13 April 2023

CX lessons telcos can learn from pop classics for growth


When you think of pop classics and telecommunications, you might not see an instant connection.

But hear us out – both have one thing in common: they know how to connect with people. An infectious pop song is instantly recognisable, enjoys high recall, and keeps people coming back for more – in a similar way, telco brands that truly connect with their customers enjoy higher levels of customer loyalty.

As operators continue to elevate their customer experience standards (CX), the world of music offers several valuable lessons that can help operators hit the CX sweet spot with good customer experiences, while reducing customer churn, and maximising acquisition and retention.

Think tailored messaging and creating unforgettable moments. That’s how pop music can inspire telcos to develop more exciting and satisfying customer interactions. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a telco provider that’s as catchy as a chart-topping hit? Here are four songs through the decades that highlight the state of your customers’ minds and what you should be doing to capture their hearts.

It’s amazing how NPS speaks right to customers’ hearts

"It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark"
When you say nothing at all (1999) by Ronan Keating

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the gold standard for measuring customer satisfaction these days. It’s simple to calculate – just subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters – and it’s a much stronger predictor of customer loyalty and business growth than other metrics like CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) and CES (Customer Effort Score).

Telco operators adopt NPS surveys for fundamental reasons. Not only do they measure customer experience, but high scores on NPS also speak volumes because they correlate strongly with repurchases and referrals, according to Bain & Company, who developed the NPS market research metric back in 2003.

NPS is also highly valued because it generates more honest feedback since it’s not tied to a specific interaction. As digitalisation accelerates the evolution of customer expectations, NPS 3.0 is stepping up as the improved measurement of impact-driven customer happiness.

+50 is considered a solid NPS score, and +70 knocks it out of the park. Digital-native brands like Amazon, Apple, and Netflix, typically known for delivering highly personalised CX, tend to hover around +60 points. However, the picture looks less rosy for telcos, with some NPS dipping as low as -20 or -40.

If NPS is any indication, it reveals a considerable gap between telco operators’ expectations and reality. Our digital telco Circles.Life bucks the trend with an average of +50 points, far outranking traditional telcos across APAC and Japan. How? CX is just one of our main differentiators, which enables us to disrupt the telco scene and occupy an advantageous position among huge, NPS-leading digital companies around the world.

Crazy little thing called brand love (and why it means business)

“This thing called love
I just can’t handle it…
Crazy little thing called love (yeah, yeah)
Crazy little thing called love (yeah, yeah)”
Crazy little thing called love (1979) by Queen

When former Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts coined the term “Lovemark” in 2005, he understood the power of customer engagement. When people fall head over heels in love with a brand, it’s a game changer. Brands that create deep, meaningful, long-lasting connections with customers are rewarded with loyal customers who’ll stick around no matter what. And that’s not some fluffy marketing theory – a customer experience strategy has real, tangible impacts on the organisation from a business standpoint.

Most people know that happy customers mean healthy revenues. What many may not understand is how exceptional CX drives quantified business outcomes. By following the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Circles’ digital telcos see that higher revenues can be linked to five key variables:

If you want to take your business to the next level, it’s time to stop settling for satisfied customers and start aiming for the big leagues: promoters. Think about it: satisfied customers might return to your business, but promoters will sing your praises, driving revenue and brand recognition through the roof. Now that’s music that any telco operator would put on repeat.

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A whole new world of NPS excellence with a whole new methodology

“A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us ‘no’ or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming”
A whole new world (1992) by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle

Circles has developed a 4-step battle-tested methodology, enabled by technology, to achieve best-in-class NPS. Let us show you what it looks like:

Taking a step-by-step approach towards achieving best-in-class NPS

Taking a step-by-step approach towards achieving best-in-class NPS

The first step is all about identifying the problem. With a 360-degree view of your customers’ journeys, you can pinpoint friction points that may be holding you back. Whether it’s onboarding issues, usability problems, or other obstacles, you’ll want a clear picture of what’s causing your customers grief.

Next up is analysing the problem. By consolidating data from multiple touchpoints and visualising it on dashboards, you’ll be able to get a macro view of your subscribers’ sentiment. Using NPS, you can split them into different cohorts.

Whether they’re promoters, passives, or detractors, you’ll be able to dive into specific touchpoints and identify moments of joy and friction. This will help you to uncover actionable insights that can drive positive change.

Once you’ve got your ideas in place, it’s time to put them to the test. For instance, you might discover that network, value, and price are the top CX drivers when it comes to pleasing your customers. You could make these areas a top priority if you want to turn your customers into promoters.

Of course, that’s not to say other factors like delivery and checkout aren’t important. They are, but they just don’t pack the same punch as the big three. So, keep them in mind in the long term, but focus your efforts where they’ll have the most impact. Your customers will thank you for it.

Finally, turn your ideas into reality with prototyping. This is where a strong tech stack comes in handy, enabling you to efficiently test and iterate on solutions throughout the entire journey from start to finish. This is also where many traditional telcos stumble because of slow or incomplete digital transformation.

How Circles.Life uses Circles X to deliver an impressive NPS of +70

Circles is disrupting the digital telco industry with Circles X, a unified digital telco SaaS platform that is powering Circles.Life and digital telcos globally. To provide a delightful digital experience, we give the power back to users. You could say we’re built for operators, by an operator.

With Circles.Life, we implemented a loyalty-rewards system to increase retention and improve our NPS. Our “earn and burn” activities, which allow users to earn points for completing specific actions, and our passive earning feature, which enables users to accumulate points simply for being a subscriber, are designed to make the CX more engaging. We also added level progressions to keep things fresh and exciting for our customers.

Our efforts paid off, resulting in an impressive NPS of +70. Our analysis showed that our customers derive the most value from bill cost reduction, and we were pleased to see that 84% of our users who redeemed bill waivers opted for automatic bill offset in the future. This insight helped us to further refine our “earn and burn” initiative and strengthen our customer relationships.

All beautiful telco experiences start with a deep understanding of what customers want – get that right, and you’re set for success. Circles X helps operators launch digital telcos in a fast, scalable, and effective way. No more getting bogged down by legacy headaches because we’re asset-lite, people-lite, and friction-lite.

“And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing’s gonna stop us now”
Nothing’s gonna stop us now (1987) by Starship

Ready to amplify your CX and NPS? We’re all ears. Email us at

This article was originally published on TM Forum. Like what you read? Follow us for more news and insights from Circles.

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