Speaker: Khairold Safri Ibrahim, Digital Product Manager at Telekom Malaysia
Telekom Malaysia was formerly a government department in the 60s and 70s. Then we turned into a government-linked company. So, we are pretty old, you can see. We have a few lines of business. We have Unifi for consumers, where we are mainly selling connectivity products. We also have our lines for enterprises — TM One & TM Global selling connectivity products to other telcos.
I am representing Unifi, specifically, Unifi retail, where our main focus is to sell Unifi products online.
I see many startups in this crowd, where you are all young and understand technology way better than us. There are many challenges that we guys are facing that you guys might not be facing. It’s unique to large Telecom organizations. Many times, people ask me about MoEngage. How do you like MoEngage? Do you like their products? I love their products!
When you ask me about the challenges with MoEngage, it’s not necessarily with the solution itself. It’s more on our side; how do we implement the features provided to us on our tech platform? When we try to implement, we face many challenges. If you are familiar with large organizations, we have many departments. There’s IT, marketing, and so on. They have their own way of doing things. For example, IT is more about managing vendors. You have new vendors coming; you ensure that vendors provide you with all the tools you need and how they implement them from end to end. The IT department will not do the implementation. So, it’s different than when we started to go for a different solution provider.
Previously, we used to go for a solution provider that provided end-to-end technology and then implementation on the premise. They also do consult. They do everything at once. When you subscribe to a new and young company like MoEngage, where everything is there, and you only need to implement it on your side, the implementation part is tricky. It is hard because nobody has the role or responsibility to take this up. So, implementation is always challenging even though you have procured a good product like MoEngage.
Outsourced technology — typically, we don’t have internal developers. It’s all outsourced. Everyone is submitting a request from the product team to the marketing team. Then you have your requirements to start tracking the customers, and you have to compete with all these requests. More often than not, you will lose out. Often what happens is that you have to launch a new product, and that is more critical to the business. So, you lose out in terms of that. In fact, the things you have just bought, all the features that you have evaluated and decided to use, you can’t implement because of our own limitations. So, it’s the same thing.
As I mentioned, the Implementation speed is very low. We purchased MoEngage almost two months ago. We submitted our requirements and tactics for implementation, but nothing happened. So, I decided to do it myself. It’s not that hard. MoEngage has very good documentation on its website. People often ask me, how do you do this? Just go through the website; the training is straightforward. You can easily do that. I have a different mindset than my colleagues. They need training and want someone to hand-hold them through the process. It’s very simple, and a lot of solutions are available nowadays. Especially for MoEngage, you don’t need training. I know it’s good to have the training, but I learned MoEngage by browsing and reading the documentation. It’s very easy and straightforward.
In addition to what I mentioned, companies like us always operate in projects. You have requirements, and people ask you how much resource does it cost? When is it going to be implemented? And then you wait for it to be done. After you have implemented it, does it look how you wanted it to be? Does it make people buy more, for example? Then you have to wait for another three to six months. It doesn’t make sense for you to iterate like that. So that is something we are facing in Telekom.
This can be summarized by taking something intangible and turning it into something tangible, like business offerings. So, you want to collect these data points of the customer, their behavior, and the customers’ events and then turn them into something you as a company can gain revenue from.
So the challenges, I think I have mentioned this before – hybrid IT infrastructure. So typically a larger company, they want everything on premises. But you know it will take a long time and will be much more expensive. It’s going to be unnecessarily complicated. For security, me and my company, we are very afraid of cloud. We think that all these software & IT companies that reside on the cloud are going to steal our data. That’s why, we have to keep everything on the premise. We live with that mindset. When it comes to the cost of integration, every vendor is expensive. For our side, it costs 1000 – 2000 ringgit.
You can imagine the cost and the time constraint for us. We always fight to get our requirements done. For integration, we are lacking in some technological competency. For example, MoEngage has SDK. Our mobile team, we are not that tech-savvy, so we only work with a certain type of framework. On our side, we have people doing React but we don’t have people doing other native languages. So any library that requires this type of integration, we cannot do it as we are not that tech-savvy as opposed to digital companies. You can see the pattern, right?
Telekom consumers are not simple. The expectation of the customer experience, it’s a bit tricky. It really depends on the circumstances of your own company. For example, every time we do this, we have to take into consideration of our own limitations. For example, our products are not as simple as they should be. It’s complicated. Ideally, when you design a product, it should be simple so that the consumer doesn’t need to think too much. However, we are offering a lot of plans. We have 100 MB plans, 300 MB plans, and plans that offer you TV channels & services with them. The plan can only be effective for 6-months, making it very complicated.
