Telecom Italia (TIM) has announced that all users signed up to its “TIM Party” loyalty program can receive bonus data and voice minutes depending on how long they have been with the operator. New customers on a data plan will receive 8 GB of free data valid for one day, while customers who have been with the operator for more than one year will receive 2 GB for one week and customers who have been with the operator five years or more will receive 3GB for a week. A bonus of 10 GB for a week will go to customers who subscribe to both mobile and fixed services.
Under the voice calls promotion, new customers will receive 100 bonus minutes valid for one week, while customers who have been with the operator for more than a year will get unlimited minutes for a day, clients of five years or more will get unlimited minutes for two days, and mobile and fixed customers will get unlimited minutes for a weekend.
In these times of ever-greater ease in switching services, it is very much in the interest of mobile operators, especially the large, established ones, to reward and encourage loyalty among their customers. Several factors contribute to lack of loyalty: The prevalence of unlocked devices, disruption of the market by MVNOs and non-traditional entities, and the increase in no-contract plans, in response to stronger customer demand for flexibility.
In such a climate, a good old-fashioned offer of bonus services to long-standing customers is a better idea than ever. Such offers have the potential to boost subscriber retention and even acquisition rates, and at the very least they promote good will, always a desirable commodity for operators.
TIM is Italy’s number-one operator, though by quite a small margin, trailed closely by Wind and Vodafone. In fact, the three major operators in the country divide the market between themselves pretty evenly. In such a market environment, it especially behooves TIM to take good care of its loyal customers and to encourage new ones to join and stay loyal. The current offering should contribute to achieving that goal. It is appropriately graded, in that it offers more data and minutes the longer a customer has been with the operator, broken down into two tiers—one-year loyalty and five-year loyalty. Furthermore, it contains an offering for new subscribers, a bonus of 8 GB for one day and unlimited voice minutes for one week. Since new subscribers are of course not eligible for loyalty rewards per se, inclusion in the program may have the effect of making them feel welcomed and included, sowing the seeds of future loyalty.
It should be noted, though, that in today’s climate of unlimited data offers and frequent bonuses, these data bonuses may not be experienced by the subscribers as impressive enough to make a serious difference in the way they feel about the operator. And the data offer to new subscribers is such that it would be difficult for many people to use it all, given that all 8 GB must be consumed within one day or lost. It is possible that more regular and recurring rewards would have a bigger effect on loyalty, generally speaking.