Lessons on Leadership: The Power of Micro-Segmentation

What could a bank, microfinance institution, or other financial service provider learn from the telecom industry?

Telecom companies have been able to micro-segment their customer bases to better deliver what the customer wants, how she wants it, and when, said Anil Gupta, Regional Manager-North for Aircel Limited, India’s fifth largest GSM mobile service provider. Customers are not just segmented by their socioeconomic level, for example, but further segmented by other factors – such as behaviors and preferences.

Micro-segmentation isn’t easy – nor static.

“The customer himself is the biggest challenge here,” Gupta said in a recent interview with CGAP, “because their preferences, their likes, their dislikes, change [as often as] they change their clothes sometimes – it’s just like changing every hour of the day.”

Aircel, with a subscriber base of 65.1 million, tries to keep up with customers’ ever changing needs by building this concept into the company’s structure. Almost 70% of the organization should be customer-facing at any time, Gupta said, and staff are required to make bi-monthly visits to the field.

Gupta, a panelist at the inaugural CGAP Leadership Series event on customer-centricity in New Delhi, said these field visits have been transformative.


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