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Our customers are the center of our business.

Providing a high-quality, reliable and accessible service is fundamental to our commercial success, and an important contribution to the socio-economic development of the populations we serve. This is reflected in our materiality assessment and the prominence of customer-centricity in our business strategy.

This section looks at how we manage the delivery of our core service through the lens of our network performance, customer satisfaction and the online services. Issues relating specifically to online services, and the impact our services can have on under-served communities are covered elsewhere in the report.

Customer satisfaction and responsible marketing

Customer experience is a major differentiator in the mobile industry, and therefore a key element of our strategy.

Many factors influence customer satisfaction with our services, including the value for money and reliability of the products and services offered, and the quality of products and services we provide. We cover our general approach to serving our customers in our Annual Report. 

We have been running a Customer Excellence Program in all our markets since 2013. The ‘voice of the customer’ is a mandatory item on BU executive committee meeting agendas and the Steering Committee is chaired by the Group CEO, with Chief Officers from Technology, Commercial, certain Regional CEOs and other functions, as well as shareholder representatives.

In 2014, the focus of the program was to fix some basic areas where performance needed to improve. For example, in Russia, key areas of customer ‘detraction’ were around a lack of transparency in charging, and failing to prevent SPAM to customers. Fixing this helped to raise Beeline Russia’s customer satisfaction scores significantly (we increased our rNPS scores, see below, by 11 points over 12 months), and we have been progressively simplifying our tariffs, improving charging practices and reducing incidence of SPAM across our markets.

In 2015, we have focused on building long-term sustainable capability to improve overall customer experience. Much of this is about enhancing our customer engagement. Some of the key initiatives include:

  • Closed feedback loop – we have implemented a new system which helps us to more accurately, consistently and efficiently identify the root causes of customer dissatisfaction, enabling more rapid rectification of customers’ problems. We have deployed this in eight of our markets and will do so in all markets by the middle of 2016
  • Usability testing – making the voice of the customer more central to product and service development through involving BU customer experience teams throughout the process. This has resulted in measurable improvement in the uptake of products and services, and a reduction in product ‘bugs’ and complaints
  • Enhancing retail experience – in 2016 we will launch a new operator store format and significantly expand our footprint, in order to deliver a better customer experience and monetize data revenue
  • Center of Excellence – as part of our new operating model, bringing together our top customer experience experts in a CoE in Moscow to support teams in BUs, and roll out capabilities and skills.

We measure the success of our programs through the relative Net Promoter Score (rNPS) – the degree to which customers would recommend our services to others. In particular we monitor performance against our highest scoring competitor and review this through quarterly reporting and the governance process described above. Results can be seen in Table 4.

The importance of rNPS is reinforced by the fact that 15% of the annual bonus of all members of VimpelCom’s leadership team is dependent on meeting NPS score targets. 

We manage advertising locally to ensure it is appropriate for local standards and culture. We take the standards of our marketing activities seriously and monitor our compliance performance carefully. Our annual performance can be seen in Table 6. 

2015 Performance on net promoter score


  

Number of markets meeting or exceeding their rNPS targets

4 out of 12

Number of markets placed first or second in their markets on NPS

7 out of 12

Number of markets improving their rNPS relative to best placed competitor

9 out of 12

Anti-competitive action compliance



201520142013

Number of instances of non-monetary sanctions relating to anti-competitive behavior

19714

Number of anti-competitive cases brought through conflict resolution processes

1135

Fines relating to anti-competitive behavior (USD M)

2.2400.06

Marketing compliance



201520142013
Radio access network – energy efficiency initiatives

Number of incidents relating to our marketing activities that resulted in a penalty

13136

Number of incidents that resulted in a warning from the relevant body

171223

Number of incidents of non-compliance with a voluntary code

011

Fines relating to non-compliance with laws or regulations covering the provision and use of our products or services (USD M)

1.70.4m0.0m

Programs

Customer engagement in Russia

Beeline has introduced a customer engagement program where senior executives, sometimes including the BU CEO, contact customers who register an unsatisfactory experience with our services, and have not had their concerns adequately dealt with. The executive takes personal responsibility to ensure the issue is satisfactorily fixed. This is not only valued by the customer, but also helps ensure our senior leaders experience day-to-day customer issues, and understand how problems can arise and be resolved. We will introduce this initiative progressively to other markets. 

