As we have seen over the last number of weeks, the United States has been dealing with some of the worst storms in their history. This has had a devastating effect on the people in the areas that have been worst hit areas. It seems that every year there is a significant storm somewhere in the world that has huge implications for the general public. People have to either evacuate the area or batten down the hatches.
So how can telco’s help? In the recent storms in the US, airlines have put price caps on people trying to flee affected areas at short notice. Meaning people can get flights for up to $99 dollars when typically they could be up to 10 times that price last minute. No airline wants to be the airline that wanted to capitalize on the suffering of the general public or out price somebody fleeing for their life. Telco’s should take a similar stance. Telecommunications is one of the most vital tools at everyone disposal during these times of crisis. However, telco’s that have the flexibility in their BSS should be putting their customers that are in need. Here are some ideas that operators could implement to help their customers:
- Time and location free rating of calls, texts and data. During the height of the storm ensure that you ensure that everybody can fully use their devices without the fear of being overcharged. Or provide free credit to your prepaid customers in the affected areas, this is something that AT&T has done during Hurricane Harvey.
- Free rated data for apps. There are many apps that people in these situations will be playing close attention to such as news, weather etc. There is one particular app that has shot to the top of the download charts lately called Zello which is a live walkie-talkie which can be helpful for families keeping in touch.
- Ensure no direct marketing happens during this period.
- Send important reminders to customers to charge devices, back up their data/important files etc.
- If possible, delay billing customers during this period. There would be nothing worse about having to worry about paying for a bill when your focus is elsewhere.
- Ensure your network is braced to be able to scale up and down to deal with the additional volumes of voice and data traffic.
By implementing some of these measures you could not only improve your customer experience scoring with your customers but you could potentially help towards saving lives. Only operators that have flexibility in their systems will be able to quickly react to situations can change in a matter of hours. The above measures can go a long way in some regions which might have low ARPU prepaid customers that might not always have the money to keep their phones topped up.