Safaricom has over the years been at the list of top ranks of companies in Kenya especially in terms of financial and commercial performance. As one of Kenya’s main mobile service providers, they have not only provided customers with a large integrated telecommunication service which includes mobile and fixed voice, SMS, data, internet and mobile transfer services but also rank as having one of the country’s highest dividend payouts.
During their Annual General Meeting held at the Bomas of Kenya, thousands of shareholders and stakeholders gathered to witness the growth of the company which was estimated at 10 times greater than the actual financial profit of total value for the Kenyan society in FY15. This was mainly contributed through the added economic value generated from operations, capital expenditure and the overall impact that M-Pesa has had on the Kenyan economy.
A large contributor to the vast growth of the Safaricom network has been customer satisfaction. In avenues like telecommunications, service delivery to the customer is key and with Safaricom having a subscriber market share of 65.6%
of the overall 89.2% as at 31st March 2016, reaching out to and solving some of the key issues that customers face was pointed out to be a main agenda in the remaining part of the year.
Some of the ways that this has been seen to take place has been rolled out in:
- Network expansion, upgrades and quality improvement by building more 2G, 3G and $g sites
- Upgrading their WiMAX sites
- Rolling out more fiber to more buildings and homes to satisfy the growing population of up-to 14.1 million 30-day active mobile data customers. There has been a 21.5% increase in this number and the fiber connection would only help the customers stay more connected.
- Re-introducing the affordable 4G home broadband (the Big box) and fiber-to-the-home solutions which will also include providing relevant content for the whole family.
Expansion of the Safaricom network by adding over 600 new members to the customer care team before the end of the calendar year, around the six regions – loosely referred to as ‘mini-Safaricoms’ which are the Coastal region, Nairobi East & Nairobi West region, Rift Valley, Mt. Kenya region, North eastern and Western region.
They will however focus more on the regions outside Nairobi. The aim of this initiative is to improve their services and making sure that they offer the right products to customers
Safaricom gets up to 400,000 calls a day to the customer care team, not to mention questions asked and feedback received via their social media platforms. The move to add more members to handle customer care has numerous benefits, with the main one being building capacity in the call center and being able to reduce the bulk of work to allow for better customer care service – a plan that will see the company increase customer care capacity by four times.
What does this mean for these regions?
- Better response to customer’s needs by making sure their issues are faced at a ‘grassroot’ level. With the over 400,000 calls received every 24 hours at the call center – a number that dropped from more than 600,000 calls over the years, there is a growing need to respond to the various customer needs especially in these areas.
- Creating employment in other parts of the country for young people who are educated but have not yet found employment. The new 600 staff who are expected to be hired, will target the educated youth in some of these regions who have not yet acquired jobs; a problem that is rampant in most developing countries.
- Opening up these regions to better infrastructure and more flexible mobile service provisions. The construction of roads, cell towers etc. will open up areas with little activity due to poor infrastructure and hopefully improve the lives of the residents in the area.
- Better education through the free Wi-Fi coverage for public primary schools provided by the network to support the government’s digital learning program.
- Better health and agriculture: by providing simple information through iCow, their partnership with Greendreams, farmers are finding that their yields are improving between 30 & 50%
All these are just some of the benefits of opening up these areas to more infrastructure as they continue to maximize returns for their shareholders and also aim to improve living standards of Kenyans not just today, but into the future.