Omantel is the leading telecom operator in the Sultanate providing fixed, mobile and internet services to corporate, government and residential customers. Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) is the first telecommunications company in Oman and its primary provider of internet services. It is also one of the few internet service provider in Oman. Omantel that has been a governmental company for three decades has recently privatized as the public owns 30% of its shares and government of Oman controls 70%. As a service provider Omantel prime objective is to satisfy its day to day growing customers. Omantel has been through different restructuring process. Omantel management has reoriented itself to be a customer focused company. Customer satisfaction has been delivered through quality of service, promptness of response, customer care departments, flexible payment methods, and longer operating hours. With around 40 branches throughout the sultanate, Omantel could reach its customer closely. (www.omantel.net.om )
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Issue: Application procedure in Omantel outlets
Omantel conducted a survey of its current operation at its customer services outlet among the sultanate. The survey was aimed to identify strength and weakness of the services which are provided through different outlets. Also, the survey was intended to measure the customer satisfaction toward the services and products which have been offered by the company. The result as per the report announced internally, found that the services and products which have been provided by Omantel in the outlets are good interims of quality compared to competitors for example, land line, and internet, etc. On other hand, the survey was noticed a little pit of dissatisfaction interim of the time spent to complete the procedure of the service application and also, the time spent to activate the service which has been requested (Omantel marketing department, customer satisfaction survey).
There are five forms of transformation systems; continues process, flow shop, job shop, cellular and project. The issue discussed here is related to the job shop system. Job shop offers a different range of possible output, usually in batches by individualize processing into and out of a number of functionally specialized departments. Unique job must be produced, because of that; job shop has taken this name. Each small batches of output in the transformation system is processed. The main features of job shop are grouping of staff and equipments, according to functions; large variety of input, a considerable amount of transport of staff, materials, receptionist; and large variation in system flow times (the time it takes for a complete job). “Job shop is especially appropriate for service organizations because services are often customized, and hence, each service requires different operations “(Meredith, J. & Shafer, S., 2007, p.83).
Current process of the service application
Omantel provides various services and products in its customer services outlets. However, we are going to focus on specific services and products as follows:
Post paid land line service
Prepaid land line service ( SAHAL)
Postpaid mobile services ( MADA)
Prepaid mobile service ( HAYAAK)
Postpaid internet ( DAIL UP & ADSL)
Prepaid internet ( UFUQ)
Usually, the customer enters any of Omantel outlets and directly picks up an automated queue number of the service requested from the list of the services available in the queue machine and choose the required application form located in the same place. This may take about 5 minutes. Then, normally he/she will need to wait for approximately 30 minutes before he is been called by the customer service representative (CSR) and usually it takes about 45 minutes during the weekends and holidays of the public sector. The customer will be asked by CSR if he is having the right documents to support processing the services of the application requested and for example postpaid land line service. If the applicant does not have the full supporting documents he should leave and come later when the documents available and this may take 10 minutes. If he has the supporting documents and the application is filled, he will be asked to assign the application after the application has been checked by CSR. This process might take approximately 15 minutes. Then he will need to go to cashier to pay for the requested service and this might take about 15 minutes depending on the waiting queue. Later on, the customer will leave the outlet waiting for the activation of the service. The subscribers spend inside the outlet around 80 minutes to apply for the service requested in normal days.
Each service has different procedure until it is activated. Mobile services (postpaid & prepaid) will take approximately three hours to be activated automatically. Fixed line services (postpaid & prepaid) will have different procedure until the service is activated for the customer. First, once the customer signed the contract and paid the money, he will need to wait for customer service to send its technician to the location of the requested service to install the service. This might take 3 days to be completed if the connection is available in that area. In case of no connection available in that area, the process might take between 3 to 6 months. Internet services (dial up & power net) depend on fixed line services. This means that the customer should have a prepaid or postpaid land line service before requesting for internet service. Therefore, if the customer has the landline service, then the process of getting the service will might take 3 hours to be activated. In case the customer does not have the land line service, he/she will need to apply for the landline first and then the internet service which he/she will need to follow the earlier procedure of activating the land line.
The bellow chart summarizes the above process compared to lead time.
Customer leaves the outlet
Customer enters the outlet & picks up the queue no
Waiting to be called by CSR
CSR check the documents for the service requested
CSR serves the customer as requested
Customer pays the fees at cashier & leave waiting for the activation
If docume-nts right ?
Customer needs to wait for the connection
Fixed line (postpaid & prepaid)
What kind of service requested
Technician installs the land line
Mobile services (postpaid & prepaid)
Internet (postpaid & prepaid)
Analysis of current Omantel services procedure
It noticed form the current services procedure discussed earlier in Omantel outlets, that it takes long time to serve the customer inside the outlet. Also customers argue that there is inflexible procedure and unnecessary steps to be followed to get the service activated.
The chart above clarifies the time spent by the subscriber to get the service whereas some services require long hours and sometimes days to be activated by the company; however some of the services have exceptional circumstances. This limitation is due to customer lack of awareness of the company rules and procedure. And this may was a result of the unclear advertisement and sometimes complicated procedures due to employees who are not a ware of the work quality and also due to motivations aspects or orientations. Therefore, services procedure should be well known by the CSRs and also the management should be responsible of employees’ motivation and training to enhance the quality of the services provided by the company. It is very clear that the services provided by the company have some limitations in completion of the applications and accessibility, flexibility and unavailability of services information.
