Safaricom customers register improved experience in year of interruptions


Safaricom customers register improved experience in year of interruptions

Safaricom subscribers remained content with the telco’s network experience in the period ending March 31, 2019 to override notable outages in the operator’s service in the past year.

The operator’s independently assessed customer experience under the Network Promoter Score (NPS) moved up to an overall performance rate of 80 percent to keep touch with the consistent year over year satisfaction approval.

While the score does not reflect on outright network performance, the consumer rating is attributable to the telco’s improved network coverage through increased investing including the expansion of the data reach in greater 3G and 4G sites.

Even so, the operator is keen on improving further on its capacity and infrastructure as questions remain from past intermittencies to network availability.

“Despite achieving high NPS scores, we believe there is still more room for improvement opportunities to optimize the quality of network in different parts of the country,” noted Safaricom’s 2019 Sustainability Report.

The customer appraisal comes on the back of significant network outages for Safaricom including mainly the blackout of the operator’s mobile money service Mpesa.

December 8, 2018, marked the telco’s darkest day in terms of service interruption as its world-famed pioneering mobile-money service, M-Pesa, underwent a significant degradation in an outage timed at an approximate six hours.

The significant downtime ushered in a notable freeze in commercial activity as the majority of digital currency users saw their request to clear payments for ordered goods/services severed.

Safaricom would in the aftermath revamp its network, scaling up the capacity of handling M-Pesa transactions to 2,700 per second as of March 31, 2019.

However, the interruption scourge would strike again in Mid-May, flattening Mpesa, voice, and fixed-data in parts of the country.

Summary interruptions in the year would reignite the debate on Safaricom’s market dominance even as ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru ordered the telco’s probing by the pair of the Communications Authority (CA) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on the back end of 2018.

At the same time, the cuts in service came at a time when the CA was seeking tougher rules on the breach of quality of service by telco operator under a new Quality of Service Monitoring System (QSMS) which now incorporates network performance and the customer experience in addition to end-to-end network fulfillment.

Under current sanctions, the CA has room to fine telco operators for poor services a minimal Ksh.500,000 to a ceiling equivalent to 0.1 percent of gross annual turnover.

Safaricom has despite the documented network inconsistency, backed itself to boost the network recovery in future interruptions under increased infrastructure investing.

“Our customers deserve much better. The first thing is to apologize as certainly, the interruptions shouldn’t be happening,” former Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore told a news conference on May, 23.

“We are investing significantly to make the system robust to make sure switch-overs happen much faster than they did”

Any minimal outage in Safaricom’s network has far-reaching ramifications given the operators lion-share of Kenyan telecoms.

According to industry statistics from the CA between January and March this year, the firm leads in all fronts but fixed-data where it trails the Mwananchi Group with a 31.5 percent home-internet market share.

Safaricom, however, dictates a greater 65.3 and 62.4 percent market share in mobile-data and voice subscriptions which stand a notable 31.3 million customers.

In the three months to the end of March, M-Pesa transactions breached Ksh.2 trillion in value with the service having overseen the transfer of Ksh.1.5 trillion and Ksh.616 billion in commercial and person to person (P2P) transfers.

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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