Published on January 20th, 2009 | by Arsalan Mir5
Surviving Recession – Urban Markets
As economic downfall has hit almost every industry globally, telecom industry might also fall prey to it. However if not a total fall down to south, telecom industry will definitely suffer from recession. Curiosity to find out ways to survive this recession made me do some study on this and in doing so I came across a series of article on telephonyonline.com which effectively discusses it. The series is titled “Surviving the Recession” and it gives out ways for the service providers and vendors to not only survive but to strengthen their business.
I have tried my best to list down all possible ways relating them with the current market situation in Pakistan. In this post I have focused on factors that will help in overcoming recession in the urban markets.
Focus on broadband services
The recent emergence of broadband has gained significant popularity and it has successfully attracted consumers to spend money on it. To keep them hooked on, the service providers must try to offer better pricing and special retention offers e.g. waiving one month bill annually. Also the recent roll out of EVDO devices is a good move towards offering ‘naked’ broadband services i.e. broadband without landline.
The role PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) can play in this to strictly work on broadband enabling policies. It may also work along with the service providers to increase broadband awareness among the consumers who are convinced that dial-up is a cheaper option.
Focus on customer retention
Nothing could be worse right now than loosing a customer, so in order to retain current customers not only proactive strategies of introducing new plans and packages but also reactive customer service strategies have to be adapted. New plans and packages have been the zeal of our service provider but what they require is to improve on their customer service departments.
The CSRs must respond effectively to the problem faced by the customer and resolve it. They must be trained in customer retention and to increase brand loyalty. Also, the recent trend of charging customer service helpline call is not much appreciated by the customers especially pre-paid customers as they suffer most from it. Thinking practically, how would a person at zero credit make a helpline call to know about the balance share procedure?
Better web sites can help everyone as well. Make the sites usable. Make it easy to search for common terms. Don’t put fancy features (e.g. lot of flash) which can slow down the performance.
Don’t stop focusing on the growth
Focusing on retention is just not enough, providers must also come up with ways to increase subscriber numbers. The ARPU might not grow or may even fall but once you have subscribers in your grasp and when the recession is over you can think to sell new services.
Another important aspect of growth is proper marketing as it reminds the customer of value service providers can deliver. The current marketing trend of our service providers is unconvincing and merely meant to taunt at others. They should rely on long-term persuasive marketing as customers would then be keen to buy service if they are convinced of the value.