Services are only as good as they are accessible. That’s the rule that Telecel Zimbabwe seems to have been following in the second half of the year.
The telecoms operator wants to grow its presence in the market and over the past 5 months, part of these efforts have meant rolling out a retail network of franchise shops and Telecel branded kiosks.
According to Telecel, this retail network has grown to 500 kiosks. This is a progression from the 200 kiosk total that Telecel had reached by the end of September.
Telecel has been touting this as part of its customer service experience strategy, which involves improving Telecel subscribers’ access to retail centres and service points where all of Telecel’s services can be accessed.
It’s also the same strategy being used by other telecoms operators like TelOne, Africom, and even Econet. Brand presence is boosted through franchise stores that offer well-placed entrepreneurs at various retail centres the opportunity to set up their own store while selling a service line that has already built its name in the market.
It helps the operator grow at a fraction of the cost, something that is golden in a tough economic environment and strategic in a telecoms market that has been facing a battery of operational challenges.
The bigger motivation for Telecel here seems to be reclaiming lost subscribers. Over the past 18 months, the operator has lost a significant number of its subscribers through a series of moves that included its own disconnection of unregistered subscribers and a flight that appeared to have been triggered by threats that it would be shutdown by the government for failing to pay for its licence.
Moves aimed at building a stronger brand presence and enhancing convenience to lure holders of Telecel lines who might not be using them (Multiple SIM card ownership is a dominant trend in Zimbabwe) might just be what Telecel needs to reclaim lost customers.