Retail to ‘Metail’ – how telcos prepare for next-gen customers

Image credit: AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA |

Will Gibson, VP of Marketing with 30 year old Canadian company Maplewave has some ambitious ideas when it comes to presentations. He is due to present at the forthcoming CEM Summit in Singapore and his subject is ‘From retail to ‘metail’.

Gibson is throwing down a challenge to telcos. He is presenting “through the lens of the newest generations of digital users, Gen Z who are up to 26 years old and Gen Alpha, who represent the next wave of 5 or 6 years olds”.

His focus is on what telcos need to be doing now to cater for future generations, because “if they haven’t started thinking about it, they are already in danger of being too late” says Gibson.

Maplewave works with ‘enterprise telco’ customers and the company’s aim is to support the retail part of their operation. With years of experience in telco retail Gibson and his team are perfectly placed to help, because they have been there and, literally, done it. 

What they do is enable the customer experience to be lightning fast and superior to anyone else’s. They offer a classic retail Point of Sale (PoS) system that is a ‘walled garden’ experience. “With one interface but several different modules, this means that telco staff do not have to get into too much detail and do not need to jump into different systems”. One compelling offering is paperless contracts, which means that a contract can be stored in, and retrieved from the cloud.

Importantly, the functionality is available on mobile devices so that field sales staff have the same system when they are out and about. At the same time, the product integrates with many legacy systems and a range of OSS and BSS systems such as those offered by vendors like Amdocs, CSG and Optima.

The company is now in the perfect position to address the Asian market. “We dipped our toes in the water last year” says Gibson. “We were at the Telecoms World event in Bangkok, which was an interesting opener for us”. This year the company is at the CEM Summit in Singapore and Gibson is very excited about the trip. After all, he lived there for three years and can’t wait to return.

There are three angles that Gibson hopes will enable him to start some conversations in Singapore: the customer experience, digital transformation and, vital to the ever-wider range of services being offered by telcos, inventory and stock control.

Although the focus tends to be on the telco owned retail business, Maplewave also addresses the needs of dealer models, pervasive in North America, as well as small franchises, so there is a lot of flexibility in what the company offers. They are a conduit for the business to use and do not get involved in transactions themselves.

Gibson smiles at just how slow and cumbersome some telco retail processes can be. “I ran a carrier in the Caribbean, which spanned 20 countries, and it was almost an hour to process post-paid purchases. By the time one person had stamped the contract and it had been pushed through to the back office and processed it seemed interminable. With this offering we cut this down to 15 minutes and this is a great amount of time to let staff keep the conversation going with customers, making sure they have the right handset, whether they want extras and upgrades. So, excellent for the customer experience”.

What sets Maplewave apart, Gibson believes, is their consulting arm. He leads a team that has many years’ experience in telco retail so they can speed up the process of evaluation and recommendation. Carriers are open to the idea of the consulting side and should a carrier wish to buy the product at the end of the process, then the consulting process will make things go quicker and, one way or another, will almost always result in a less costly sale.

Gibson is, quite rightly, proud of the fact that he hasn’t lost a customer in 10 years. Watch out for his talk ‘From Retail to Metail’ at the CEM Summit in Singapore to take advantage of his experience.

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