In 2015, Telecom brand of the Year, Tigo re-branded its enterprise division from Business to Business (B2B) to Tigo Business. The mandate is to deliver unrivalled customer experience focused delivering exceptional value for businesses. The new Tigo Business thrives on connectivity, efficiency and productivity.
In December 2015, Stephen Essien was appointed the acting Director for Tigo Business, a role he had to combine with Customer Operations until he was confirmed on July 1, 2016. He has the daunting task of leading the team to bring businesses up to speed with technological advancements and encouraging particularly SMEs to use technology to drive efficiency in their business operations.
In this interview with Mobile World Magazine, Stephen Essien, talks about the new Tigo Business and changes they are making to become the most preferred technology business partner for SMEs and Corporate organisations.
What is the new Tigo Business and what are you doing differently?
Tigo Business has been in existence for 10 years, we were previously referred to as B2B. We never really launched officially and even though we were just as competitive as the others, we offered very limited service and support to businesses. We had a mass sales approach, didn’t offer fixed solutions, and differentiated on pricing and only mobile offers.
In March 2015, we did a full audit and research of our operations. We asked various business leaders including SMEs and Start-ups about their needs and the responses were very revealing. They were varied, we saw some common themes such as higher productivity, greater efficiency and more control. Based on these findings, the new Tigo Business was borne to meet these specific needs.
We have re-branded ourselves, changed our strategy, strengthened the team with very competent and world-class talents, revamped our services and introduced several innovative communication solutions. The new Tigo Business is credible and a world class enterprise communication solutions provider for all businesses in Ghana. We are offering both innovative and tailor-made communication solutions to corporates and SMEs.
Can you tell us more about your focus on fixed solutions?
Becoming the provider of choice for corporate businesses and partner for growth to SMEs is our focus right now. As I said, we are a total telecoms solutions provider – from fixed, mobile, and EPN. We provide everything that is telecom related.
There seems to be a lot of focus on SMEs. Any special reason?
Like I mentioned before in rebranding and revamping our operations as Tigo Business, we did some research to understand the Ghana market and how best to position Tigo Business. We know from that study and others available to Ghana that about 90% of businesses in Ghana are SMEs. We also discovered that the initial cost of investment for most small businesses in Ghana is a big challenge and therefore there is the need to support them. By focusing on SMEs and helping them to increase productivity we are essentially helping the Ghanaian economy to grow. It’s the SMEs that will grow into viable business to support this economy.
Is there a link between connectivity and productivity?
Yes, to be very productive, you need to be connected. A typical example is how placing your business online can greatly enhance visibility and patronage. Customers are everywhere now, and can be reached anytime, anywhere using the power of connectivity whether it’s through mobile, fixed data, or cloud services. It’s easy for customers to connect with you, and complete the sales cycle at greater convenience.
What makes you the preferred business partner?
We don’t offer a one-size fit all service, we offer product specific solutions. We believe that businesses are uniquely different and have varying needs. It is essential to differentiate on flexibility. My team understands the importance of listening and discussing the details to develop a perfect fit solution. Another big differentiator is we provide free advisory services and consultancy so we are able to understand the peculiar needs of each business client.
Are your services affordable and also, how can you help businesses to reduce cost and be efficient?
Because we develop tailor-made solutions, we are flexible on pricing. We look at the immediate needs, discuss the solutions and the budget. Whatever the budget, we are able to maximize its value for our clients’ business operations. We prescribe just about the right solutions. The key experience is that the needs of every business changes as they grow, this makes it easy to focus on immediate needs and medium to long term strategies.
Do you offer nationwide service to all businesses?
As a business, we know that network quality is fundamental to our operations and customer satisfaction so we have done a lot of investments to provide the best network experience. Over the past 2 years, we’ve invested millions of dollars into increasing our network capacity, stability and resilience. We are in every district capital in Ghana which means we cover over 90% of Ghana. We already have a large number of reputable banks, manufacturing firms, tech companies, retail businesses as clients and we hope to grow even more.
Tell us about the team that is making things happen at Tigo Business and what makes them special.
In recent times we have recruited some highly competent and committed people from other companies. We have assembled the best team – fresh energy, new understanding, and new direction. There are experienced specialists who design, implement and support solutions as required by businesses. My sales team, they have in-depth understanding of Ghana’s business terrain. So yes, we have a formidable and competent team. I would like to add that this is part of our strategy to ensure Tigo business provides the best support services to SMEs and corporate businesses.
You doubled as Acting Director for Tigo Business and the Director for Customer Operations., how did you combine both roles?
I have been in the telecom industry for 15 years and have worked with some of the best Sales and Enterprise teams in the industry so it was a fairly easy transition for me. My deep understanding of telecom operations and lifelong ambition as a sales man made the transition seamless.
As the Director for Customer Operations, I championed some big ticket projects that have helped to massively improve on customer experience and service. Under my leadership we increased our retail footprint to get even closer to our customers and established our new state of the art call centre. I am proud of what we have done and those changes are reflected in my new mandate for Tigo Business. I want us to have a continuous relationship with all our customers.
As part of the new Tigo Business strategy, we have also re-defined the customer journey through the customer life cycle. We have created what we call the EVM – Enterprise Value Management to make sure customers are happy with the service we provide and stay with us. This means we have new processes to make sure customers are happy and satisfied right from the on-boarding process to the renewal of their contracts.
What will be your advice for businesses that need technology?
I think it is important for businesses to understand that good customer experience is not a privilege, it’s a right. For customers to have a great experience, they need a reliable partner who believes in the potential of their business, willing to understand how their business operates, and flexible enough to design solutions that will address their pain points, which will ultimately help this business to become efficient and grow. My advice is treat your customer right, just as you would want to be treated.