‘Telkom lags behind in telecoms industry’
|November 28, 2005|
Fixed line telecommunications company Telkom has a lot of catching up to do with mobile telephone services, according to market research company Synovate’s latest findings.
"While all four of the participants in Synovate’s SAS Index suffered a decrease in customer satisfaction ratings, Telkom’s showed the most marked decline," said spokesman Jon Salters.
The gap between the cellular service providers – Vodacom, MTN and Cell C – and Telkom stands at its highest since 2001.
The survey’s results, released this week, indicate that Vodacom is number one in service excellence, Salters, the MD of Synovate Sub-Saharan Africa, said.
"More than half – 56% – of Vodacom’s consumers rate its overall service delivery as excellent."
Salters said this was "no small feat in any industry in times of very sophisticated and demanding customers".
He warned that it was the "waning satisfaction amongst Telkom customers that is likely to see enough migration to the Second National Operator (SNO).
"This will make unhappy customers an expensive problem for Telkom."
Vodacom and MTN have retained their rankings in first and second position respectively while Cell C has failed to close the gap between its score and those of the top two performers.
Salters said that, compared to last year, the greatest deterioration recorded was in the satisfaction with staff.
"This highest declines in satisfaction levels were with Telkom staff, although Cell C’s staff may also need some increased attention," he said.
Salters pointed out that Telkom’s shortcomings, as the survey revealed, included the perceived value offered.
"The current media coverage of increasing costs for ADSL and the ‘excessive’ profits of telecommunications companies will do nothing to change this view."
He said Telkom was "lagging behind all three cellular suppliers and, just ahead of the SNO launch, this is a crucial time for Telkom".
"Anything it can do to limit the damage to its market share needs a priority focus."
Salters said that Telkom needed to address the efficiency of staff, the quality of product information and look more closely at customer needs in terms of its tariff packages.
"Unless the government or industry task team look at reducing costs to the consumer, this area is likely to restrict industry players from making any significant progress on current satisfaction levels."
The most satisfactory results, across the industry, were recorded in products and services, which measures the quality of billing systems, communication regarding products and corporate communication.
Salters pointed out, however, that in last year’s "extremely positive" results, Telkom had proved that it was capable of keeping up with the historically high satisfaction scores enjoyed by cellular providers.
"This year the news is not quite as cheerful for the telecoms sector and the improvements seen in 2004 have not been sustained."
The SAS Index gives a common measurement of service levels in various industries, including telecommunications, municipalities, short and long term insurance, medical aids and banks.
The measurement has been developed using scientific principles and is aligned with similar measures in Europe and America, which means that both local and global comparisons can be made.
The South African Satisfaction Index telecommunications study, carried out by Synovate and endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry, has been conducted for four years.
The study comprised of 1 669 interviews, telephonically conducted nationally from July to August in 2005.
More information can be found at www.sas-index.co.za.
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