Three wants the momentum built up in 2013 to continue with a focus on people and building its growing brand according to CEO David Dyson.
During a business update in London, Dyson and Three CFO Richard Woodward broke down the operator’s success and where it would focus its attention to maximise potential in 2014. Three reported an increase in operating profit of £207m last year as it added more than half a million customers, and Dyson said its new initiatives like free 0800 numbers and ‘Feel at Home’ would add to its customer-friendly proposition.
He said: ‘Our success is down to the six thousand people we have working in the business. My focus is on how we build a brand and sustain that. We just launched our new tariffs that make freephone numbers free. Our 4G proposition is not just about cost, but about having the most seamless and simple transition for all our customers.
‘We made a commitment not to increase our monthly charges which has been well-received by customers and industry watchers, while we have launched our Three Rescue insurance proposition.’
The CEO said Three had ‘done a lot of research’ for the new tariffs to emphasise flexibility and value for its customers. 0800 numbers will now be completely free for all customers, while costs have been slashed on 084 and 087 numbers.
Dyson added that its new insurance initiative, Three Rescue, was designed to fit the ‘Three way’. Working with insurance partner Asurion, the operator will provide a replacement for a stolen, lost or broken phone within 24 hours. A specialist app will be available to customers which facilitates the backing up of important data.
Talking about Three’s ‘Feel at Home’ initiative, which allows customers to use their allowance across a variety of nations, Dyson said: ‘We’ve seen a massive increase in terms if overseas usage recently.
‘Around 30% of people who have joined or rejoined Three cited Feel at Home as a major factor in their decision. It gives us the confidence and motivation to really push what we’ve done. We expect to see more countries added to the proposition and we’ll potentially have to be more creative to find solutions to overseas usage costs.’
Contributing to Three’s growing brand are the innovative marketing campaigns such as its Dancing Pony and Singing Kitty. According to Woodward, Three’s #DancePonyDance campaign trumped O2’s #BeMoreDog marketing strategy last year.
He said: ‘We had half the media production spend of O2 and our Youtube hits were more than double at 7.5 million. We had 100,000,000 impressions on Twitter and it had ten times the hashtag mentions in the first ten days of campaigning than Be More Dog, so it was very, very effective. We’re very effective at self-generating brand awareness and advertising.’
Three’s retail estate will stay largely as it is, although some stores may be added in places where the company has no footprint. The operator pulled out of Carphone Warehouse last December, leaving its own retail stores as its only presence on the high street.
Dyson said: ‘Other operators have said they are investing money in expanding their footprint; we’re not in that situation. We’re just trying to make the most of what we’ve got. We’ve got 350 stores – we’ve refitted half of those, so our immediate focus is getting out the other half.
‘It’s not just about physical look and feel, it’s also about training and helping stores perform to their potential. Quality rather than quantity is the key message.’