In playing their part to help create employment, Smartcall, together with Vodacom, has just launched a training centre and distribution hub in Kliptown.
The Smartcall distribution hub will serve the main purpose of training and empowering local individuals and local informal businesses to generate an additional income through participation in the Smartcall offering – including: selling Vodacom starter packs, and airtime for all networks; handsets on order; RICA training; starter pack distribution; and receiving access to relevant reporting. This program helps bring in businesses and individuals into a market that is worth R6 billion a month and through Smartcall’s technology allows them to generate income at any level they desire to participate in.
Smartcall has specialised in providing prepaid cellular services and products to South African mobile users since 1998, and during that time have invested over R500 million into distribution infrastructure to support the participation of SMEs and the informal market in the mobile telecommunication industry. Today they are the largest distributors of starter packs and a significant prepaid airtime distributor in South Africa. Smartcall also provides several WASP services to the whole mobile telecoms market.
Andre Lombard, New Business Development Manager for Smartcall, notes that traditionally, Smartcall’s wholesale division consisted of a national dealer network as well as a direct national SME network serviced by an in-house field sales force. “Due to geographical challenges, Smartcall has identified under-penetrated areas across the country and are currently offering opportunities within communities to set up Smartcall distribution hubs which offer onsite training and ongoing support to new Smartcall agents as well as local businesses and people seeking employment,” says Lombard.
Lombard further reports that Smartcall has experienced success with their hubs in Cape Town, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng, and affirms that more hubs will be set up in the near future to service identified under-serviced areas.
For both Smartcall and Vodacom, setting up these hubs was vital for a few reasons.
“As individuals and as corporates, we all have a part to play in offering employment opportunities to try and help people to improve the overall economic situation in their specific area of the country. By setting up these hubs in under-serviced areas across South Africa (the areas of which are identified by Smartcall and Vodacom’s regional offices), we are enabling more individuals and SMEs to generate a steady and sustainable income stream, while at the same time the training programme offered at the hub transfers skills and knowledge to them. There was also a need for an informal trader model, which is something Smartcall has developed extensively through its software solutions and services over the last 20 years, and so these hubs will enable us to service the sectors of the market that have not yet been serviced and empowered.
“Smartcall places great importance on job creation which we endorse by creating Smart agents, which allows individuals to run their own business to generate an income. We take great pride in the fact that we are a major part of business development and growth within our industry. Smartcall is perpetually looking for ways to help our agents grow their business – and these hubs are but one way which will add value in this regard. We have various products available to Smartcall agents which enables them to further their own careers, and market themselves. Smartcall is the only organisation that makes promotional support payments on a biweekly basis, because we put our consumer, and our agent operatives, first, ensuring the highest standard of product and service. We aim to make ourselves as relatable and accessible as possible, so our agents know we are constantly helping them to connect and helping them to make an honest living. We currently have over 100,000 active agents that benefit from our solutions and of
ferings,” Lombard adds.
In addition to job creation, these hubs will also serve a valuable purpose when it comes to training individuals to become accredited Smart agents. No agent can participate in the Smartcall offering without the proper training. Each agent undergoes thorough training (which will now be done at these hubs) and only then are they accredited as an authorised agent to access the Smartcall systems.
Furthermore to receiving training and products at the hubs, Smart agents will also receive free technological solutions (such as regular reporting on their successful sales and activations) and ongoing support from Smartcall. Through the monthly reporting provided by Smartcall, agents will be able to access:
Month-to-date connection totals
Current month daily connection counts
Previous month summary
Admin around the reporting
Stock allocation reports and admin
All of the above are a small part of the total solution and will assist dealers in managing their stock and sales regardless of their size. The value added allows the person to sell the product while Smartcall manages the administration thereof for the person, adding immense value in ensuring their businesses run as efficiently as possible.