Loo Fun Chee: “Here is our promise to our customer…you should be worry-free.”
Vodafone will continue its course of customer acquisition with its marketing manager pledging that partnerships will play a crucial role in positioning the brand in 2016.
The commitment to using partnerships is a fundamental element of the telco’s brand positioning and customer acquisition strategy, Vodafone marketing manager, Loo Fun Chee, told Mumbrella in a recent interview.
Key to the entire message is allowing Vodafone to at last claim that its customers (and its partners) can trust the network. In a year where rival, Telstra, saw its mobile and data services compromised, Vodafone says its decision to forgo marketing to focus on rebuilding the network means it now can be trusted.
In February Vodafone announced free roaming to New Zealand as part of its service and also struck an exclusive partnership deal with Qantas – both strategies to build loyalty and introduce the brand to new customers.
“Because we are the third player in the industry one of the key objectives for us is to continue to drive penetration but we want to do that by making our existing customers happy,” said Chee.
“If I take a step back, one of our key promises to the marketplace is to say we want to be able to provide a worry-free customer experience. And to do that, roaming is one part of it, so we have got international roaming as one key pillar to ay how do you roam like home. But we make sure our value is simple; it’s also transparent, reliable, and it’s a network built for streaming.
“Qantas is a great brand to partner with, and I think together, with them, we want to be able to provide a lot more differences of relevance to a customer – very, very important.
“For us, I think what we have shown the marketplace is that we really walk the talk.
“When we look at out strategic partners, similarly, even for Spotify as well, we are partners with them. When a customer signs on they actually get up to six months’ free use of Spotify.
Lee said that Vodafone’s approach to 2016 was going to be more holistic than it had been in the past. Last year the brand led with its campaign from Cummins and Partners promoting its “big little protest” against other telcos and their charges.
“With all of that it’s a more holistic approach, saying ‘here is our promise to our customer and the way to deliver on it is one of the key reasons to say why you should be worry-free’.
“I mean: zero roaming to New Zealand – that’s really eliminating the worry.
“It is about acquisition and the way we are driving acquisition is the way we are looking at what is relevant to our existing customers. The principles for our business are whatever we are offering new customers should be exactly the same for our existing customers.
From the perspective of the brand, Lee said that Vodafone was now working from a position of strength it had not enjoyed for many years.
“We are clearly back to growth on all our measures now,” said Chee.
“Firstly, before that time that you mentioned – the network meltdown, Vodafone is known all across the world as a global company, a global brand. Very, very strong.
“That incident that happened, we have fixed all that. The focus was getting back to the experience that they expect and that we want the customers to have.
“We were focused on getting network up and the network now is fantastic, and the customer experience and we have one of the lowest, if not the lowest complaints.
“So both in terms of network and customer experience and now we can be bold and confident to layer on top of that what are all the benefits for the customer that really starts to challenge the industry and give them a better alternative, a better choice for Australians.
Vodafone, which used to be a leader in content space before surrendering the area as it focused on its network, is also rebuilding its content offers.
“Content is important to us but the strategies about how we go about doing this obviously differs from one operator to another,” she said.
“As you say, Optus has taken the strategy to procure and we have a different approach. Its more of a long term strategic partnership where we work with mainly content partners that are a key to a customer’s life.
“When you think about music, Spotify is really the key to that. And you think about video entertainment, Stan actually offers a lot of content that is relevant to Australians.
“And then Qantas, travelling, it’s a key thing. Travelling is a key aspiration for Australians, so how do we make it better, more affordable and simpler for Australians to travel.
“The other segments that we know are critical are multicultural segments. Again, that is something that Vodafone is really, really strong in.
“International services, IDD and roaming are critical. Infinite calling to 10 countries – we led in that marketplace, and then $5 roaming and now $0 roaming to New Zealand.
Chee said the focus for the year would remain firmly on customers.
“From Vodafone’s perspective we are very excited about 2016 and we are very mindful of what the customers are going through,” she said.
“There is a lot more pressure on families and and the household budget, and so on and so forth. Which is why providing real value for the customer is critical for us.
“From a marketplace standpoint competition has started to heat up and so we expect it is going to be a competitive and tough market but we are very confident we are keeping our eye more on the customer, not about responding just to the marketplace.”