Technology has changed the way people buy things, and with it, consumer expectations have changed quite a bit. Traditional hard sales strategies that rely on pressure tactics or “buy more get more” pitches no longer work in the digital age. Today, we sit with two key figures in dtac’s Sales Group: Akkapong Linpaisan, Head of Branded Sales Division and Buranis Mosqua, the newly appointed head of Partner and Hybrid Channels Division.
How is dtac adapting itself to the digital era?
Buranis: The sales landscape is constantly changing, fueled by the emergence of digital channels. Traditionally, the more-for-more proposition worked effectively, but it’s no longer the case. It’s just not enough to allow customers to make a purchase decision. The reality is that many people perceive that the telco industry lacks excitement and is no longer sexy. In fact, telcos are an important enabler of economic activity, accelerator of innovation and they establish markets for new products and services for the future.
What is the role of physical retail in this new digital landscape?
Akkapong: Sales persons need a lot of skill to be able to provide good experiences from the customer’s first touchpoint to after-sales service. Telcos are considered a service relationship with a long-term engagement, not a one-time purchase item. Therefore, providing customers with a good experience is a foundation of the buying cycle.
Buranis: The achievement of sales is not just making a purchase, but we need to keep customers informed about technological literacy. For example, sales persons should be able to explain how fast 5MB is. Not only face-to-face communication, but also communicating through media outlets.
How to differentiate dtac in a crowded competitive landscape?
Akkarapong: What differentiates dtac from our counterparts is our unique identity – being simple, honest and, most importantly, being “human.” Customer experience is about human interaction and creating a bond between customers and brand. That’s why we really care about our customers and create an exceptional customer journey. We proactively offer things that go beyond expecations. For instance, we offer a data transfer service after closing sales, reinforcing our caring proposition.
How does this compare to other industries?
Buranis: I earned a lot of experience in e-commerce and online field for both American big corporates and medium-sized startups. There’s a lot of potential of in online platforms in Thailand, which have been growing exponentially. They shape customers lifestyle with direct interaction through online channel.
Akkapong: I had worked in several industries, ranging from banking, export, supply chain management, consumer goods and telocs. Each industry has its own unique challenges. Sales is always a people job, which requires strong leadership skills and the capacity to interact with many different personality types.
How do you see the coming months?
Buranis: We are re-energizing our relationship with independent retails, what we call our Blue Shops, especially upcountry. Blue Shops offer a huge opportunity to access customers, but challenges remain due to the intimacy in the relationship. Hence, we urgently need to tighten relationship in this segment.
The other focus is improving the customer experience, which is considered a foundation of sales. No matter what channels customers use to interact with dtac, they should receive the same experience.
Akkapong: Human resource is another urgent priority. As we’re going digital, customers also expect to be able to conduct multiple transactions with a single dtac staff like a one-stop service. But change is tough. Not everyone is comfortable with changes. That’s why internal communication is key to driving change.
Are you confident dtac can get back to growth?
Buranis: I can feel energy and commitment from dtac staff to join forces in improving the company and growing together. Moreover, our self-improvement program is very impressive. When it comes to people management, workforce upskilling can be a guarantee for the success of the future in responding to the intense market competition.
Akkapong: I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction, proven by last quarter’s results. We even outperformed our targets. Many indicators tell us we’re getting back to growth. Every single dtac giant contributed this success. The next step is that we need to build on the uniqueness of our market differentiation, unleashing our potential.