Friday, August 21, 2009

Airtel expands rural footprint in Karnataka

BANGALORE, INDIA: Bharti Airtel, Karnataka’s No. 1 mobile network and the first telecom circle in India to go past the 1 crore customer milestone, announced a unique initiative to penetrate deeper into the remotest villages of Karnataka.

Airtel Service Centre (ASC) is an ideal combination of distribution and service to reach out to rural customers and an important step in Airtel's objective of expanding its presence in the state.

ASCs are Multi Brand Outlets (MBOs) located in a good, easy accessible location, preferably in the main market in a village that attracts high footfalls. This new initiative is based on meticulous consumer research and insight highlighting different behavioral patterns of a customer in rural/smaller towns and villages, thus marking Airtel’s strategic intent to service customers differently. Airtel plans to set up many more ASCs in Karnataka by the end of this financial year.

Announcing the launch of ASCs in the state, Venkatesh V, CEO, Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Karnataka, said: "Airtel is undertaking concentrated efforts to make mobile communication available in the smallest and remotest villages of the state, which otherwise do not have the same kind of communication facilities enjoyed by customers in a big town or district.

"We are now focusing on a dominant rural strategy to strengthen the 4A’s in mobile communication, i.e., –- Availability, Affordability, Awareness and Acceptability. A one-stop shop for customers’ immediate communication requirements, ASCs will revolutionize the lives of our rural customers with localized mobile communication and service at closer locations”.

ASC objectives
* One-stop shop for information about the entire gamut of Airtel products and services.
* Helps in removing barriers towards availing mobile communication.
* Handling customers queries and complaints.
* Reducing rural calls per customer.

This unique rural model of distribution and service has been developed on the basis of multiple Consumer Studies, which reflect that rural consumers are hesitant to speak with machines and most rural people are not comfortable speaking with the call centre executives – these customers prefer to be served in the local dialect, by a local representative.

Services available to rural customers
* Sale of connections.
* Exchange of damaged or lost SIM cards.
* Best value recharge and offers of the day.
* Educating and subscribing to relevant value added services.
* Handling customer queries and complaints.

Enabled with a Multi-function printer and a photocopier machine, ASCs are suitably equipped to ease documentation required for new connections. ASCs provide rural mobile customers the convenience of availing all Airtel’s services under a single roof.

ASCs are empowered to resolve consumer queries by a direct routing channel to trained agents on behalf of customers for solving queries that are specific to customers’ needs.

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