Why we built an agent network

The story of RightCom would not have been the same without the acquisition of blue chip clients in the telecom sector such as Orange, MTN, Moov, Axian Telecom and more recently Celtiis to name only this top 5. In ten years, nearly 30 telecom operators have partnered with us, an average of 3 new telecom operators per year. Obviously, we acquired clients in other sectors such as banking, insurance, fintech, health, retail and public service in around twenty countries on the continent, the latest client being SCB Bank Cameroon (subsidiary of the Attijariwafa bank group) just a few days ago.

This dynamism of our sales force is only a reflection of our operational excellence and the growing demand of businesses for solutions that improve the quality of service, the customer journey and the customer experience in general. Our contribution to the change that we are increasingly seeing in board meetings regarding the importance of customer experience for a successful business strategy is unprecedented.

Being customer-centric is indeed, essential for sustainable growth and profitability in any business regardless of size. We are pleased to see that our ongoing efforts to educate decision makers about the financial benefit of a good customer experience program are largely bearing fruit. Several companies such as Ecobank, MFS Africa and Free Senegal rely on our advisory services, our training programs, and our insights, to build a profitable and omnichannel customer experience strategy.

Why does the telecom sector remain strategic for us?

One of the key metrics used to measure the good health of a customer experience program remains the churn rate – the number of customers who stop using or purchasing your services or products over a given period. The telecom sector in Africa is mainly dominated by prepaid and, moreover, multi-SIM customers. When a customer has 5,000 to spend in a context where she has multiple SIM cards and where telecom operators have roughly the same offers, it is the day-to-day customer experience that makes her decide from which operator to buy airtime or data bundle. Whenever she decides not to buy from an operator A, the latter experiences churn. Multiply 5,000 by 3 million customers who decide not to buy from operator A and you will see that operator A has just suffered a direct loss of 15 billion. Hence the importance of investing in a good customer experience.

The telecom sector is much more sensitive to customer churn than the other sectors mentioned above because of the ease that any unhappy – multi-SIM – customer has of changing mobile operator at any time of the day. It is essentially for this pressing challenge in the sector that we work very closely with our telecom clients.

It is more difficult for an unhappy bank customer to close their account with bank A, open another with bank B, all on the same day. Banks do not feel the churn the same way telcos do.

The importance of touchpoints for a successful customer experience program

In 2013, the only touchpoint that we supported while helping businesses improve the customer experience was the physical touchpoint. It was the preferred channel for customers looking to interact with their service provider. A customer who needed a service from his bank will go to a bank branch, a customer who needed to buy a mobile or change a subscription plan will go to the telecom store, the same for a customer looking to renew an insurance or make an appointment with a doctor. Over the years and thanks to high-speed internet access, and social media influence, businesses have widely diversified their touchpoints.

As you can see in the illustration below, a telecom customer has now a multitude of ways to contact their service provider. This adds complexity to ensuring a good customer experience. How can we ensure that regardless of the touchpoint, customers have a seamless experience that meets the expectations? This is a real headache for any service provider who 1) does not have a CRM software offering a 360 view of each customer, 2) does not control 100% of its various touchpoints, 3) cannot offer all its services at every touchpoint.

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A telecom customer and the touchpoints

We have a product for each touchpoint illustrated above that helps businesses get a better understanding of the customer journey, their experience, and all their interactions in real time, when:

  • she visits a store using RightQ, our smart queue management software, RightPlayer, our digital signage software, or RightTime which allows them to book their appointment with no hassle,
  • she calls the call center thanks to our customer service agents on the phone, by chat or email and RightDesk, our customer service software, ensuring reliable helpdesk ticketing,
  • she uses the mobile application, website, SMS/USSD or social media to engage the telco thanks to RightSurvey, our survey and customer feedback software.
  • On the other hand, when she buys airtime or a data plan from an agent by the road side or in a mini-kiosk, the mobile operator does not have 100% control over the experience delivered to the client, an experience which can cause churn and a direct loss of money. We launched our own agent network to help businesses have as little churn as possible due to the bad experience experience on the “last mile” i.e. from the agent.
“Without control of the agent network (last mile), you cannot control the customer experience that the agents deliver”

Having our agent network allows us to provide clients, full control of the experience delivered at every touchpoint. There is a direct benefit for any business to partner with a customer experience management company to power its agent network. Customer experience is the new battleground, and businesses need the right partner to leverage CX data insights across all touchpoints including the agent network. Acquiring market share or driving sustainable growth comes down to a successful customer experience, that’s the competitive edge we provide. Our results after 12 months in the first operational country (Benin) are excellent. We have nearly 10,000 agents covering an area of 4,500 km² and we intend to invest more to increase our efficiency and offer our clients a wider range of services to manage the overall customer experience at every touchpoint.

The telecom sector is very dynamic in Africa, and our collaboration with dozens of mobile operators coupled with our experience as a technology company specialized in omnichannel customer experience management has been a valuable asset in building our first agent network. We are convinced of the dynamics that are taking place, of the crossovers that are emerging between telecom and fintech, between fintech and banking, between banking and retail, etc. We are also convinced that the common denominator in all these sectors remains the customer experience and we intend to continue to play a major role on the African continent by being the engine behind the best customer experiences.

It is also a great pride for me that our first – agent network – customer is Celtiis, the 100% Benin operator whose ambition we share. You can learn more about the strategic partnership between RightCom and Celtiis around the distribution of telecom products in Benin.

Learn more about our agent network service. See below some pictures from my recent visit in one of the areas where we have our agent network.

For more information, contact us.

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