Selecting the suitable Transformation System
The service matrix
Schmenner has developed a similar matrix for services like the product-process matrix for manufacturing which can be divided in either capital intensive or labor intensive and there are four major service areas in this service process matrix. The service process matrix is divided in to four major service quadrants which are: service factory, service shop, mass service, and professional service and they can be divided in either capital intensive or labor intensive.
The bellow table (Table 1) indicates that Omantel services are part of service shop which is fall on the customer intensity with capital intensive whereas the fast food and sporting events are in the mass service at low customer contact and low labor intensive.
The nature of Omantel service type could be fit simply based on both customer relation and capital or labor intensive accordingly. Therefore, Omantel service requires high customer contact intensity and high capital intensive to get the desired service as expected from its customers. Consequently, Omantel management should be highly considering these factors to meet the expectation of its customers.
Customer contact intensity
In order for Omantel to satisfy its customer needs and achieve its goals, the management must inspect and wisely revise what are the main services gaps between its customer needs & requirements and their current services provided to them.
“Commonly, there is a gap between what the customer actually needs and what is delivered that involves gaps throughout the selection, design and delivery process” (Meredith, J. & Shafer, S., 2007, p.105). Omantel as a service provider could have many types of gaps to not meet its customer expectations such as its misperception of what the customers really needs. Also, another gap has to be measured is the discrepancy between the service that was selected and the service was designed. In addition, a gap which concern marketing and sales and is the disparity between the designed service and what these functions understand it to be.
Omantel suppose to restore these gaps and improve their service provision process, therefore it could have better service provided as expected from the customers.
Proposed procedure may adapted to meet the customers requirements
Omantel can seek to improve their current timing service procedure in its outlets. It can adapt its current procedure to meet its growing customer’s needs that could minimize the time spent inside the outlet to get the service activated. Also, they may develop new technology which can help serving the customers regardless being inside the outlet.
As the chart is depicted in the following, it describes new procedure proposed which will lead to minimize the time spent inside the outlet.
First, Omantel should have an information disc in any of its outlets. Therefore, when the customer enters the outlet, directly he should go to the information disc to ask for the service required. The information disc will provide sufficient information of any services might needed and the support documents required and given the right application form for the service requested. In case the customer does not have the documents required, he will be advised to provide the information before applying for the service. This process will help the customer not to wait to be called by the CSR. This process takes about 10 minutes. If the customer has the sufficient documents for his requested service, he will pick up an automated queue number of the service requested from the list of the services available in the queue machine. Then, normally he will need to wait for approximately 30 minutes before he is been called by the customer service representative (CSR) and usually it takes about 45 minutes during the weekends and holidays of the public sector. While the customer waiting to be called, he should fill the application form. Then, customer will be called and asked to sign the filled application after the application has been checked by CSR. This process might take approximately 15 minutes. Automatically, the fees required for the service will be billed later on in case of postpaid services. However, the CSR will receive the money from the customer instead of the cashier in case of prepaid services. Ultimately, this process will reduce the time spent by customer to pay the fees inside the outlet and waiting in the queue. Later on, the customer will leave the outlet waiting for the activation of the service. The complete normal process to serve the customer inside the outlet will take approximately 56 minutes which will enable the customer to save 24 minutes comparing to the current procedure.
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Each service has different procedure until it is activated. Mobile services (postpaid & prepaid) will take approximately 3 hours to be activated automatically. Fixed line services (postpaid & prepaid) will have different procedure until the service is activated for the customer. First, once the customer signed the contract, he will need to wait for customer service to send its technician to the location of the requested service to install the service. This might take 3 days to be completed if the connection is available in that area. In case of unavailability of connection in that area, the process might take between 3 to 6 months. Internet services (dial up & power net) depend on fixed line services. This means that the customer should have a prepaid or postpaid land line service before requesting for internet service. Therefore, if the customer has the landline service, then the process of getting the service will might take 3 hours to be activated. In case the customer does not have the land line service, he/she will need to apply for the landline first and then the internet service which he/she will need to follow the earlier procedure of activating the land line.
This proposal will not be effective if the management does not consider the following points which the system is suffering from:
Accessibility of the service application information
Recognizing the importance of the customers
Employees motivation and training
Employee understanding of the rules, policies and procedures
Encouraging the inspire of the team work
Flexibility of the procedures
Customer fills the application form while waiting to be called by CSR
CSR serves the customer as requested & pay fees, sign the contract
Customer leaves the outlet waiting for the activation
Customer enters the outlet & goes to information disc
Checking whether having Right support documents?
Customer leaves the outlet
The current procedure of the services provided in Omantel outlets has some limitations especially in lead time. Also, due to other factors as mentioned in the analysis part. In order for Omantel to speed up the services requested by its customers, we suggest that Omantel implement the proposed procedure discussed earlier which will help to minimize the time spent by the customers inside the outlet. Also, Omantel can offer other solutions which can help to meet the various customer needs. For example, Omantel can develop its website to enable the customers to have online services application requisitions that will help them to avoid coming to the outlet and waiting for long time. Also, the company can offer some of the direct services using telephone services which as well will help the customer finish some of services required without his/ her attendance in the outlet. For example, changing customer information (postal code, address, name..etc) and temporary stopping some services or adding new features. In addition to that, Omantel is recommended to increase the quality of its services. This is could be done by offering proper staffs training and motivation in order to increase their employees productivity and efficiency to achieve customer satisfaction.
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www.omantel.net.om , [18th Nov, 08].
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