Transforming Customer Support to Lower Costs: Priority for African Operators


SUBTONOMY, the Network Experience Platform provider in the Nordics, has announced it will be showcasing how African operators can vastly improve customer service without increasing their costs at AfricaCom in South Africa (8-10 November 2022).

Increased operational efficiency key to Africa’s digital future

In August 2022, one gigabyte of mobile data cost:
USD29.5 in São Tomé and Príncipe
USD0.48 in Algeria, Africa’s cheapest data market
USD0.04 in Israel, the world’s cheapest data market.
Affordable pricing is now the biggest challenge to the growth of Africa’s digital economy. So why are prices so high? One factor elevating prices is mobile operators’ costs. Operators are being asked to roll out networks more widely, upgrade from 2G to 3G, to 4G and now 5G, and at the same time provide better support for their customers. All while charging a lower cost per megabyte. The only way they can meet these expectations is through increased efficiency throughout their organization. Doing this requires them to scrutinize all their costs – one of the biggest of which is customer service.

Customer support is both a cause of frustration and a big cost

African customers consider service quality to be critical and are more willing than ever to vote with their feet if not satisfied. Operators are therefore challenged to develop innovative strategies to enhance service quality, as well as responsiveness when things go wrong.

The good news is there’s considerable scope for both greater efficiency and cost reduction. Research shows, for example, that 47% of customer complaints in South Africa are related to the quality of customer service itself[4], with time-to-resolve one of the biggest causes of frustration. Speeding queuing time, as well as the time taken to resolve queries, alleviates customer frustration, reduces costs, makes staff more productive and avoids customer churn. The question is how to increase efficiency while also minimizing the cost and disruption associated with change?

Learning from others’ experience will turbo-charge customer support efficiency

Other mobile-first economies have already been down the path of optimizing digital customer support, meaning that African operators can benefit from their experience to accelerate change in their own customer support organizations. In the Nordics, for example, digital customer support provision is both efficient and effective at keeping customers happy and more engaged. This has resulted in operators experiencing 20% fewer calls to their contact centres, 47% reductions in the time taken to resolve a customer query, and 60% reductions in escalations. All of which reduce costs.

Change doesn’t have to come at great cost

With the need to keep costs and disruption to a minimum, African operators can benefit immediately from the approach taken by Subtonomy, an expert provider of digital customer support applications. By re-using existing data sources – including passive probes (eg Amdocs, Anritsu, Commprove, Empirix, Exfo, Polystar, Radcom, Tektronix, Teoco or Viavi, Tektronix), BSS and OSS, cell data and device data – Subtonomy enables operators to deliver a 360o real-time view of actual customer experience quickly[6] and at low cost. This empowers them to provide fast, efficient digital support 24/7.

“By reusing data sources they already have, operators can quickly and cost-effectively transform their technical customer support. Our solution not only future proofs them against further change but also enables them to squeeze more value out of what they already have – such as legacy probes and BSS/OSS solutions.” Andreas Jörbeck, CEO and co-founder of Subtonomy.