Telenet: transforming BASE to meet the needs of the customer

Telenet: transforming BASE to meet the needs of the customer

Gérald Demortier, Chief of BASE Tribe at Telenet outlines how the company transformed its BASE brand to continuously meet the needs of its customer

Available mostly in Flanders and Brussels, Telenet enables and inspires customers to get the most out of their digital lives and businesses. It serves Belgium and Luxembourg with connectivity, hosting and security solutions.

The Liberty Global company provides media, telecommunications and entertainment services, offering seamless connectivity, inspiring entertainment and superior business solutions. Through its two main brands, Telenet and BASE, it commercialises its products and services.

BASE, which operates in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia, is the company’s mobile service that continuously challenges the mobile market by launching products and services that adapt to meet the needs of the customer.

Telenet acquired BASE back in 2015 to expand its offering within the telecommunications industry.

With nearly 30 years of experience within the ICT industry, Gérald Demortier, Chief of BASE Tribe leads BASE within Telenet and is responsible for marketing, IT, customer journey and digital elements for the BASE brand.

Discussing the acquisition of BASE, the Tribe lead said: “Telenet, for 20 years, had a fixed network and then acquired BASE in 2015 in order to get a mobile network. It was important to have a fixed and mobile network presence in the FMC strategy and that was one of the reasons Telenet looked to acquire BASE, for its mobile network.” 

“But, when you acquire a mobile network, you also acquire the customers, the brand and the people, and that's why BASE is part of the Telenet brand as it is so complementary to the company. Telenet is really the family FMC company within the group and BASE is the mobile-only company within the brand focusing more on individual customers” he continued.

Telenet: acquiring BASE to expand its mobile offering

Following the acquisition in 2015, Telenet began to integrate the BASE company within its operations between 2016 and 2017.

“The way the company went around it was probably not the best choice. 18 months after the integration, we saw a sky-high churn, 20% decline in sales and a 25% decline in footfall within BASE stores,” said Demortier.

To tackle the challenge at hand, Demortier and the Telenet team looked at ways to elevate the BASE brand to improve sales and revenue. To turn this around, Telenet put the focus back on BASE and made the brand its own entity, under the Telenet umbrella.

“This was to give us the right focus, the right positioning, the right project portfolio, the right strategy and the right campaigns,” explained Demortier.

“It’s the most interesting challenge we had to face, especially in the mobile market which is super competitive. We turned the negative figures into positive figures by having the right people at the right place but also having the right teams focusing on specific elements of the customer journey. We changed everything and completely repositioned BASE’s image.”

Now, a customer-centric company, BASE continually responds to the needs of its customers and proactively makes changes to meet market demands. 

“We also changed our tariff plan strategy, our promo strategy and we invested a lot in digital services. We launched a new app that acts as a tool that customers can use to manage their subscription plan and make payments. We’ve started to integrate live chat on the website to improve customer engagement,” Demortier added.

By changing a number of aspects within the brand, BASE has transformed its narrative into a positive one and turned the declining sales around. This transformation is not to be taken lightly, Demortier explained, as it was “probably the biggest challenge over the last five years I have had to face with the team. But the change was appreciated by our customers which is reflected in our sales and NPS.”

BASE also developed its ‘My BASE’ app to make its customers experience as simple and seamless as possible. Within the app, customers can manage and settle invoices, adjust services, request assistance and check their consumption.

It also automatically alerts customers via text when customers have used 80% of their bundle, or when they use a non-included service. 

With its exclusive ‘Data Jump’ offer, customers can carry over their unused data, it also has a ‘Free Data Day’ where subscribers get access to 24 hours of free data on the first day of each month.

Supporting its customers with two complementing brands

As two separate entities, Demortier explained how the two brands, Telenet and BASE, complement each other with the different customers and niches the pair operate within.

“BASE is playing an important role in providing the best possible experience. We offer an unbundling service where customers don’t need a fixed-mobile conversion. BASE is well known in Brussels and in the south of the country. With Telenet, it is really complementary in terms of the customer base as well as the service the two offer,” Demortier said.

Innovating with the interest of its customers, BASE tends to serve individuals looking for a mobile device plan that offers spending optimisation and the best solutions within telecommunications. Better suited for families, Telenet gives its customers an improved digital life with its entertainment platform.

“It's clear that BASE had always the mindset to challenge things. Telenet is a big company with a lot of processes and probably sometimes lacks simplicity, and the core of BASE is simplicity. BASE needs to be very pragmatic and very simple in the way we do things because we have fewer people so we need to optimise what we have within the company.” 

Looking to challenge typical ways of working, BASE was quick to implement agile way of working. “That is now fully implemented at the Telenet level; they looked at the ways we work and take inspiration from it,” said Demortier.

“BASE has also been used as a kind of pilot. When we developed our new IT platform, BASE was the first to use the system. It was the first company to use the full new stack operations support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS),” he added.

BASE: adapting to the needs of the mobile market

By installing this new IT platform into its operations, BASE has been able to cement its customer-centric approach as it enables more flexibility within the company.

“With the latest technology and new IT system, we now have the ability to develop and change our tariff plans much easier. Now, the time to market has decreased where we need to adapt a subscription plan to respond to threats from competition. We don’t need to negotiate this with IT to make sure we are on the right roadmap, because of the technology we can change the basic stuff such as tariffs to ensure competition,” outlined Demortier.

“It’s really important to have all of those elements within the Tribe, both within our digital platform and in terms of BSS and OSS,” he continued.

This flexibility is crucial for BASE as it responds to the demands of the market. “The biggest threat for BASE is the introduction of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) world and its popularity. With this, it gave us two choices, respond to this need or lose customers,” explained Demortier.

It comes as no surprise that BASE made the former choice and looked into FMC last year. With support from Tadaam, a home 4/5G internet and television provider, BASE expanded into the FMC market with Tadaam’s discount offer.

BASE expanded its bundled telecom services and offered mobile subscribers a €5 discount when they took a Tadaam offer of wireless home internet and TV. Telenet launched the Tadaam offer back in 2019 and this was then integrated into BASE’s offering two years later.

“The solution is really moving in the right direction. We are acquiring new customers every month. Guaranteeing a constant service level for Internet & TV services via a mobile network remains a big challenge” said Demortier. 

“When you have too many customers using television, for example, through 4G on the same antenna, you have a problem in terms of service level. And that's the biggest challenge we’re dealing with. We need to manage the number of customers and our coverage very smartly, otherwise, as you accelerate your growth, your mobile network will not support that,” he added.

Acknowledging this is the next challenge for BASE. Demortier explained how the company plans to remain a key actor in the telecommunications space. He concluded: “In the future, BASE will continue to be an important actor in terms of mobile service for the value-seeking customer. We are going to continue to innovate at pace. We are going to accelerate our internet and TV offer within the BASE portfolio too. As a company, we also plan to disrupt the way we engage with the customer. Today it is too traditional, tomorrow it'll be fully digital.”

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