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“AI-powered analytics can change the customer retention game,” says Aditi Mohanty, Vodafone’s digital marketing manager. “There’s so much data that we have from consumers interacting with online channels, with paid ads, with owned media, and a lot of other communication channels. We can accumulate all that data and much better understand the consumer’s behavior.”

Vodafone pours buckets of money into customer service, engagement, and retention, Mohanty says, because the telecom game in India is very competitive right now. There are four major telecom players in India — Vodafone, Idea, Airtel, and Jio — which means an ongoing price war in the market, as well as instant churn. An unhappy consumer can immediately switch to a competitor that will be happy to welcome them with open arms.


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In that environment, Vodafone has laid out a number of consumer retention plans, including wooing the internet-savvy customer with perks from companies it partners with, as well as the gratification of cash back on every billing cycle.

“However, these strategies can’t really culminate in a long-term engagement strategy until we know which consumers would likely respond to those campaigns or to those features,” Mohanty says. “In this scenario, we’re looking at AI-powered analytics.”

With artificial intelligence, it’s possible to analyze consumer behavior across a wide variety of channels to uncover which is the customer’s most preferred communication channel. Vodafone uses RFM analysis — or recency, frequency, monetary analysis — to create the foundation for some of their most valuable strategies.

The RFM tells you which consumer is most likely to churn out of your app, which consumer is the most loyal to your app and has stayed for more than three months, which consumer is interested but losing traction, and so on. You can target each of those segments with tailored communications designed to bring a customer back into the fold.

If you know that a consumer is going to churn out, despite an enticing retention campaign (say, a live iPad giveaway on the app) then that customer needs to be hit with a features or benefits offer, or cash back, or any other offer based on machine-learned analysis of what’s been most successful.

Mohanty says they drive customers to the app specifically, with consistently refreshed coupons, in order to collect key engagement strategy data around prepaid consumers, the youth segment, and those most likely to churn out. AI-powered analysis reads user behavior on the app, from no-shows to what they do when they show up, and is increasingly able to accurately predict the consumer who is most likely to churn out.

At any given point in time, she says, there are about 600,000 consumers on the app who are likely to churn out. With offer-heavy communications, they’ve seen up to three percent CTR on those campaigns. But even an uninstall is not the curtain call — they’re able to retarget that customer more narrowly on other digital channels.

“As much as we try to engage them with gamification and offers, the consumer really looks for value in any product,” Mohanty says. “If I can provide the consumer with real-time information, like when their pack will expire, what kind of pack is best suited for them, I can upsell them at the right moment. With automating that entire process, I’ve seen the customer lifetime value increase over the last year.”

Data has the biggest role to play in developing the best customer retention strategies, she adds. Because AI-powered analytics changes the game, they’re currently in the process of creating a data lake that will help them better guide customer journeys — and stop exits before they start.

“Overall, we’re trying to up our game in terms of digital services,” Mohanty says. “If the digital service curve gains momentum, where the consumer is generating a bill online or making queries online or reaching out to check their balance, that’s a win. The digital service curve goes up if I can get these consumers back on the app, or transactions go up — and with AI, we’ve seen growth on that as well.”

To learn more about how to reach out and grab someone with AI-powered engagement strategies, how artificial intelligence can offer a solid campaign foundation, and automation innovation, catch up on this VB Live webinar.

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In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • Key engagement strategies using AI
  • How to use AI to strengthen campaigns (including creative, messaging, segmentation and personalization)
  • The role of time-based triggering in automation and monetization
  • The evolving trends in marketing automation and omnichannel marketing


  • Kara Dake, VP Growth & Partnerships, Clevertap
  • Aditi Mohanty, Digital Marketing Manager, Vodafone
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat
  • Stewart Rogers, Analyst-at-Large, VentureBeat

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