What do customers really want? Usually it’s the best product or service at the best price. With all the complex tariffs available in the mobile phone marketplace that is rarely what they get, but o2 is showing not only how to put their customers at the heart of their business, but also how customer centricity may disrupt the entire market.
The o2 Refresh tariff allows the cost of a handset to be separated from the calls, texts, and data used by a customer. This means that once the handset is paid off, they can then tailor the bill to a tariff that perfectly suits the way the customer uses their phone.
O2 predicts that once this comes on stream they are going to halve the bills of 1.5 million customers. It sounds counterintuitive – which telco would want their customers to be paying half their normal bill? But by sending a message to the market that their systems can automatically give you the best tariff it will not only create strong loyalty with existing o2 customers, but will attract customers from other providers who traditionally fix customers on tariffs for several years, whether they are right or not.
One of my own personal complaints about mobile phone contracts is that I often want to upgrade early, yet the provider insists on me seeing out the remainder of the contract even when I am offering to pay extra to upgrade early. By separating the handset value from the service value as o2 have proposed, it should be far easier to know when you can upgrade, regardless of the contract termination date.
This is probably not yet enough to get me to switch phone provider, but it is a step in the right direction. Hopefully this is the first sign that phone providers will all be doing something similar soon – tariffs that are designed for the individual.
Photo by Julia licensed under Creative Commons