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Cell C overhauls digital channels to enhance self-service

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 09 Oct 2023
Cell C CEO Jorge Mendes.
Cell C CEO Jorge Mendes.

Cell C is revamping its digital channels, as part of the telecoms operator’s growth strategy, to improve customer experience and increase its market share.

The financially-constrained mobile operator is on a path to gain profitability within 18 to 24 months, under its new CEO Jorge Mendes, who joined the firm in June.

During an interview, Mendes told ITWeb that Cell C is working on an omni-channel strategy that will see its website, mobile app, WhatsApp and USSD channels be overhauled to enhance customer service and expand its e-commerce offerings.

The telco, which is creating a growth strategy path to better position itself in SA’s tightly-contested telecoms market, has made some gains in its online channels, but there is plenty of room to tap into new opportunities, he pointed out.

“We have seen incremental growth in utilisation across digital channels, in line with expectations. This is due to an increasing number of customers adopting digital channels. There is a lot that we would like to do to provide the capabilities that we would like to have.

“We are building the app and we are improving the website. Then we will accelerate the growth of activity on those platforms. The focus is on improving self-service capabilities, with customers being offered more in-channel convenience and the ability to move across digital and physical channels seamlessly, to build a customer-centric omni-channel capability.”

This is a large part of Cell C’s renewed growth strategy, Mendes added.

Besides purchasing airtime and accessing personalised bundle offers, customers have been using the digital channels for postpaid sales and purchasing mobile devices.

The increased uptake of online channels has been mainly boosted by the increased access to connectivity witnessed by SA over the last few years, as customers increasingly adopt a “digital-first mindset”.

A few months ago, the telco introduced several products on its USSD, and the channel has already gained traction, he noted.

“The web portal is the main sales channel for new postpaid sales, as well as standalone devices. However, when it comes to recharges and bundle purchases, all digital channels have this capability, including app, USSD and WhatsApp.

“We have lots of room for growth and opportunity there, so it's about first making sure the engine is well-capacitated and then we will move more aggressively in that space.”

As part of the renewed strategy, Mendes said the telco is looking to strengthen its mobile virtual network operator partnership deals, and introduce offerings across several verticals, including prepaid and postpaid products, data packages and fibre.