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O2 – Look after your customers and

they’ll look after you!

Annalisa Smith – Senior Client Service Co-ordinator

Success of O2 in the UK Mobile They also tapped into the business

phone category market by developing different contracts
The UK mobile phone market boomed in which appealed to different sized
th early
the l partt off the
th 21st century
t andd companies.
i Thi allowed
This ll d consumers tot
penetration of mobile phone users feel that their needs were being well
topped 74% in the UK by the end of catered for and they were being valued.
20041. Anyone who wanted a phone had
one so it was no longer easy to attract In 2002, there seemed to be a general
new customers to the category. The big dissatisfaction with the mobile operator
category players needed to out-smart category compared to other categories.
the competition to increase their market For example, BRANDZ data shows that in
share and focussed on developing
p g new 2002 only y 26% of consumers were
schemes to lure in new customers from totally satisfied with the Mobile telecoms
their competitors. This behaviour fuelled market as a whole, placing it behind
high churn between providers with three sectors such as Banking, Credit cards
quarters of consumers in 2004 being and even Insurance. It looked evident
price driven. O2 took a different tack that the mobile phone operator market
and in 2005 turned the market on it’s needed to be shaken up entirely in order
head with a strategy aimed at customer to satisfy its consumers.
retention. In fact, O2’s ‘A World That
Revolves Around YouYou’ campaign,
campaign as well
as helping to retain customers also UK
succeeded in attracting new ones 2002 Totally Satisfied Data
meaning that by the end of 2005, O2 Cars 38%
had the largest UK user base2.
According to Eddie Murphy (Director, Banking 37%
Priority Consulting Services Ltd) “In a
saturating mobile market, out- Credit cards 34%
performing the competition on churn is Insurance 28%
a crucial weapon in the battle to
continue subscriber and revenue Mobile phone operators 26%
growth. Choosing the right customer-
retention strategies will be the key to
continuing success.” Re-invention and momentum

Listening to what customers want? In 2002, the category was dominated by

O2 was re-born out of the former BT the likes of big players such as Orange
cellnet brand and went from strength to and
a d Vodafone.
oda o e Notot only
o y was
as O2
O unknown
u o
strength from the time of it’s launch in in the market but it’s future wasn’t
2002. Its success came from making looking promising as predicted by a
sure that all segments of the market negative Brandz voltage score.
were catered for, from those who
preferred the flexibility of pre-pay and
those who preferred the benefits
provided by taking out a contract.

Consumers at Bond

Living up to brand promise – Why are

O2 customers more satisfied?
By 2004, it had overcome its lack of
market presence but was still failing to O2’s diagnosis of bonding shows a
persuade consumers about its advantage positive turnaround for O2 with levels
over the other brands, as can be seen by in 2007 above expectation on category
its brand signature. drivers such as offering better prices
and fairer billing rates.

Diagnosis of bonding
Fairer and more
transparent 7%
billing rates

Overall give you a 6%

better deal
O2 are also in a really strong position
in the market with a much higher
percentage of consumers who say that
However, tracking the brand over a 5 O2 is the only brand they would
year period to 2007, we saw O2 grow to consider. This is double the category
become one of the strongest brands in average of 7% and 5% more than its
the UK mobile operator market. nearest competitor, Orange. Amongst
The brand’s awareness had grown O2 users this has rocketed from 22%
considerably and was now +10% to 39% in 2007 and again is higher
against the category average. Perhaps than Orange (25%) and Vodafone
most importantly the brand’s bonding (21%)
score was now the highest among its
competitors. The outlook for the brand Amongst the consumers who are
was also much stronger with a positive bonded to O2, we see that ‘meeting
brand voltage score of +3.6 showing needs’ is the most important factor for
the brand is set to gain market share in driving bonding in the category. So, it
the future. The higher the brand voltage doesn’t take a genius to work out that
score, the more likely your brand will the only way to meet needs of
convert consumers from presence to customers is to listen to ones we have
bonding at the expense of other brands – getting the business basics right can
in the market. see payback.
RecommenderZ – Would you Look after yyour most valuable asset
recommend your mobile phone and they’ll look after you
The outlook for O2 is strong based on
O2 had done something right but can its brand voltage score and the
this be all attributed to putting the company should continue to benefit
customer first? To gage this, we can from putting their customers first.
identify if O2 customers are likely to Acquiring a new customer can cost 5
recommend the brand to their friends times more than satisfying the
and colleagues as the pay off from O2
s customers that you have4, something
customer satisfaction can be seen in O2 must have known and now used to
their likelihood to recommend the their advantage. According to the
brand to others. O2’s RecommenderZ same source a 2% increase in
score is 66 which sits 10% above the customer retention has the same
category average. affect on profits as cutting costs by
10% or put another way a 5%
It is clear from the data that looking reduction in defection rate can
after your customers reaps benefits in increase profits by 25%-125%
terms off both
b h retaining
i i customers andd depending on the industry.
attracting new ones; “as good profits Pretty powerful statistics to spell out
are earnings from creating customer the importance of keeping your
value, which in turn, creates customers customers happy.
who are then promoters” 3.

So the old adage of treating others as [1] IPA Paper – O2 The best way to win new 

you would wish to be treated yourself is customers? Talk to the ones you already have –
a simple truth that turned out to be the pg 103
pg 103
key to O2’s success. [2] O2 internal and external market research 

estimates – IPA Paper – O2 The best way to win 

new customers? Talk to the ones you already 
Satisfaction in the market have –pg 103
[3] Fred Reichheld

So since the launch of O2, are [4] "Leading on the Edge of Chaos", Emmett C. 

consumers more satisfied with the Murphy and Mark A. Murphy

telecoms market on the whole? The
answer to
t this
thi is
i yes!! In
I 2002,
2002 only l
26% of consumers were totally satisfied
with the market. Since 2002 and the
launch of O2, this has risen to 38% as
a category average with 41% of O2
customers being completely satisfied.

Annalisa Smith is a Senior Client Brandz is the WPP global brand equity study
Service on Brandz at Millward Brown, Available to clients and potential clients via
the leading international brand and WPP owned companies. It is validated
communications research against sales and quantifies and diagnoses
consultancy the strengths weaknesses of brands.