Our Aim is to Connect Enterprises through Empowerment, Maxwell Dodd, Director, Business, Airtel Ghana
What is the rationale behind the Airtel Business uptake and what category of businesses/people make up your target market?
Our conviction is in the fact that information technology transforms individual lives and businesses. Airtel Business is here as a partner, offering its customers a world class service that enables businesses to keep up with the enormous market dynamics.
Airtel Business is committed to delivering competitive, tailor – made and innovative communication solutions to every organization across Africa and beyond to spearhead this transformation.
Our customer segment is made up of but not limited to, small, medium and large businesses. We also keep growing our high net individuals (HNI) base of customers under various post-paid services.
In less than a year of Airtel Business inception, we have managed to grow our monthly fixed data revenues from zero to over one million Ghana Cedis which has helped to monetize Airtel’s investment in telecoms fibre infrastructure.
What are the unique range of products Airtel business is offering the business community in Ghana
We have developed a very large portfolio of solutions for our customers and the industry specific ‘need-based’ approach, which has been our greatest hallmark in developing our solutions.
We offer Educational Solutions; from basic school, through to higher learning institutions. These solutions give students, instructors and staff tools for richer learning, effective teaching and efficient administration. Our educational solution offer is carried out via our dedicated Internet, Wi-Fi solution, our e-library- , our mobile data and mobile money for students.
Another unique product of Airtel Business is our Health Solutions which ensures that healthcare practice is supported by electronic processes and communication. With Airtel Business, we provide dedicated internet to these health centers and Wide Area Network (WAN) Solution, our cloud services allows data to be accessed anywhere, anytime by dedicated staff and patients. Our collaborative solution also ensures surveillance of activities among health centers.
Our manufacturing industry solutions gives total ease to local and international operations, production flexibility, integrated supply chain, ability to anticipate customer demand and supply.
Airtel Business also has an impeccable Home Business Solution that allows individuals and families “an always on”, high speed internet experience for business, entertainment and security. For instance, our Home and office security solutions allows remote camera surveillance, vehicle tracking and prevention of theft; using the home emergency alert systems.
In a challenging global environment, how affordable are your business solutions?
Our aim is to connect enterprises together by empowering them to create opportunities, dream big and exceed their aspirations. We do this by launching solutions such as fixed and mobile convergence and hybrid that bring cost savings to businesses and help them stay competitive on the global front.
Our managed and hosted services comes with cloud computing that offers huge savings for even SMEs to take their business global by developing and launching corporate websites without having to purchase a server or pay for a website developer which comes at huge costs.
Furthermore our footprint across Africa makes Airtel a truly Pan African partner since this offers global companies access to our voice and data connectivity on Airtel’s flagship fiber network called ‘Africa Connect’ for business operations across Africa via fiber, satellite, and radio through a single point of supplier contact but multiple delivery destinations across Africa. Airtel’s One Africa roaming package offers roaming services to customers across its OPCOs at local rates which offers huge cost savings to businesses across Africa.
Lastly, Airtel’s partnership with the launch of Thuraya’s mobile satellite services across Africa brings mobile services to customers over land and sea to as low as 1 USD per minute which is more than half the cost of a roaming call today across the region and most importantly users do not pay for receiving calls on this service.
Most SME’s complain of lack of support, unfair pricing, how do you intend to seek loyalty for SME market
It is because of this perception that we have shifted from already designed products for customers to a solution-based approach. Our SME segment is very dear to us and by the potential we see in that space, we have built in flexibility to develop a vast range of solutions for all their needs understanding the challenges they face.
Hence we have solutions from fixed voice and data, mobile voice and data, managed and hosted services such as website and email hosting that helps SMEs grow with advantages in cost control, developing efficiency in their business, advertising, business promotion and expansion.
We have built a unique customer management model that ensures our SMEs are served by a dedicated sales and service support team to enable them focus on their core business with ease. Besides the customer management model, SMEs can contact us via email and our contact center 24/7.
Lastly we closely engage this segment through our periodic breakfast meetings to gather feedback as well as show our appreciation to our customers within the SME segment.
Considering the level of competition in the telecom space, what are the strategies you have in place to ensure that
Airtel business succeeds as a topnotch brand?
The current trend of dwindling telecom voice revenues is the main reason for an Enterprise business setup for telecom companies to meet the increasing appetite for new revenue streams. However, the Airtel Business solutions’ approach in this value preposition coupled with our global reach is where we are placed to succeed as a topnotch brand.
We admit that there are enterprise businesses in various telecom sectors in Ghana, our strategy is to bring the value of our size as the 4th largest telecommunication operator in the world through savings on economies of scale to bear, on the services we offer to our customers.
We leverage on our size and footprints to replicate our technological and marketing successes across markets to benefit all our customers globally. Delivering best practices locally, e.g. strategies associated with the success of Airtel money across Africa has been a tool to deploy locally and in other emerging markets.
We support our customers with our strong partnerships and related brands; and this enables them benefit from the skills and technologies of these brands although an SME may not necessarily be able to afford the services of these global brands
How do you intend to change the face of the market with the uptake of Airtel Business?
We are promoting and pushing the ‘e-everything’ concept. This identifies the key role telecommunication plays in changing the lives of businesses. This is looking at e-business, e-commerce, e-government, e-finance, e-education etc.
One of our major leverages is on our all-winning Airtel Money platform that allows our customers to pay their service bills, utility bills, salaries for employees, undertake bank transactions, make purchases, and send and receive money etc. all from the comfort of any location.
Like every field of endeavor, there are challenges? How prepared are you for the challenges ahead
The three major challenges in this field are addressed bearing in mind acquisition, training, and motivation; Rare enterprise sales people – Enterprise solutions selling experts are expensive employees so we train and build talent in – house through various innovative programmes such as the graduate training programme to feed into new roles.
Developing enterprise solution selling skill set – Airtel has developed an Enterprise academy to train and develop enterprise staff in the Airtel way of selling that ensures that staff are equipped with the right skills to deliver in the enterprise segment.
Motivating staff for optimum performance and retention – Performance based commission structure has been developed to ensure that staff with the right skills and attitudes are well motivated to excel in their selling abilities
If asked to make three wishes personal and work related what will they be?
Be a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ across the nations, happily married and living with my family and to become a telecoms CEO by the age of 50.