A Look Behind the Success of the dtac App & True iService

  • The dtac app was created with the aim of being a hub for dtac-customer interactions, placing a strong emphasis on in-app-enabled monetization through personalization.
  • True iService has been developed to provide customer-centric before and after-sales service, incorporating automated self-service functions.

A study by Harvard Business School  has identified diversity as a key factor in the successful development of technology and innovation. In this context, diversity encompasses both inherent diversity and acquired diversity.

The people behind the success of the dtac app and True iService share valuable insights into their journeys, where it takes numerous components, including diversity, for these two innovations to succeed today.

Delivering Inclusive Experience

Tiparpa Suksathit, who has spearheaded the development of dtac app, said the app was first developed in 2010 as a ‘hub of dtac-customer interactions’. As of the end of May 2023, its current version has reached 8.4 million monthly active users, an increase from 7.7 million at the end of 2022. The app’s current goal is to attract 10 million users by 2023.

There are three major factors behind dtac app’s significant user growth. Currently, its user base comprises nearly 50% of dtac’s customer base. The three crucial success factors are:

  1. Capability: The dtac app has greatly expanded its capabilities. Its non-telecom service, known as dtac Beyond, offers a wider range of products to users. Additionally, the app provides a one-stop service, allowing customers to access various in-app services seamlessly and enjoy an enhanced experience. For example, gamers can conveniently purchase game items within the app itself, without needing to leave the app.
  2. Exclusivity: The dtac app provides its users with exclusive deals. For example, customers can enjoy a special offer where they receive 150-baht credit for a top-up payment of just 130 baht, while new downloaders of the app are promptly rewarded with 30 free coins, offering them enticing benefits and immediate value upon their engagement with the app.
  3. Offers: The dtac app now offers a variety of more innovative services, including a killer feature known as dtac Facebook Auto-Fetch. This game-changing feature, launched in 2022, provides moneylending services through the Facebook platform. Developed in collaboration between Telenor Digital, Meta, and dtac, dtac Facebook Auto-Fetch has successfully attracted a significant number of prepaid customers to the dtac app, with a remarkable 24% increase in the number of prepaid customers transitioning to the dtac app in 2022.


Experiential Diversity

Pattaravadee Leekulpitak, Head of Growth for the dtac app, emphasized that dtac’s successful digital transition was partly attributed to diversity. According to her, diversity in this context extends beyond inherent differences such as sex or ethnicity and includes acquired diversity as well. People can be diverse because of their experiences.

In the context of app development, experiential diversity holds significant meaning. To design an app for millions of users, the cooperation of multiple divisions is required. It is essential for these divisions to blend their diverse knowledge and expertise during the design process. App development thus encompasses not only coding and IT skills but also requires a human touch to deliver user-friendly experience and easy-to-understand content.

Ms. Tiparpa highlights the key strategy for 2023, which focuses on further enhancing the capabilities of the dtac app, particularly in relation to dtac Beyond and its non-telecom services. The development of the app also places a strong emphasis on app-enabled monetization through personalization. The Customer Value Management team is now actively involved in analyzing usage and purchase behaviors, aiming to provide dtac customers with access to the best services while maintaining the highest privacy standards.


The Journey of True iService

True iService has achieved remarkable success, with 5.2 million monthly active users being attracted to the app. Between 2021 and 2022, the app experienced a high growth rate of 12%. The primary focus of True iService is the development of automated self-services that cater to both before and after-sale needs. Users can conveniently perform tasks such as bill payment, registration of new phone numbers, subscription to mobile and fibered internet plans, and troubleshooting for basic issues.

Nopphawan Phongamwong, a key person behind True iService, explained that the app was initially developed to cater to the after-sales needs of customers who had purchased True products such as True Move, True Online, and TrueVisions. In the middle of 2022, True iService underwent a significant revamp with the aim of maximizing customer convenience.

Currently, True iService maintains a strong emphasis on “buy-sell-pay” features, ensuring that customers have round-the-clock access to convenient self-services. To further enhance the customer experience, True introduced the “Mali” chatbot, which plays a crucial role in delivering necessary services and assisting with troubleshooting. This innovative addition has resulted in a notable improvement in customer satisfaction, as evidenced by a significant 15% decrease in the number of customer calls received by the call center.

“True iService’s challenge is about how to cover all True services, whether it’s mobile or non-mobile,” Ms. Nopphawan emphasized. She further highlighted that the development process involved numerous trials and errors, but the ability to learn from mistakes ultimately resulted in several successes, and the primary mission has always been to provide customers with the most seamless and convenient experience possible.

Standardization and Collaboration

According to Ratha Sriwattarangkoon, senior product owner and designer of the True iService app, the team behind True iService consists of individuals with diverse knowledge and experiences. She emphasizes the hard work and dedication of all team members. As part of their commitment to understanding customer journeys and needs, team members spent about three months engaging with customers and frontline staff.

“When working with people from different backgrounds, we must understand that their mindset and perspectives are different. Communication and mutual understanding are very important. They are key to success. Sometimes, team members may interpret the same words differently. Therefore, we need to double-check if all team members understand the same thing,” said Ms. Nopphawan. With an engineering background, she usually approaches problems and explores solutions from an engineer’s perspective. However, she has also acquired an understanding of the different perspectives that arise from people hailing from diverse backgrounds.

On the whole, they all believe that the heart of technological development is “standardization.” The four emphasize that standards materialize through collaboration arising from the diversity of developers and users, and technology simply serves as a tool to connect and harmonize people.