Telkom’s Consumer Centricity

At Telkom’s recent analyst open day the company’s COO, Reuben September, outlined the telecoms giant’s plans of becoming a true consumer centric company.

This plan is part of what Telkom CEO, Papi Molotsane, envisioned and promised to customers November last year. Molotsane stated that he wanted Telkom to be more customer-centric and said that the company must be a ‘delight’ to deal with.

September pointed to fact that Telkom ranks lower than the other major telecoms players when it comes to customer satisfaction, and said one of the companies’ goals are to improve on this ranking.

September elaborated on their strategic definition of what this approach entails: “Develop a customer centric culture that permeates the entire organisation, i.e. people, processes & systems, with the objective of making Telkom the customers’ service provider of choice in the ICT market.”

Competitive pricing, innovative products and services, improved communication with customers, better install & fault repair times and developing a trusted brand were all mentioned as drivers of improved customer service.

Telkom’s aim of being a brand associated with ‘efficiency, reliability, knowing customer needs, highly respected, professional and really caring about customer’s needs’ will most likely be the toughest quests of them all.

The fixed line provider is currently widely associated with poor customer service and a company which is more interested in their share price than customer satisfaction.

The down side of this negative image is that it will take a lot of hard work to change but on the up side they can only improve on an already tainted media image. Molotsane has a long, hard road ahead to rectify this image, and since he took over as CEO last year not much has changed.

Broadband consumers are already agitated with Telkom’s refusal to shed more light on possible ADSL price reductions.

An announcement regarding ADSL cost cuts were promised by Wally Beelders, Telkom’s Marketing Executive, before the end of March in Financial Mail but as yet the incumbent is mute on the topic.

Telkom’s official response is now that there are price reductions in the pipeline, but about how much and when there is no certainty.

It is policies of this nature which serve only to leave customers in the dark which made Telkom unpopular, and unless executive management takes the lead regarding a consumer-centric approach there is little hope that the rest of the company will follow.

There is also a strong feeling among consumers that all of this talk regarding putting customers first is merely window dressing.

The message from the public is clear: If you want happier customers, start by reducing your existing exorbitant prices, especially in the ADSL arena.

Anything else is simply trying to dodge the real issue.

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Telkom’s Consumer Centricity