The wireless landscape has undoubtedly changed over the last few years, transitioning from primarily a voice traffic industry to become a data-driven machine. As a result, telecommunications companies have become more competitive than ever.
While industry-wide strategic focuses may be constantly shifting, the importance of retaining loyal customers is a trend that will never disappear.
One way the major telecom companies -- Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile -- attempt to retain customers is through rewards programs, which are conventionally defined as any type of offering a company makes to a customer who frequently and continuously makes purchases with that company.
So, what do these different programs look like?
Rewards programs and promotions tend to change in response to industry trends and standards. AT&T’s programs, for example, used to offer returning customers rollover voice minutes month-to-month, but now one their loyalty programs for returning customers center around rollover data.
Let’s take a look at some of the most recent telecom loyalty programs:
This summer, Verizon began a referral based reward program that allows current customers to earn up to $100 in Visa gift cards for bringing a someone new to the service. The new customer also receives a $50 Visa gift card, just for becoming a new customer.
Sprint, on the other hand, has recently been running less conventional promotions in an effort to attract new customers. One example is allowing certain customers to receive monthly rate discounts in exchange for viewing an ad in their display each time they unlock their phone.
Sprint will also cover the cost -- up to $650 -- of a former customer switching back to Sprint, and the customer will receive a $200 credit per wireless line that they open.
This campaign kicked off with advertisements featuring the longtime Verizon spokesman Paul Marcarelli switching to Sprint. (Yeah, the ‘can you hear me now’ guy.)
T-Mobile’s most recent promotion is T-Mobile Tuesday. Current T-Mobile customers just have to download the T-Mobile Tuesday app, register with their phone number and then they become eligible to receive free stuff from the Uncarrier via partnerships with brands like Buffalo Wild Wings, StubHub and Lyft.
According to a press release from the carrier, since the June 7 launch of the promotion, partners of T-Mobile Tuesday have seen on average 100,000 new customer registrations every week they participate.
AT&T launched “Ticket Twosdays” this summer as well, which gives any current customers the opportunity to get a free movie ticket for themselves and a friend every Tuesday for the duration of the promotion. All customers have to do to join the promotion is register their phone number on AT&T’s website and download the app to their mobile device. Check out one of the ads from the promotions campaign:
One way to take this information about wireless rewards programs one step further is by pairing consumer research with social media research. By looking at the emotional distribution of these conversations about customer loyalty programs in social data, we can valuable information about the positives and negatives of loyalty programs from a consumer perspective.
Our upcoming telecommunications report provides examples for applying social media research to help wireless carriers understand what drives purchasing behavior including information on:
Industry data churn
Branded consumer loyalty
50-state carrier scorecard
Be sure to check back at the blog for more telecomms posts and the report announcement in the next few weeks.