Kenya’s ICT regulator the Communications Authority has published Customer Protection Guidelines and Customer Care Standards, which will compel telcos to do more in terms of how they handle customer care concerns.
The standards, which are aligned with the Kenya Information and Communications (Consumer Protection) Regulations, 2010, will become effective 12 months from the date of issue, that is, from July 2023.
To note, the guidelines have been put in place to clarify how the Authority expects licensed service providers to respect and protect consumers’ rights and encourage best practices by licensed service providers and promote the provision of high-quality services to consumers.
In this case, all licensees have been asked to establish customer care systems, which will ensure that facilities and systems provided for the purpose are more than enough to address customer concerns when such services are needed.
To this end, telcos have been asked to at least provide a customer care number and email address that can be used to reach them. At the current time, some licensees have gone further since they have social media profiles that have proved quite useful to engage their customers.
The regulations further state that all network facility providers and mobile virtual network operators must designate 100 as their customer care number. The number should work even for customers who are roaming in East Africa.
However, all other licenses are advised to designate any specific number and publicize it to their customers.
Customer care facilities must not place an undue burden on subscribers including customers with disabilities based on the cost of accessing such services, and how far they should travel to access a physical customer care shop.
The CA is also compelling telcos that customer care services must be available 99.9 percent of the time.
Furthermore, 80 percent of all customer care calls must be answered within 20 seconds. This includes the waiting time where automated voices or ads are used to manage call queues. The Pareto Principle used in this case is essential because it would be impossible to answer all customer care queries within 20 seconds after a call has been placed.
Finally, the CA advises that a telco must acknowledge a complaint to the customer within 1 working day. The complaint must also be addressed in less than 21 days.