Mobile operators lose a quarter to a third of their customers every year. This is an international phenomenon and providers don’t like talking about it. If you talk to an account manager who is affected by this, you mostly get the answer: “we profit just as much from it because our competitors also lose as many customers”. I can never understand this point of view. Wouldn’t it be more profitable to stop customers moving away than to go to the expense of pursuing new customers. Everyone says yes, but the behavior of mobile operators says no.

Telus used to be the smallest mobile operator in Canada. It stands out as the “small Gallic village” in a market in which customer-service is very poor. Five years ago, Telus curbed the mass migration of customers, buy radically embracing customer experience. The result today is impressive: customer migration down to 10%. Customer complaints are also 80% lower than the competition and there is steady revenue growth of 5%. Employee satisfaction is 85% and dividend growth is 15%. In the meantime, Telus has climbed to number two in the Canadian market.

What does Telus do differently? They established that most business processes were directed inwardly. Targets and guidelines were oriented around departmental efficiency. The innovation was to define an external destination for each process, with reference to the customer. In practical terms, this means painstaking work in change management. A lot of work in and around details, considering all employees. Success has proved them right.