April 28, 2009: Safaricom has unveiled a Sh800 million customer care call centre as competition in the mobile telephone sector shifts from pricing to quality of service.
The centre, at Mlolongo on Mombasa Road, will handle prepaid and post paid inquires, data service products, M-Pesa, dealers, and directory services.
Although the company had a small call centre before, its expanding customer base has dictated the need to invest more in this department in terms of technology and training of the staff.
The centre also comes at a time when it has been difficult for customers to get through the lines.
Through the call contact centre customers will give the mobile company feedback on their products and services, which will in return help the firm to improve service delivery.
“Competition within the sector will be determined by the quality of service offered by the operators and not price,” said Safaricom chief executive Michael Joseph. The new facility can accommodate 1,000 staff per shift.
However, at the moment the operator is not utilising the full capacity with only 650 staff who work in three shifts per day. The facility can handle more than 80,000 contacts from customers’ service lines per day.
Mr Joseph said that although the initial plan three years ago was to outsource the service, this changed following research on how much the company would have to spend and the quality of service it would get from the third party.
Save on cost
While some of the operators have preferred to outsource to save on cost, Mr Joseph said, the company decided to have its own call centre services because of the high amount of money that was being quoted by firms interested in offering the service.
Business process outsourcing and contact centre operators have been urging private operators and the government to promote the sector by offering them their non core activities.
Telkom Kenya is among mobile phone operators that have outsourced customer care services.
Zain Kenya, on the other hand, has an internal customer care call centre, which it said was operating at an optimum level, adding that there may be no need to outsource the service to a third party.