When customers are trying to buy your product, and it is very complicated, it becomes difficult to present all the information on your website. In that case, they try to find someone they can talk to. This is our challenge.
As I mentioned earlier, we are an old company and our network inventories, for example, have all the addresses in Malaysia that we can subscribe to. We have old addresses that have become obsolete, and the street names have changed now. So, it’s difficult for us to expose our data on these websites. The customer also finds it difficult to navigate through this since we have difficult names. It might seem simple on the surface, but because of all these imperfections, it becomes more complicated than it should be. Whenever we design these user journeys or marketing approaches, we do not consider these imperfections.
At Telekom, we don’t have a lot of products. We have our connectivity products — fiber broadband and a few devices that we sell, like the mesh wifi. Even though personalization solves a lot of problems, it usually helps when you have too many products to offer. If you only have a few pages in the product section on your website, there’s less scope for personalization. You can still do it, but the use cases will be limited. We still do cross-selling and upselling, but our major challenge is the acquisition. As my colleague mentioned, retention starts when your customer decides to buy your product until they eventually buy it. That is where our primary use of MoEngage happens. From the moment the customer decides to buy our product, it takes two weeks to 30 days until they complete the purchase. So, that is our version of retention.
We have other brands. Companies like ours, we always try to start new brands. It usually doesn’t work, but it’s still under our scope of work. We have our brand where we aggregate local businesses. It’s a two-prong approach where you help the businesses, and you also help the consumer. We find use cases on the bases of customer behavior. We use data points to predict whether the consumer would want to try another service from your different brand. Use the data you have to get the outcome you want from the customer.
We tried different products before finally choosing MoEngage. It does offer a solution. It’s not a full-fledged CDP but a CDP that offers enough for us to make things work. There’s a CDP element inside of it. It offers marketing automation and real-time communication. As another panelist mentioned, it’s not about the tech first. It’s about how you make it work. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It only needs to work. Based on that criteria, we found MoEngage to work the best for us. We ended up procuring the product from them, and it’s been one and a half years of a good relationship with them.
Basically, there are two sets of data in our use case. We have customer data — name, gender, and address. MoEngage also enables us to have customer behavior data. We mix all the data and create audience segments. Then, we create campaigns for these audience segments.
Here are some of the flows that we have been using with MoEngage. We have a bunch of them, these are just a few of them. It’s getting easier for brands like us to communicate with the customer. It’s cheaper to send emails and push notifications. Even though it’s cheap, it’s not easy to implement inside brands like Telekom Malaysia. MoEngage has helped us in doing that. We have everything in one place; you can plug it in and execute the use case. You also don’t have to worry about integrating with other channels.
These are some of the campaigns we have been running inside MoEngage and the results we are getting. Of course, it varies. There’s no magic. It depends on whom you are emailing and what is the content of your email. How close is the user in the buying journey? Where does the customer land when they click on your email? So, it could be more straightforward, but we have been getting good results. Identifying the segments of users that can be retargeted, sending them emails, and nudging them into completing the buying process.
Similarly, it’s not just about what data. It’s about why. “What” is easier than “why”. Sometimes people miss this and only focus on the data. The “why” in itself is the difficult part. What are the questions you have? How are you going to formulate your thinking around them? I, personally, use a lot of frameworks to figure out the “why.” Then we mix the feedback from the customer and fit that into the modeling. After that, we use the data to validate our assumption. It is working quite well now. As a team, we know what we are going to do, the challenge is implementing it. To bring what we know into reality. It’s not just about the data. It’s about the insights. It’s about talking to the customer and understanding why they are doing certain things and why they are not.
If you go to deeper frameworks like ‘Jobs to be done’, you will understand the triggers of the customer. What makes the customer buy your product? Promoting your product randomly and asking the audience about your plans doesn’t make sense. They need to have certain needs and pain points. If they have kids coming up, they need to talk to their friends and their teachers. Identify the steps, the data points, and the constraints of the customer. What are the constraints when they want to buy the Fiber broadband plan? Maybe they are worried about the installation, the payment process, and additional charges you didn’t mention on the website. We use all of that and formulate that within our framework. Based on that hypothesis, we identify data points, create an audience, and execute. We see what works, and this goes on and on. This is how we are executing our market automation with MoEngage at Telekom.
Thank you very much!