Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Year's Message

(Litsako, Bongani, Eldred and Nkgadi)

The first decade of the 21st century is drawing to a close. The world’s economy has been hit by the worst recession since the great depression of the 1930s. Much has been speculated about the causes and the effect of the current economic decline. Banks have relaxed their lending criteria too much. Greed has driven many to take too much risk. Many have done what the “others” are doing. In the process the band wagon derailed.

It was indeed a tough year. To me, one of the important lessons to learn is to keep to sound business practise which includes honesty, being fair, mutual benefits, win-win solutions, value added and more.

To me, as a Christian, there is always hope. It is a hope not only for next year or the next decade but for eternity. For fellow Christians, my wish is that you may have a blessed Christmas and get closer to Jesus.

May you all have a wonderful 2010!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Feedback: Customer Service & Contact Centre West Africa, 2009

The Customer Service & Contact Centre West Africa, 2009 event in Lagos was a huge success. Two days of presentations, workshops and exhibits move the Customer Service and BPO industry forward. The event was hosted at the new Oriental Hotel with excellent modern facilities. There was an impressive line-up of speakers. Visit Aitec's website for more information. Academy Nigeria, There were 8 exhibitors including C.a.T.S. 1st Image, Business Connection, CapeSource, BPOCFS-West Africa Limited, Customer Contact Solutions, Consol, eXL, Onpoint Consultancy.

The event was well attended by about 180 delegates and visitors.

My talk on Self-Help Customer Services - African Experience was very well received.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Self-Help Customer Services - African Experience

I will bespeaking at the “Customer Service & Contact Centre West Africa, 2009” event next week. More information can be found at. 24-25 November 2009.

Please let me have some contacts whom I could inform about this event.

I will be addressing the audience on Self-help customer service Self-help Customer Services – African Experience. My slot is at 11am on Wednesday November 25th at the Lagos Oriental Hotel.

Please visit our exhibition as well. It would be good to meet next week.
(Picture of Nkgadi one of our developers next to the display stand. Click on the picture to enlarge)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

AfricaCOM 2009

Click for more info
This week we are attending the AfricaCOM event in Cape Town South Africa. It is an excellent opportunity to meet the Mobile Communication Industry - Customers and Partners. It would be nice to see you all!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

To disable / hide Caller Id when calling

Today I received a call from a person claiming to be calling from our bank. I noticed that the caller ID was hidden. This is a practice which in my view should be stopped. Imagine a person arriving at your company or house with his face hidden. Will you answer the door or will you call security or the police for assistance? Improved technology assists criminals to commit fraud and other crimes. In this case by not allowing the caller ID to be hidden will make life more difficult for criminals. Callers calling for legitimate reasons should not be worried to be identified. What is your view? Please participate in the poll.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The debt problem - Do Contracts Mean Anything in Africa?

Needless to say the economic downturn has also affected all of us. It again highlights elements like commitment, honesty, reputation and trust worthiness.

As I write this, major mobile companies in Africa owe my company money for months. All on contractual agreements yet some are overdue since December 2008! It is not isolated cases but it is a general tendency that larger customers are slower to remit their dues.

A good principle is to do to others as you would like to them to do to you. If you have a pre-paid mobile phone and you run out of credit it simply stops and you can not make any calls. Suppliers to a mobile companies are all too scared to stop servicing their suppliers as competition is stiff. I personally have overheard senior financial officials working for large mobile companies boasting that they have moved payments of their creditor out by months.

If we in Africa want to excel and grow we need to start at basics like honesty, trust worthiness. Reputation take a very long time to build, but it can be lost in a moment of irresponsibility. The wisdom of letting the ownership of African Mobile companies to outsiders (not from Africa) stands to be debated.

You should read P. W. Dunn’s post Do Contracts Mean Anything in Africa? Download or on the web

Never the less I believe Africa has a great future due to its people and natural resources!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Excellent Customer Service

Today our electric lawnmower which just yesterday returned from the repair shop started smelling like an electrical fire. On investigation it was clear that the motor windings are about to cause a short circuit. The motor housing was above 100 degrees centigrade. I took the lawnmower back to the repair shop. After investigation they acknowledged that it was their fault that caused the problem. A small washer was not fitted correctly and caused damage to the windings.

Thirty minutes later the problem was solved and the repair shop not only acknowledged that it was their fault they also repaired the lawnmower free of charge.

Excellent customer service is good for business! I will certainly return and do more business with them when appropriate. In time like this economic down turn good customer service differentiate businesses.

Thank you to Rudi and Shane from The Lawnmower Shop!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mobile Operator Customer Care Survey

There is a saying: "The customer is king" In today's world it is however not always the truth. With this survey we endeavour to gather information to improve customer service in the mobile industry. If you are a cellphone / mobile user, please complete this short survey.

It is important to get feedback from different operators and regions.

I will publish the results on this blog by mid November.

Click here to participate in the survey

Monday, September 28, 2009

IBM annouced WebSphere Voice Response V6.1

BM updates & enhances WebSphere Voice Response its highly scalable interactive voice response IVR system More information can be found at This IVR comes a long way since about 1992 when it was called DirectTalk for AIX. It can be programmed in state tables or VXML with CCXML. More information on VXML at We, C.a.T.S. , have deployed several IVR systems at mobile operators in Africa in countries like Tanzania, DRC, Lesotho, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt.