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M1 revamp sees telco do more with fewer staff

Copyright 2014 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
 All Rights Reserved

A TIMELY revamp costing over $1 million at M1's retail stores has started to pay off for the telco amid a major manpower crunch here.

M1 has only 220 front-line employees across 14 stores - down by 15 per cent from a year ago, as a result of natural attrition.

But the firm has still managed to reduce customer waiting times from one hour to 50 minutes on average, it said.

This has been done by ditching traditional service counters, streamlining workflow and equipping retail staff with tablets.

Now, entire transactions - from selecting a mobile plan to signing a contract and payment - can be done by just one employee.

In the past, customers had to queue thrice - for a queue number, for a customer service representative to serve them and finally to make payment.

"The whole exercise started when we tried to reduce the waiting time, which can be quite long at telco shops," said M1 chief marketing officer P. Subramaniam yesterday. "At the same time, we wanted to increase staff productivity."

The $1 million was spent on some 160 tablets and portable barcode scanners, and integrating the devices with the telco's existing order and billing systems.

An additional undisclosed investment was also made to renovate all 14 stores and equip each outlet with up to six self-service kiosks. These kiosks let customers enter their personal details for faster order processing. They also get a queue number via SMS.

Customer service employees with tablets connected to the backend order and billing systems via Wi-Fi complete the transaction.

Customers can sign their contracts digitally on the tablets and choose to have the e-contracts sent to them via e-mail.

Payment via credit card can be processed by mobile payment terminals connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

So far, 12 stores have been revamped with the remaining two coming onstream next month.

M1 received an undisclosed Spring Singapore grant for the year-long initiative, which has also helped the telco reduce paper consumption by 25 per cent.

Some customers were impressed by the high-tech spin.

Businessman Victor Chew, 43, said he liked the fact that he did not have to queue multiple times when he renewed his mobile contract a few months ago.

"But it takes some getting used to not being able to sit down at counters."

Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 38, said he had not observed a reduction in waiting times.

"I waited just as long to renew my mobile contract," he said.

IRENE THAM TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT

Last Updated on : 30 Jan 2015

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