According to the consumer satisfaction survey recently published by POTRAZ, Econet subscribers are generally the least satisfied when compared to customers of rival operators.
I contend that this is not just testament to the arguably disproportionate deterioration of the quality of service experienced on the Econet network as compared to other MNO’s. It is also a perception problem. And no, a perception problem is not a trivial problem, Econet must treat this with seriousness. Having grumpy customers is a very bad sign especially when you are the dominant player.
30 employees of the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe were also asked to rate the different service providers over which they have regulatory authority. They were asked to rate the different service providers on a 10 point scale with 10 being very good and 1 being very poor.
Here is how POTRAZ employees rated all voice providers (the three MNO’s and TelOne the fixed voice provider in Zimbabwe):
POTRAZ judges Econet to be significantly better than competitors. Now, contrast this with what the respective customers of the MNO’s think about the provision of voice and SMS services by their providers:
Econet’s household consumers are less satisfied by the MNO on all the metrics measured in comparison to NetOne and Telecel customers. The story is almost the same when it comes to business clients.
POTRAZ employees ranked internet connectivity providers as below:
Now compare this to how household customers ranked their respective internet connectivity providers:
Econet customers again are generally less happy than the rest especially when just comparing the mobile networks. The story is the same with corporate customers as shown below:
The big problem for Econet
Assuming that POTRAZ employees know how to more objectively measure the parameters that matter, it will follow that my assertion that Econet has more of a perception problem than much else is quite spot on. Again this should not be interpreted to mean all is well for Econet, quite the opposite.
Econet cannot afford to ignore this. It will also be dangerous for them to interpret this as a PR problem and then think they have to throw in more PR bucks at the problem. They probably have the biggest PR budget of anyone. Their biggest problem is probably a listening problem not a talking problem. Less talk, more listening is good advice on any day to be honest.
As I concluded in the previous article, Yo Mix is probably Econet’s biggest current opportunity to demonstrate they listen and they care and thus win the hearts of their customers. So far it looks like they are getting there, Yo Mix is starting to get positive reviews again.
The opportunity for NetOne and Telecel
The converse is true for NetOne and Telecel here. Generally their customers seem to be satisfied although the ‘expert’ opinion of POTRAZ rates them average. This is more opportunity than problem really. They have to at least maintain their customer satisfaction index but preferably increase it.
The two MNO’s need to have an answer to Yo Mix. They shouldn’t dismiss it at all. Lucky for them they already have an answer to it (more accurately, Yo Mix is an answer to them) NetOne has OneFusion and Telecel has Megaboost.
After the changes made to bundles end of April, the two products are not very compelling anymore. They should also make them flexible and within the customer’s control to design their own bundles. These are brands that customers already know and have loved. Little work needs to go into making them relevant again.
Beyond answering or reaffirming their supremacy over Yo Mix, Telecel and NetOne should also think extremely out of the box when it comes to value added services. VAS is still quite boring in Zimbabwe and I think it’s the challengers that can make this a more interesting space.
Good luck to all three…