AFRICOM, Zimbabwe's leading converged telecoms operator has scooped the top position at this year's Service Excellence Awards for ICTs and Telecoms Sector.
The prestigious Service Excellence Awards, organised and managed by the Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Tourism Association were held at Rainbow Towers and graced by former Zambian First Lady Dr Mwanawasa.
The Zimbabwe Customer service week is held annually and dedicated to promoting a culture of service excellence in Zimbabwe and to appreciating the role of customers and customer service/call centre employees in business growth and sustainability.
As part of the international celebrations, Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world to celebrate the customer service week (CSW).
These awards are very much commendable as they serve as a yardstick to evaluate and encourage customer service delivery across sectors.
As telecommunications companies gear up for much more aggressive marketing tactics, as they adapt to the rampant dynamic technological world, the customer care component usually suffers the most as players struggle for supremacy and market recognition.
Service providers in the telecommunication sector have all been recently hailed for advancing their customer support backbone with the introduction of state of-the-art 24/7 support centers sprouting in Harare, a move surely confirming that players are investing in customer service.
Such moves help, in the long run to protect the vulnerable subscriber as the players make themselves answerable to the subscribers at some few pushes of the button.
Needless to say this has also safeguarded the interest of the subscriber against rogue activities and encouraged all players to be careful since accountability is now being enforced.
The end of customer service week was marked by a dinner celebration where there will be a service excellence award. Selection criteria included mystery shopping, research, monkey surveys and customer brand association.
The adjudication committee for the awards comprised captains of industry, academics and renowned experts in the fields of marketing, research and customer service.
Receiving the award, Africom's marketing manager Prosper Mutswiri said "Although we have invested heavily in technology, we are not only a tech company but also a customer solution company. We have a dedicated pool of staff who are ready 24/7 /365 to give our valued customers the best service they deserve" Africom provides services like broadband internet powered by various platforms, voice services, business communication solutions and value addition services to businesses and consumers.
Africom recently introduced very innovative products like Guroo, business in a box and they were the first telecoms company to integrate voice, video and data over broadband. Africom's voice service is one of the cheapest in the market and their network destination code is 08644.
Africom has been on the fore front of innovating Voice over Internet protocol VoIP based products, a market which is still very much underutilised in Zimbabwe.
While GSM operators are struggling to maintain relevance in this Internet protocol generation, VoIP has proved to be the small David that will slay Goliath softly before he goes down on his knees and out.
This is the only market with a brighter future in telecoms business but the truth is that GSM operators cannot allow this industry to take over easily as this will completely destroy their revenue bases, hence the delay in the growth of VoIP. Maybe to spice up the awards, the next time there should be nominees who scoop the worst customer service ever as this forces players out of their comfort zones and motivate them to deliver.
During a sideline interview, Mutswiri said "We are a customer solutions company. We love what we do and are always looking to learn, grow and improve"
Last year Telecel Zimbabwe was awarded the same Customer Service Excellence Award after commissioning their state of the art customer service centre.
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