Customer loyalty goes hand in hand with Africa’s digital transformation

CommsMEA spoke with Aminata Ndiaye, VP of Digital & Customer Experience at Orange Middle East and Africa, to find out how France’s biggest telecoms operator is evolving its service offering to enable digital transformation in Africa
Orange, Africa, Digitalisation, Connectivity

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This month, Orange unveiled its brand new regional headquarters in Casablanca, Morocco. The state of the art facility is a signal of intent from Orange of its intention to sharpen its focus on the Middle East and Africa in the coming years, targeting the region for significant growth.

"Orange is one of the rare international groups to have made the strategic choice, 20 years ago, to seek to develop in Africa and the Middle East. We have always been convinced of the immense potential of this continent. In many ways, it can be seen as a model for digital transformation; mobile money is a great example of this. One of the key success factors behind new services is to develop them in Africa so that they are adapted to specific local requirements and so meet the needs of our customers. That is why we have decided to organise the management of our business in Africa and the Middle East from within the region directly from the African continent," said Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange.

Orange currently employs over 18,000 people in Africa and the Middle East and invests around €1 billion in the region each year.

Orange is one of the most versatile telcos in the industry, constantly diversifying its service offering and business model to expand into new and potentially lucrative sub-sectors of the industry and beyond (banking, micro-finance and even utility supply, to name just a few of their recent endeavours).

As the business continues to evolve, customer engagement and customer loyalty will be a huge factor, especially for a company as agile as Orange in a market as vibrant and diverse as Africa. 

Evolving the service offering

Orange’s VP of Digital & Customer Experience for the Middle East and Africa, Aminata Ndiaye, believes that as the company continues to evolve, it will become ever more customer centric.

“Historically, our predominant business was voice calling. This has now been replaced by data services. In a multi-sim market, developing additional services is a way to build customer loyalty. As such, the role of Orange has evolved from being a connectivity provider to becoming a multi-service operator,” she said.

“We work in markets where digital can make a real difference, in financial services for instance, and in sectors that are emerging, not yet established or becoming structured, such as energy and e-health.”

“Our goal therefore is to position ourselves as a leading partner in the states and ecosystems of the African digital transformation, with a strategy based on our established strengths, such as our distribution network (900,000 distributors), our high-quality networks, our brand and our mobile payment user base (45 million Orange Money customers in 17 countries). We are developing all of these services in partnership with public and private stakeholders, and are confident that, by 2030, the revenue from these services will be equal to – or even greater than – revenue from connectivity,” she said.

Cultivating and leveraging customer loyalty

“Based on customer voice, one of our major assets is the relationship we create with the customer across all our touchpoints. The quality of the customer relationship is a key element in our recommendation. With our new strategic plan Engage2025, we aim to have 9 out of 10 customers recommending Orange. To sustain this ambition, customer service will be a key element, taking into consideration the digital evolution and our multiservice environment.

“Our customer service will be an asset to manage high value and complex interactions. Every contact with every single customer will be an opportunity to create positive emotion and to further develop the brand loyalty,” she explained.

Bespoke services for a diverse client portfolio

Ndiaye believes that the evolution of customer service and the growing demands of the customer base will eventually cause telcos to start offering more bespoke services, rather than persisting with a one-size-fits all approach.

“Thanks to our data-driven approach, each customer can be considered as unique, and can be addressed regarding their specific needs, habits and means. That approach is done with regard to data-privacy and therefore is offered as far as the customer wishes it. All usages and behaviour collected can be processed thanks to AI, enabling Orange to offer to its customer, personalised services, offers and experiences through their favourite channel whether that be the Orange App, SMS or through social networks,” she said.

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