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Understanding “the high value customers” of today


Vodafone operates in Turkey as the second largest Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). With over 18 million customers and various global branches, Vodafone is one of the fastest growing and most profitable at telecommunication companies.
High Value Customers form an indispensable segment for Vodafone because they pay more and help reinforce a specific brand image.
For Vodafone Turkey, they knew that it was vital to understand their customer. The local telecom market is extremely competitive, and whoever understands their customers the best will have an advantage.
When we were asked to help understand Vodafone’s customers, we knew what our objectives were.

  • Who is today’s High Value Customer (HVC)?
  • What do they expect from the service?
  • How does this segment of people break down, and who are they?
  • What is driving people from each segment to become a HVC
  • Which one of these sub-segments is the most valuable for the company?
  • What could be offered as a “value added service”?

Design of Research Methods

We created samples of each segment and reached out to them for interviews, largely using ‘shadowing’ methods over a period of 6 and 7 days of Ethnogram’s unique ‘Life Evidence Kit’. The Kit allows us to have a breakdown of the average customer’s daily life, so we can get a peek into their mindset, actions, and attitudes.

The Ethnogram Life Evidence Kit

  • Specially designed ‘7 Day Diary’ for detailed examination of customers
  • Physical emoticons for visually expressing emotions in the correct context
  • An empty pack to collect any receipts
  • 20 SMS triggered video tasks for each participant (IE: How did you come to work today)


With the research, Ethnogram:

  • Learned what drives a GSM consumer to become a high value customer
  • Discovered new sub-segments who would be interested in similar offers
  • Broke down which sub-segments are more valuable for short-term results, and which are valuable for long-term results
  • Mapped the needs, wants, and desires to create better services

Alongside participants from Vodafone, we conducted 3 workshops designed to prototype ideas. Future HVC services and telecom plans were designed and outlined for Vodafone, all using the information we gathered during the research phase.