Orange Poland Uber-izes telecom with Orange Flex
Orange Poland, the third largest operator in the Orange group after France and Spain, is handling two major transformations in parallel: To better address its legacy customers, and to capture a new customer segment with choice, simplicity and freedom.
By Ed Finegold, tmforum Contributing Editor. Originally posted via tmforum.
Orange Poland, the third largest operator in the Orange group after France and Spain, is handling two major transformations in parallel. To better address its legacy customers, the CSP built an integrated, omnichannel fixed, mobile and convergent front end for sales and care. Alongside this legacy transformation, Orange Poland decided three years ago to design a dedicated digital offer named “Flex” which aims to capture a new customer segment with choice, simplicity and freedom.
Rather than reinventing legacy processes, the Orange Flex team adopted customer experience standards from digital players such as Revolut and Netflix.
“What we are doing with Orange Flex is Uber-izing telecoms,” said Orange Poland CEO Jean-Francois Fallacher during the Orange Flex launch event.
'Orange Flex is contract, bill and shop-free.' “With Orange Flex, you just download the app, choose your offer, take a picture of your ID, take a selfie, and you become a Flex customer. No need to go to the shop and talk to the agent, everything is done through the App instantly. There are no more invoices; your payment method will be debited in real time for any purchase…No more ties; it’s over with the two-year contracts; you can leave whenever you wish. It’s freedom,” Fallacher said.
A unique aspect of the Orange Flex customer experience is that it allows customers to transfer data balances with friends and family and add music and video streaming passes, all in one click through the app.
Embracing digital customer experience transformation
“Achieving the Orange Flex vision required substantial changes to our infrastructure,” said Mariusz Gaca, VP, Consumer Market, at Orange Poland. “Going digital meant not just delivering the new app but adopting continuous improvement and innovation processes to leap ahead of the competition and remain there. Hence, we decided to go for a greenfield approach and built the app from scratch based on advanced digital components.”
Orange Poland recognized that its business support system (BSS) had to go hybrid-cloud to achieve its aims. The team turned to Vlocity, Salesforce and Matrixx Software to provide an integrated, hybrid-cloud and omni-channel solution architecture:
Vlocity manages the customer profile and digital order capture process. It prepares and sends a product order to TIBCO order management any time a customer does a modification in the app e.g. orders a new number, changes a data plan or replaces a SIM card.
Matrixx Software provides a powerful charging and rating system in real time as well as a full payment companion system. Thanks to Matrixx, customers can compose and purchase add-ons in one-click and track their consumption in the application.
Open APIs for integration and automation
Orange Poland leverages TM Forum’s Open APIs including the Product Ordering API and the Agreement Management API, for instance, to support its automated, digital ordering processes. The TM Forum Open APIs enabled data model alignment across the new hybrid-cloud components while also enabling integration via TIBCO order management to any underlying service order management systems.
“Vlocity uses TM Forum Open APIs to enable product order integration and automation, and support end to end customer journeys. Whether it’s helping subscribers activate service, pay for another user’s service, order a new SIM or eSIM, or purchase a video pass, TM Forum Open APIs provide the glue that makes Orange Flex’s sophisticated and powerful user experience possible,” said Dan Ford SVP & General Manager, Vlocity Communications & Media.
Orange Poland also leverages open source enablers such as Kong, Keycloak and React Native and has built 43 microservices to support its ambition. In one API call, Orange can migrate customers from its legacy environment to Flex. From start, Orange Flex has supported full test automation and now has more than 900 test scenarios run every three hours daily. This allows Flex to release quickly and constantly, following a CI/CD pipeline.
Placing customers at the core
Several customer experience elements are central to realizing the Orange Flex vision. One critical step in onboarding a customer with a photo and a selfie is in-app ID and facial-biometric technology. Customer onboarding processes take 2 minutes for an eSIM-enabled device. This requires orchestration and personalization of more than 1200 possible screens in the app to cover all scenarios. Furthermore, Orange Poland’s transformed BSS backbone powers the one-click payment features that make real-time purchases, on-demand service changes and data transfers possible.
Using a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) project management approach, as well as the continuous test-improve-test-improve loop, Orange Poland co-created Flex with over 4000 clients across Poland. For seven months, two customer testing sessions were held per week using sketches and interactive prototypes to end up with 60 fully tested customer journeys. In May 2019, Orange Flex went live with very positive feedback in the Polish press.
This continuous improvement loop also provided a critical lesson learned for the digital era, which is that customer feedback is a key to success. Within just a few months of launch, Orange Poland consolidated its data plan offerings from ten down to only four based on customer input. Reducing plan options embodies the Orange Flex Uber-ization ethos by making things simpler for customers, encourages uptake of streaming passes, and shifts the CSP’s overall mindset from associate-driven processes in retail stores to pure self-serve via mobile app.
Today, current customer feedback is collected through the 24/7 chat and comments in stores. It continuously refines the digital customer experience and allows prioritization of new, innovative features that sustain Flex’s competitive advantage such as Apple Watch, Blik-supported payment and many others. Integrating Flex customer feedback constantly can be challenging but has proven benefits. The excellent app rating in Apple store (4.7/5) is an example.
Orange Flex not only delivers a superior customer experience, but also substantial cost savings by automating key business processes, minimizing dependence on physical retail channels and reducing commission payments traditionally paid out to a range of channel partners.
After nine months of launching Orange Flex, Orange Poland had around 280,000 app downloads. With an approximate 30% weekly conversion ratio, Flex attracts many customers from competitors and net-new phone number activations. Flex also relies on a powerful referral and partnership program to increase its awareness in Poland. To date, 1 in 5 activations resulted directly from this program.
Setting the stage for 5G
Orange Flex represents the tip of the spear for Orange Poland. This new brand for a new segment gives the CSP a view into its near-term future. With 5G emerging, this all-digital experience is a proving ground for the company’s next-generation customer experience overall. As Orange Poland recently announced its own, branded Neva Jet line of 5G smartphones, Orange Flex provides a model for delivering the differentiated, all-digital mobile experience that will be expected in the new 5G marketplace.