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“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” The proliferation of content providers and widening of content distribution has made discovery one of the most important elements of a TV experience. The challenge for any platform is to make it as intuitive as possible. This means surfacing it in the right places and minimising the steps customers need to take to get to the content they want. Freesat has worked hard on building its data analytics capabilities to monitor how consumers behave en route to viewing, as well as what they’re viewing. That navigation has traditionally taken place on the homescreen of a set-top box, but also now includes any companion mobile applications a company may have. But is navigation about to undergo a fundamental change? “Find me a new series to watch” Whilst set-top boxes continue to be important, there are also many devices that have entered the home. None with quite the speed and aplomb of Smart Assistants. Over the last couple of years, a Smart Assistant has been THE thing to have or to gift and they have become almost ubiquitous in every household due to their prominence, promotion and price. Through their intuitive and simple interface, Smart Assistants provide improved usability and discoverability, and they help join up and humanise complex tech. In short, they put the consumer in control of their experience via Voice. The challenge for organisations is to take all of these benefits, adapt them to TV initially and then connect it to the rest of their homes. Peter Simpson, Director of Technology at Freesat believes that there is increasing rationale for bringing Voice to STBs. “Voice can provide an easier way for customers to navigate and find the content they are looking for. Research we’ve conducted at Freesat shows that our opportunity lies in finding ways to make these interactions feel seamless and natural. The Voice trend is only going one way and we need to stay with it and find the uses that will ignite customers’ use through a great customer experience via their STB and then beyond to their connected home,” he advises. Happy customers = Staying customers In this highly-fluid world, keeping a customer has never been harder. These changing demands have meant a re-evaluation of what matters to them and which organisations are delivering on their promises. The complexities of ensuring a great customer experience don’t just fall upon an after sales department. They must be prevalent throughout the customer journey, from the moment they first encounter you, to the time they first ‘talk’ to you to when they open your product for the first time. It all builds up to creating an unforgettable experience. If you don’t match customers’ expectations, they will leave you at the first opportunity. This becomes even more important where some of the lines are blurred in partnerships. Operators need to be confident of the support provided by any partner to ensure that they benefit from the customer service provided by their partner. To make this structure work, you need clearly-defined roles and responsibilities and handoff points so that any customer interaction is seamless. The support function also needs to have an in-depth understanding of the proposition and be able to support customers in a quick, clear and concise manner. Freesat’s continued focus on customer experience has meant that it has been able to achieve over 90% customer satisfaction through a new product launch which will always have ‘teething problems’, and through lockdown. Know thy customer The most important element in achieving high customer satisfaction is knowing who they are, what they want and when they may need you to be there for them. This, ultimately, comes down to data. The data you have. The insights you derive from it. And what you do with those insights. From a Freesat perspective, this means having an in-depth understanding of how consumers interact with its boxes from a feature level, but also in terms of content. Are they more interested in drama? Or do they love a good old soap? This is useful for Freesat to enhance its products further and to ensure continued high levels of satisfaction. But there are also benefits to other parties: • For channel partners, Freesat can let them know what content is resonating best with consumers • For advertisers, it will mean that once targeted advertising is available, it can pinpoint the right message to the right audience • For network providers, it means they can enhance their proposition through a TV offering that drives revenue and stickiness. It also enables them to enhance the data they already hold on their customers and provide more colour around their customers Adapting to the new reality The ultimate conundrum for many of the newer operators lies in monetising their significant investment in infrastructure. And whilst speeds do have some sway in the market, it is an offering that has been commoditised over the last few years. That’s why many are turning towards additional services such as linear and On Demand TV services. They can become a differentiating hook and generate incremental ARPU for providers. With a new range of set-top boxes that combine the best of linear and On Demand TV, Freesat believes it can provide emerging alternative network providers with an enhancement to their existing proposition and compel consumers to switch. David Rowark, Head of B2B Sales for Freesat summarises the opportunity: “When you add up all the benefits of impressive network speeds, ‘owning the TV’ plus an in-depth understanding of the customer, you create a service – or an ecosystem if you will – that ensures sustained customer satisfaction. This in turn will lead to uplifts in both volume and per user value for operators. Plus, once consumers have had a taste, they’ll struggle to give it up.” And none of this comes with the large outlay that would be needed to set this up from scratch. With an established platform and support infrastructure, Freesat can be the partner to drive growth for many network providers looking to enhance their current proposition, drive incremental revenue and reduce customer churn. The time to take advantage of these shifting sands is now, lest operators be left behind or allow the traditional players, that already have a more complete proposition, to eat their lunch. For more information, visit Watch an interview with Andrew Ladbrook here. EUROMEDIA 17