With the accelerated pace of digital transformation, brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic, enterprises across all industry sectors are having to rethink how they interact with customers and how to enhance the customer journey as they strive to attract new and retain existing customers.
Filip Filkovic, regional operator partnerships manager for West Africa at Infobip | image supplied
Mobile network operators (MNOs) are no exception, with subscribers demanding deeper and richer interactions with operators, but on their own terms and through their preferred channels. An enhanced customer experience (CX) is key to attracting and retaining subscribers as MNOs seek to perpetually grow their subscriber base.
Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, and only about 50% of its 200 million population are unique mobile subscribers. Notwithstanding that many use multiple SIM cards, it is estimated that only about 100 million people in the country have access to mobile connectivity. That means there is still a large market to play for and MNOs should leverage digitalisation as they fight for every subscriber in the market.
Considering the size of the available market share still to play for, MNOs would be well advised to turn their focus to those segments of the population that still do not have access to the internet. This would be one of the easiest ways to grow their subscriber base.
Playing for market share
However, it again comes down to CX and how their play for market share compares to that of their competitors. It is very important for an MNO to be able to interact with customers meaningfully and help them make quick decisions, considering the limited attention span of online consumers.
In Nigeria, telecoms providers have assumed the role of economic drivers, largely due to the level of inter-agency handshakes they are able to create, which in turn establishes a vibrant partnership base driven by technology that cuts across banking, telecoms and various other sectors. The more the telcos assume the role of proper economic drivers, the more industry regulators are apt to blur the lines and make cooperation seamless. This means that Nigeria ultimately benefits as a whole from the role that MNOs play in the economy.
Despite the boom in the country’s telecoms services market, a lot of work still needs to be done to drive customer-centricity. The modern MNO service channel must evolve so it’s no longer simply focused on sales and service, but also on delivering deeper engagement – whenever and wherever the customer wants.
Like elsewhere across the globe, Nigerian MNO subscribers want better engagement and a user experience akin and to that offered by any other consumer brand. Digitisation is providing the opportunity for MNOs to re-strategise and build an enhanced CX by offering their services through multiple channels, provide an omnipresent experience by allowing interactions 24/7, taking advantage of AI technology even in the CX space all towards ensuring a richer and tailored experience for their customers with their customer experience, sales and support offerings.
Social media boom
In Nigeria, as in many other parts of the world, social media has become the preferred channel of communication for many modern customers, so MNOs have to tailor their business to look at engagements through these channels to drive customer satisfaction, as well as to get to know their customers better.
While much focus has been placed by MNOs on infrastructure rollout, they must remain mindful that local subscribers have the same needs and demands as those in the developed world. Thus, while infrastructure expansion remains important, MNOs must fine-tune and optimise their services to cater for the current social media boom as a means to attract customers.
GfK South Africa 30 Nov 2021
Above all, MNOs should avoid the silo approach, which means different teams interacting with users but without having any knowledge of their respective communications. Increasing the number of communication channels and focusing them to serve different needs – for example using SMS for immediate alerts and following up with an email for post-sales invoice delivery. All these in a concerted and trackable communication matrix, ensuring enough communication of value propositions but also prevent spamming and bombardment – is also key to enhancing the CX.
MNOs must seek robust and key cloud-based communication solutions that will drive overall efficiency and cost reduction within their customer care and sales department. Being the organisation that have these key omnichannel solutions that employ the science to digital communication will help MNOs to remain competitive.
Partnering with the right technology provider is the best way for MNOs to not only enhance their CX but also protect and monetise their networks, thus transforming the MNO service centre into a revenue-generating unit.