Phones and internet routers are common fixtures in 21st century homes and it is only when they are not working as they should that we realise how much we depend on them.

Consumers therefore want to sign up with a telecommunications provider that offers not only top-quality products, but also excellent customer service.

As a result, telco providers need to make customer relationship management (CRM) a priority at all times. 

But it can be particularly crucial during the first three months of their relationship with a customer, or else they could risk losing them to a rival firm.

Beata Kovacs, head of international CRM and loyalty at Deutsche Telekom, is one industry figure who believes companies have to pay close attention to a customer during the initial period after they have signed up.

This, she stated, can ensure that any problems are dealt with and ironed out before they escalate into something more serious.

"If the customer selects the wrong price plan for them…and they get a bill shock in the first three months, then they'll think that whatever we do for the next 18 months [of their contract] will be wrong and they won't ever be satisfied," Ms Kovacs commented.

Nora Merenyi, a senior CRM expert at Deutsche Telekom, added that once the first three months have passed, a telco firm can then start making predictions about the behaviour of their customer.

As a result, they will be able to promote special offers that people might find useful and make more of a point of upselling.

Ms Merenyi insisted that the cost of retention can be lower if a business actively stays in touch with customers.

She added that a good relationship with a customer is similar to a healthy marriage, with each party being willing to listen and prepared to give and take when required.

Understanding and anticipating customer needs is critical in any sector, but with the telcos market being so competitive and people having so much choice about who they should sign up with, CRM must be firmly at the top of the agenda here.

Customer engagement white paper