Call for change

This leading player in the UK’s highly competitive mobile, broadband and TV markets faced a difficult challenge as the pandemic took hold. When the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown was introduced in March 2020, the company could see that more and more customers were struggling to pay their monthly bills. Under its existing process, customers who couldn’t pay usually would have had their service disconnected. However, doing so is not a step to be taken lightly, especially during a pandemic. And even customers with an excellent track record of paying their bills were having problems. The company needed a new approach to non-payment: one that would take account of the unprecedented financial pressures on customers. For help, it turned to Accenture.

Insight-driven customer retention operations

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When tech meets human ingenuity

Combining advanced technology with new processes and tailored training, the client and Accenture co-created a more holistic and empathic way to handle customers facing difficulties paying their bills. The results included easier conversations, increased collections and higher customer loyalty and advocacy.

Advanced analytics

Accenture and the client applied advanced customer segmentation analytics to identify the target customers: those who were previously good payers but were now struggling to settle their bills.

Leading retention techniques

The joint team came up with creative solutions for engaging with and retaining these customers while still recovering as much revenue as possible, such as “promise to pay” arrangements set for a future date. These offers were tested out using Accenture’s advanced analytics tools.

Retention toolkit

The third step was training the customer service agents to be sensitive to customer’s financial situation, enabling them to empathise and collaborate to find the right solution together.

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A valuable difference

Implementing intelligent, human-centric sales and customer operations has created better experiences for the client’s agents and customers, while also achieving substantial operational and financial benefits. The value delivered in 2020 included a 12% improvement in non-pay disconnections, meaning 18,500 more customers were retained than in 2019, and an enterprise-wide saving of US$3.25m through lower customer debt at disconnection was achieved. Additionally, the new approach helped the company sell US$7.2m worth of handset in four months and save another US$1m through impacts such as fewer repeat calls. The more empathic and responsive customer care environment is now a powerful differentiator for the client going forward, driving customer loyalty upwards and customer churn down. Put simply, the company is now positioned to compete more effectively – whatever uncertainty the post-pandemic future may bring.


year on year improvement in non-pay disconnections


more customers retained in 2020 than in the previous year


saved every year through retention

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