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MTN aims for major turnaround

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MTN SA is working on an aggressive turnaround strategy that involves investment in people, processes and technology.
Mteto Nyati, CEO of MTN SA, says the company has made some firm commitments: to transform customer experience, return to growth and overhaul people engagement.
The customer experience, which involved systems, people and processes, has been under review for the last eight months, Nyati says. “We have been evaluating processes, ripping out those that don’t work, and ensuring that systems are available.”
In terms of people, he points out that we live in a market that suffers from major skills shortages – and the problem is even worse when it comes to technical skills.
“We have to be a company that attracts talent – we have to be attractive,” Nyati says. “Workers today want us to create an environment that sets them free, that lets them contribute to the vision of the company.
“The strike last year showed us that we had a challenge in the area, so we needed to make this one of our growth pillars; to overhaul the way we engage with our people, and make sure everyone brings their A game to work every day.”
MTN SA is investing in its people, and driving corporate values through the workforce. These are complete accountability; get things done; complete candour and openness; and active collaboration.
“It’s not going to happen overnight – we have to systematically drive this in the company,” Nyati says.
Financial results have been disappointing over the last few years, Nyati points out, with the business actually posting declining revenues for some time.
“That is not something that we want, or that our shareholders expect,” he says. “So it’s important for us to return this business to growth – quarter after quarter.”
MTN SA exited 2015 with a 3% revenue growth year-over-year. “It’s a step in the right direction, and we want to make sure that every quarter this business delivers growth,” Nyeto adds.
Data has been the star, though, growing more than 30% in 2015 and showing further growth in the first quarter of 2016. Smartphone penetration has also increased, with 9,2-million of them now running on the MTN network.
“This is not luck,” says Nyati. “We made a choice to focus on bridging to 3G and LTE.”
Customer experience is arguably the most important of the pillars, and trust has an enormous role to play in this.
“The thing that is key is the concept of being here for you,” Nyati says. “As we develop new products we have to ask how they will be touching the customer? Will we be there for the customer?”
MTN is focusing on its own employees to ensure that they work on transforming the customer experience, and helping them to better service customers.
“We also want to simplify processes for our customers,” says Nyati. “We need to protect the data of our customers – security is critical. And we need to create the space to let customers do things themselves.”
MTN SA has committed to these three pillars for the next three years, Nyati adds.
“We want to create an MTN that cares for its customers, the community, its partners and its people.
“We are not known as an industry that can be trusted. So we can take that as a given or say we want to break from it.”
Going forward, MTN SA aims to build up its enterprise business and to remain relevant in this space through partnerships with companies like Microsoft around cloud, with Amazon Web Services, and ZTE for Internet of Things.
“Times are tough and many companies are cutting back on capex,”” Nyati points out. “But we have taken the hard decision of increasing capex. We are investing R12-billion on the ground, upgrading our networking to improve voice, data and fixed broadband experience for MTN customers.”
Among its goals for 2016, MTN SA aims to halve the dropped call rate, increase peak user speed by 28% and 108% for 3G and LTE; and to be the network of choice.
The company has built up an executive team boasting an impressive range of customer experience and technology skills.