group of consumers who want experiences they can own,” added V.R. Srivatsan, Managing Director, Adobe Southeast Asia.
Gupta is not resting on his laurels. He is already readying more ecosystem and cross-vertical partnership products, transforming his company into a digital lifestyle platform.
“Expect us to offer innovative customer-focused products, just like what we have done with the SGD 0 Flexi Plan and 20 GB for SGD 20,” he said.
The company is also on track to disrupt the Indonesian market next, with more countries in its plan. “With regards to expansion, we’re already in the final stages for Indonesia,” Gupta said.