Last week was observed by corporate organizations as customers’ week. The week is used to celebrate customers of any organization.
In the country, apart from some banks that placed advert in the national dailies to acknowledge and express the importance of customers to the success of their business, no other sector did anything to either improve their customer experience or appreciated them.
One expected that telecommunications operators would have used the week to improve or excite their customers, not through promos but through effective customer experience at both call centres and customer care outlets.
The story of pains at call centres of all the operators’ call centres have not changed.
Few weeks back Sola Salako a columnist with Punch newspaper published an article she titled ‘MTN, where is my N3, 000 credit’. That report and MTN response to it exposed the pain that subscribers undergo in the hands of inexperienced call centres attendants.
More so, customer feedback channels provided by operators are not effective, when emails are sent on complaints, it is hardly responded to and call centres lines are so complex that one hardly gets any issue resolved as they are not meant to talk to humans.
The consumers of telecom products and services have many desires expected to be met. They want services available at all times and at every place.
The consumer wants the services to be of a good quality and affordable.
The consumer wants the operator to respond at all times when he or she needs attention, and to provide explanations whenever anything goes wrong.
The consumer wants to be protected at all times from being taken advantages of by service providers.
Just like consumers of any other services, the consumer of telecom services wants to be well treated.
The important aspect of all this rests on the preparedness of contact call centre attendants saddle with the responsibility of taking care of their customers.
The telecom industry no longer talks only about customer service instead; it is addressing the broader topic of the customer experience, which includes not just the conversation between customer service representatives and customers when something goes wrong, but the full range of customer contact from when a service is ordered to when it is delivered.
Telecommunications operators have two basic ways to attend to subscribers’ complaint on its network.
They establish customer care shops, which are centres designated for solving subscribers complaint that require them to bring either their phone or computer as the case may be in internet service physically to the shop for the problem to be resolved.
Products of such network operator are also sold at customer care centres. Another way through which complaints of subscribers are addressed by operators is through customer service contact centres. A customer service contact centre is a department in the operations of the network that addresses complaints through voice or email to a toll free line of the network.
Having a functional customer care shop and contact centre is one leg of effort by operators to take care of subscribers, while training and monitoring of those working in these departments are another leg which to many, is the most important in customer service delivery.
A visit to some telecommunications operators’ customer care shops will explain the need for those workings at such centres who act as interface between the company and their subscribers to be well trained both in understanding the services being rendered by the operating company as well as the manner of treating customers.
Some of the ‘so called’ trained staff at most customer care centres of greater percentage of operators lack the required technical knowledge of some product at offer to talk of solving some problems that are brought to them.
This writer had issues with his data service of one of the Global System for mobile communications (GSM) operators, he called the customers service centre and the attendant that spoke to him after holding him on for 25 minutes could not resolve the issue but directed him to any customer care centre around his area.
When I got to the customer care shop, behold the problem was resolved through recharging the phone with any amount of airtime above N100.
Another subscriber that spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, narrated how he was unruly treated at a customer care shop of a telecommunications operator, when he went for a welcome back pack at the shop.
He was meant to stay two and half hours longer at the shop because he vehemently scolded the attendant at the shop.
These are few instances of pains that subscribes go through in the hands of unqualified customer care attendants at customer service centers of telecommunications operators.
The most worrisome of the woes of customers of most telecommunications service provider is their inability to resolve issues through their customer contact centres. A dial to most operators’ call centre especially for pre-paid customers will prove how inefficient they are. The Interactive Voice Response system you will be linked to will give you different options including talking to customer representative by dialing 0. When the subscriber dial 0 as requested the system will continue playing an endless music or advert jingle of the operator endless.
In spite of the ongoing competition in call tariff aimed at encouraging subscribers to sign-on to operator’s network, there should be concerted effort by all operators to make customer care service an experience one.
CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns
By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.
The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.
Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.
Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.
On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.
“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.
“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.
He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.
Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.
“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.
Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
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