Good customer service practices should be part of a telecom provider’s organisational culture and not a knee jerk reaction to increased competition, according to the founder and group CEO of Kinetic BPO.
“The danger of delivering a substandard customer service is that they(telcos)lose out on profits and marketshare when there is an increased competition,” said Joe Tawfik.
“UAE telcos have been enjoying artificial profits since they are protected by the government and do not realise the dangers.”
Kinetic BPO, a new UAE-based start-up, aims to target the customer service section of UAE telcos Etisalat and du. The company will provide specialist business process outsourcing services in customer care and sales operations in the telecoms sector.
“What we found in the region is that there are a lot of companies offering consultancy services for improving customer care in the region but none that executes them,” said Tawfik.
“But Kinetic is involved in execution where we offer the services and not just consultancy.”
Tawfik said that although the UAE’s telecoms sector is dominated by a duopoly, a market change is inevitable.
He said that if the telcos continue to offer poor customer service, they risk losing customer loyalty when a new operator enters the market.
“It is important that we make customers the brand advocates since there is growing evidence that it will add to the bottom line profits,” he said.
Tawfik said that telecoms operators in the GCC are already facing challenges such as increased number of mobile virtual network operators, mobile number portability, shifting needs of the customers and technological changes.
“To address these key challenges in the region, telcos need to reduce operating costs and utilise the capital for sustainable growth,” said Tawfik.
He said that Etisalat and du should also improve customer service and offer innovative products to sustain their customer base.
“Currently the telcos here are competing on the basis of price but they should essentially be adding value to services they provide for the customers.”
Both Etisalat and du engage in customer service via their social media platforms. Recently du came under public criticism for an inappropriate tweet to a customer’s complaint.