dtac’s virtual CEO breakfasts aim to reinvent digital experiences in the new normal

With video conferencing replacing face-to-face meetings, dtac CEO Sharad Mehrotra has been hosting virtual breakfasts to restore a bit of warmth and humanity to business proceedings. His first virtual breakfasts welcomed the teams working on the dtac app and on Jaidee services. Fittingly, they discussed the changing nature of digital channels in the new normal.

dtacblog joined the breakfast sessions to get an inside view on where dtac customers are headed in the COVID-19 era. On the first virtual breakfast, Mr. Mehrotra was tucking into a plate of fresh fruit while the Jaidee team sipped coffee he had delivered to their home.

“Prepaid users are traditionally considered less digitally-savvy than their postpaid counterparts, but that’s becoming less true. Being digital is a question of survival in this economic situation,” said Nussaraporn Sumretphol, Head of the Value Creation Unit. “What we’re seeing is that even when money is tight, we have prepaid customers choosing unlimited internet, even if it is capped at 128kpbs, to have access to LINE messenger. It goes beyond entertainment. You can’t find work or connect with customers if you don’t have internet. And we offer it to them for just a few baht a day.”

That view would be confirmed a week later in the CEO’s second virtual breakfast, with the dtac team.

“Games in the dtac app used to attract a majority of postpaid users, but we are getting more and more prepaid customers now. This shift is more evidence that the app is becoming less a utility bill payment platform for postpaid customers and more of a lifestyle destination for everyone,” said dtac app product owner Chuenchonnani Daychapratoomwan.

Since the declaration of the emergency decree in March, traffic to the dtac website has grown by nearly 50 percent compared to March and traffic to the dtac app by over 25 percent. dtac also saw dramatic growth for productivity and communication apps like Zoom, Office 365 and LINE.

“COVID-19 has forced a behavior change. Shops were closed, so customers had no choice but to turn to digital channels. Also, we gave out a lot of free data to support them during this difficult time, and that has encouraged new customers to see what internet access can do for them,” said Panthep Nilasinthop, Head of Digital.

This growth in the use of digital channels has put urgent pressure on the digital teams. Now that new users are experiencing the platform, Mr. Panthep’s crew wants them to fall in love with the experience. And although the mood of the virtual breakfast is relaxed—this is truly a casual chat with no agenda—there is also a sense that dtac cannot let its customers down.

“We have big plans for the future, but right now we also need to focus on urgent fixes. We want to make the app run faster, we want smoother customer journeys, we are improving the digital experience for our customers every day,” said user interface and user experience (UI/UX) expert Akebordin Duangphoommes.

As the discussion shifted to friendly banter about coffee versus tea, the virtual breakfast was a powerful reminder that digital channels can bring us together when social distancing forces us apart.

“In this difficult time, it’s nice to see a positive emerge. Thai society is becoming more empowered by mobile connectivity. And it’s our job to help all our customers to connect to what matters most,” said Mr. Mehrotra.