Network coverage and reliability

The coverage and reliability of our network are fundamental elements of our customers’ experience and are regulated as part of our operating licenses. Developing and maintaining our network is the largest area of capital expenditure, and accounts for a large proportion of our sourcing activities.

In 2015, we invested significantly in our network infrastructure. As a result it receives a significant degree of management attention and detailed planning. We review performance through the Operational Performance Boards held with each BU, which involves executive-level officers from the HQ and BUs. We have also introduced Capex Investment Committees at the BU level which play a crucial, cross-functional role in our drive to target Capex spend more effectively by prioritizing and bringing more discipline, structure and rigor to the way we make Capex investment decisions. 

Improvement and management of network performance is supported by the Chief Technology Officer Forum which controls the activities of various technical working groups focused, for example, on technology architecture and performance (cost) management

Network performance can be summarized through the KPIs set out here.

Network quality – 2G/3G Call inaccessibility Unsuccessful call set-up rate (Voice) 

Monthly AverageNumber of markets
%201520142013

0-1.0

866

1.0-2.0

455

2.0+

011

Call Drop Rate

Monthly AverageNumber of markets
%201520142013

0-1.0

12109

1.0-2.0

023

2.0+

000

Coverage of mobile telecommunication services

Number of markets
Population Coverage %201520142013
 2G3G4G2G3G4G2G3G4G

95-100

610610412

90-95

110110200

85-90

300300300

80-85

000000010

70-80

211110200

50-70

041030030

0-50

041140020

No deployment

01902120412

Network Quality-Bit rate from public crowdsourcing (Open Signal)

Bit-Rate Downlink
Last 6 Months AverageNumber of Markets
MBPS20152014*2013*

5.0-10.0

1--

3.0-5.0

1--

1.0-3.0

9--

0.0-1.0

1--

 

12--

We continue to deploy high-speed services across our markets with the advance of 3G and 4G/LTE technology. The speed of deployment depends on our license agreements. 4G/LTE services now cover half of the populations in Italy and Georgia, and over 40% in Russia. All our markets other than Georgia (which moved straight to 4G/LTE) have 3G population coverage of over 25%, with Russia and Italy at over 90% coverage. Although Kyivstar received a 3G license only in early 2015, the technology had been rolled out to 3,300 sites by the end of the year. Basic 2G coverage is over 80% in all markets other than Pakistan and Tajikistan where terrain and other issues such as power availability constrain network roll out.

We are not aware of any other major operator that has designed and developed quality guidelines as a reference model in terms of culture, organization, process, tools and systems. 

In 2015, our businesses in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (and we plan to launch in other BUs during 2016-17) launched a new mobile application for customers that will help us improve network services further. The ‘Mobile Agent’ is installed on smartphones and monitors data related to network performance and customer experience connected with different types of user activity, such as browsing, using apps, watching a video or making a call. After the session has finished, the data can be aggregated and analyzed. 

This new initiative ensures that quality of service and experience can be measured in real-life and real-time conditions, giving us the ability to experience the network as the customer perceives it. Subscribers can upload feedback and become active contributors by reporting problems and so participate in network improvements. The Mobile Agent complements traditional measurement of network performance and enables improvements for the customer.

This further supports our move from a network development model based on aggregated technical KPIs, to a model based on customer centric KPIs.

Free wifi on the bus in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan

Beeline Tajikistan has installed wifi routers in 10 public buses in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, as well as in its international airport terminal, in cooperation with the Dushanbe City Administration. The project is the first of its kind in the country. The project is being implemented through Beeline Tajikistan’s 3G network and allows customers to enjoy free mobile internet at a speed of up to 7.2 Mbit/s.

In Kazakhstan, 160 buses in Almaty and Astana have been connected to free public wifi, bringing the total to over 300 buses across nine cities in the country.

Also in Kazakhstan, we support an education program, ‘Internet for You’, to help people improve their digital skills. The average age of attendees is 49, and the course is offered in local language and Russian to increase its accessibility. It has been attended by more than 400 people.

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