By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian communications commission has asked telecom operators in the country to turn their customers into fans for them to earn their loyalty and achieve greater profitability.
Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mrs. Lolia Emakpore gave the charge while delivering her Keynote address at a Consumer behaviour symposium organized by publishers of Nigerian Telecomnnews newspaper in Lagos.
Mrs. Emakpore said operators in the country must begin to drive away frustrations and introduceÂ innovative and motivational products that could encourage customers and make themÂ have ability to make choices for service they receive.
Such innovative products and services, according to EmakporeÂ mustÂ be suchÂ capable of bringing pleasure and satisfaction to the customers before their loyalty toÂ any brandÂ could be guaranteed.
To her, no amount of money can buy customers loyalty for an organization, but said only the organizationsâ€™s ability to look inwards in search of customers needs andÂ comeÂ up with strategies that will cater for the needs and desires of the customers that would perform the magic.
â€œThey need to come up with innovative ways to be able to retain their customers. Frustration is an inverse motivation that must be avoided .
This is where competition comes in and for this reason, we will continue to encourage competition to ensure that consumers have ability to make choices at all times. This is the only way operators can trulyÂ crown customers as the true King of the market and benefit from it,â€ said Emakpore.
To theÂ NCC Director, a company wishing to maintain her customers does not need to indulge in fraudulent sales promotion that could water down the customers loyalty to its brand, but promotions that have symbiotic relationship with customers where both can benefit.
On fraudulent sales promotions by operators, Emakpore said â€œ Some sales promotions must be prepared to package sales promotions that would benefit both the operator and the customers, saying that any promotion that falls short of this standard amounts to fraud and should be descarded.
â€œOperators should know this and resist such temptation because we are watching them.Â For us in NCC, promotions must have different colouration and symbiotic relationship for mutual benefit. However, we are currently working with operators to redefine promo to have colour of gain and lottery,â€ she assured.
As part of effort being put in place to bring efficient service delivery to Nigerians, the DirectorÂ said NCC apart from establishing a town hall meeting and consumer parliament, recently brought down interconnect rate, with the hope that it will soon begin to translate into cheaper call rate, just as she said that the commission had equally prevailed on operators in removing expiring date on recharge cards, while plans were still on to remove validity date also on recharge cards.
She also assured on NCCâ€™s commitment at bringing ubiquitous services in the country through broadband penetration to rural areas, affirming that the Sim card registration and number portability projects of the commission were on course. According to her, the project when completed are expected to bring succor and satisfaction to users ofÂ mobile phone in Nigeria.
She then charged operators to focus on home grown concepts rather than on foreign concepts that not work to the satisfaction of their local customers.
In her paper presentation, the representative of MTN, Kolawole Oyeyemi said for an organization to fully earn and retain the loyalty of its customers, it must be prepared to probe deeper into the world of the consumer to understand their motivations, needs, aspirations, beliefs systems and other deeper values they hold dear and which could hold the key to the levers that when pulled could open the door to customer satisfaction and loyalty. According to her, continuous customer satisfaction is the key to delivering generate profit in a business.
â€œTo therefore deliver sustainable success, brand loyalty becomes germane. Brand loyalty cannot happen without a thorough understanding of the consumer and a deliberate decision to satisfy and exceed the customerâ€™s expectationâ€™s via both core and surprise values,â€ she stated.