Orange retail in the UK has taken the decision to promote the more effective use of existing terminals by the company's subscribers rather than the continual sale of new handsets.
According to Nick Moore, director of Orange Retail, "80% of phone users use 10% of the handset's functions." The three main reasons identified by Orange for this shortfall were that: services aren't seen as being relevant, they aren't usable or the user doesn't know how to use them. As Moore explained, "Mobile phones are not complicated, they are just misunderstood."
The initiative has taken the form of a UKP10million advertising campaign, promoting the idea of the Orange Academy which trains staff to ensure that customers get the most from their terminals. To back this up 1800 staff across 250 retail outlets nationwide have been reclassified as 'trainers.' Their priority is now to 'train not sell,' in order to encourage people to use their phones more.
Herein lies the motivation for the initiative. Moore explained, "There are some hidden gems within Orange such as our answer service. Once customers personalise their answer service, usage increases by 3%."
In a mature market such as the UK, any increase in revenue is welcomed and the handset is an obvious starting point. Furthermore, it sits well with the operator's handset policy. "Handset subsidies are reducing and prices are increasing which leads to a desire for increased handset life spans. Therefore customers need to be encouraged to use their handsets more."
The initiative has been backed up by a number of concrete steps that demonstrate that this is more than a marketing push. An extensive training programme has been ramped up over the past three months, comprising both in-store and full-day training sessions on particular terminals, supported by manufacturers. In addition, each new terminal is given to a different member of staff to build up the outlet's hands-on experience. Perhaps the most telling move, however, is that commission structures have been changed, meaning that retail staff will be paid commission based on the number of training sessions they undertake, not just the number of handsets.
In addition, and in line with the ease of use theme, Orange has re-launched its WAP portal. The aim, explained Matthew Edgar, from Orange multimedia operations, is to offer services to all Orange's customers in the easiest way possible. He explained, "This is not an exclusive handset offer. It gives people the chance to use all the relevant functionality, irrespective of their terminal. Orange always believes in the mass market." He further suggested that, "Content is not a huge differentiator; the real difference comes with the packaging, the access and the value for money."
To introduce the new look, Orange is offering three month free trials to all pre- and post-paid account holders with the aim of "getting customers in the habit of using these services," according to Edgar. However, the cost barrier has also been attacked by Orange which then offers the services at a fixed fee of UKP4 per month.