Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ALTON advocates customers’ satisfaction

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said that customer satisfaction is the only key to post-telecom boom success in the nation’s telecommunications sector.

ALTON made this declaration through its chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo at the recently held one-day Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) organized Stakeholders forum in collaboration with IT & Telecom Digest “On the Place of Consumer in the Nigerian Telecom Industry.”

According to him, the late development of Nigeria’s telecommunications industry has brought forth the law of supply against demand, thus placing consumers in the back stage.

Pointing out that whilst stakeholders have made continuous efforts to develop and roll out networks in order to capture a share of the market, not equal amount of effort has been made towards consumer complaints resolution.

“It is delightful to note that the regulator has done appreciably well by holding consumer feedback forum on regular basis through the Consumer Parliament and other similar initiatives,” he said.

Adebayo described as unfortunate that other than promos and winning of luxury items, Nigerians hardly see any operator holding consumer forum, on their own, to give an opportunity to their subscribers to discuss unresolved complaints as well as concerns.
“As we enjoy the boom in the industry, this success presents us with new challenges and industry players should take more seriously the state of relationships with customers as a way to derive increased value,” he advised.

ALTON boss also said that today, in the country, where every service providers compete against each other for the same customer, “a single bad contact center experience can have an exponential ripple effect.”

He cited the instance of Marker research which showed that on the average, one unhappy customer would tell 10 people about their experience, and in turn, those 10 people would each tell a further five people each, meaning that a total of fifty people would have heard about one bad experience.

Equally, he said, that studies conducted to evaluate subscribers experience with operators contact center has shown that the key factor determining customer satisfaction is call resolution, which remain a sour point for most subscribers in Nigeria.

“When you call with major concern to some of the help desks, you are either given multiple referrals or a request to visit in person to a service center, for basic problems such as inability to load a recharge card, or complaints about multiple billing and so on,” he said.

The study, he further cited, found that customers whose issues were unresolved are eight times more likely to discontinue their relationship with the operator.

“Therefore in the Nigeria telecom market, customer satisfaction is crucial to building customer loyalty,” he said.

Adebayo who dwelt on “Customer Satisfaction: A key to post telecom boom success” noted that customer loyalty could be measured solely by asking one question: does your customer recommend your network to his or friends and acquaintances?

He noted that although it builds upon customer satisfaction, true loyalty, as measured by recommendation, is a much more powerful indicator of a customer’s return business. Stressing that a subscriber who recommends a company is eight times more likely to be a repeat subscriber than one who is merely “satisfied.”

“The answer is clear: A giant step in building a healthy client base is taken when contact center agents are empowered to resolve customer calls,” he charged, pointing out that some of the current operators solely focus on the bottom line of revenues beyond customer satisfaction and by not doing the right investment in empowering contact center agents with the authority to make on-the-spot customer complaint resolution.

“This will continue to see an erosion of their client base,” he asserted.

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