Telkom has marked significant improvement in service levels of key business units this year, as measured by the annual independent Orange Index survey of consumer experience.
Manelisa Mavuso, managing director of consumer services and retail at Telkom, says the improved scores for customer service are important markers of the company’s progress.

“We are busy with very powerful thrusts across Telkom to improve customer service, so the results of the Orange Index survey are encouraging.

“However, our latest service ratings not only show that we have made progress, but also that we have much further still to go. Our goal is to make fundamental changes that ensure our service is the best, and the customer ratings will then take care of themselves,” says Mavuso.

In the highly competitive sector for internet service providers, Telkom Internet’s overall ranking improved from 84th position in 2012 to 58th position in 2013 with an index score of 47,78% versus the 39,94% in 2012.

In the mobile category, Telkom Mobile was in 12th position overall, improving from 46th position in 2012. Telkom Mobile’s index score increased from 50,76% to 61,15% in 2013. MTN (62,30%) was the winner in the Mobile category with Vodacom (61,73%) in second place and Telkom Mobile (61,15%) in third place. There was only a 1,15% difference between the winner and Telkom Mobile.

“It is heartening that Telkom Mobile performed better on the aspects relating to the customer interaction, but we still need to improve on the meaningfulness of engagements with the customer by building stronger relationships. This will require an even greater focus on developing empathy and trust among customers, corporate social responsibility and first call resolution.

“We must continue to focus on the positive elements to close the gap on the industry leaders even further and to ensure that positive growth is maintained,” says Farhad Essop, executive: Telkom Mobile Customer Services.

Telkom Fixed line’s index score improved from 26,7% in 2012 to 50,06% in 2013. Telkom Fixed line’s ranking improved from 105th position last year to 48th position in 2013.

The Orange Index survey conducted by Ask Afrika has been benchmarking service levels in South Africa since 2001. The customer service of companies across different industries is compared by making use of an index score. This year, 109 brands across 22 industries were analysed along a typical value chain to ascertain the drivers of service in each industry.

A total of 9 620 customers were interviewed between February and July 2013 and are demographically representative of the South African population.

Overall service levels across brands increased in 2013 with a 4% reduction in dissatisfaction across the board.

The overall Telkom Mobile service level rating showed continued growth, closing in on established competitors that have been in the market for 20 years.

The Orange Index results also showed that Telkom Mobile remains the industry leader with respect to the store experience and is also now the industry best performer with respect to channels (retail partner), value chain (account statement, returned a product, signing up) and interaction (contact centre, the store and self service).

“We want consumers to know that Telkom has already made big changes and more can be expected. The goal is to transform the company so that it excels in all the dimensions that are important to business and retail customers,” says Mavuso.

“Service is a major part of this drive, but we have also a number of other initiatives underway that will deliver products that will improve the lives of our customers.”