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SFR

In a turbulent market with little consumer loyalty, how do you make a profit and give customers a reason to stay? For French telco SFR, the answer was a multichannel digital & physical ecosystem, from on-screen interfaces to set top boxes and autonomous home devices, all delivered in a go-to-market strategy which added €2 billion of value.

We are defined by the questions we’re asked. SFR’s question was as simple as it was far-reaching: “Can you show us our future and then make it?”

Like all others in the telecommunications industry, SFR had augmented its business as technology advanced and opportunities emerged – mobile, broadband, entertainment, home automation – and like everyone else, the result was the same: silos. And, just like everyone else, they were fighting the dual threat of wafer-thin margins and high-churn rates. They needed to start again. Unlike everyone else, SFR chose to do rather than say.

Over 24 months we worked together to uncover a new understanding of what a truly compelling and blended physical & digital product looked like, the business processes behind it and even the way in which it would be sold. Called Select & Connect, the core concept centered around a modular plug-and-play set-top box. As new modules were added, relevant services and home automation systems, across all devices, activated to provide a completely cohesive user experience.

Voice and machine-learning brought new forms of control: as people often know what they want to watch, we simply let them ask for it. Their viewing habits could drive recommendations, so we built a service that could learn. The culmination of this work was SFR Passport: the first intelligent, voice-activated TV service in France.

Digital content such as Gaming, Audio Streaming and Video on Demand were beautifully combined into one simple to use interface, while consistent controls made it easy for the user to keep all the content they love in one place.

All of this was accessible at home or on-the-move, so everyone’s favorite shows, movies and artists became a reason to stay with SFR. Central to this was the understanding that content and services bring people together, and that being useful, timely and thoughtful, SFR was able to authentically become a business with customers at its heart.

So, in the end, the answer was as simple as the question: give people what they love, when they want it, and wherever they are. And with €2 billion added to SFR’s value and millions of retained customers, we’re fairly sure it was the right answer.