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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Ahmed Diwan, chief commercial officer (CCO), Ooredoo Oman, shares insights about the company’s achievements, how they are paving the way towards 5G and enriching customer experience (CX), as well as their future projects.

Ooredoo was recently named Oman's Most Innovative Digital Transformation Telecom Company for 2023, in your opinion why is this achievement important for Ooredoo Oman?

As a telecommunications provider, we have been leveraging emerging technologies that have been transforming the telecom industry and providing our customers with a unique end-to-end digital customer experience. We are at forefront of the sector’s digital revolution by being agile, dynamic, and raising the game by embedding customer-centricity within the organisation.

This award is testament to the hard work, dedication and achievement this strategy we have had in place. At the same time, it also boosts our organisational reputation and shows what sets us apart. It fuels our drive to revolutionise telecoms in Oman in a ‘first to market’ approach with new digital technology.

Indeed, our numerous digital and customer experience awards highlight our world class, leading digital CX, and recognise our efforts to continue moving forward and innovate when it comes to new technology and services.

We are also leveraging our resources; partnerships, people, network, the latest tech and tools to expand our digital reach and footprint, to provide a world-class service that connects communities across Oman.

How is Ooredoo leading the way with 5G?

5G is a great enabler, both for individuals and businesses. We aim to enrich our customers’ digital lives and 5G does just that; it’s all about a better lifestyle, through faster internet speeds, improved connectivity and a better customer experience overall.  We want our customers to enjoy everything the internet has to offer and live the experience of better upload and download speeds, smoother streaming, enhanced online gaming, higher quality video calls and much more! As 5G technology continues to expand, its impact on enriching digital experiences is expected will also grow.

Technologies such as AI, IoT, Cloud solutions and many other over the top services (OTTs) also rely on fast, reliable connectivity to enable a vast array of transformative services. But 5G goes further. The 5G infrastructure we are putting in place and the technology it empowers, will ultimately enhance the GDP of Oman and impact both the economy and all business sectors positively.

For us, the embodiment of Ooredoo’s commitment to digital lifestyle enhancement is our multi-award winning Ooredoo App, which gives customers a way to manage every aspect of their telecoms service. By broadening internet accessibility through 5G, we are championing innovation and adding value. Indeed, we have introduced the best digital services and pioneering technologies, from comprehensive and customisable bundles with added options, to mobile financial solutions (MFS); we have something for every customer.

What steps are you taking to enrich customer experience and how can you continue to use the latest technologies in the field of digitization and leading solutions?

Our focus has, and will continue to be, our customers. By providing them with an end-to-end integrated customer journey, we build loyalty and a strong brand-customer connection.

We make smart use of digital to meet ever-changing customer needs and expectations, to provide a seamless omni-channel digital customer experience. By expanding and evolving our products and services, and enhancing every touchpoint for our customers, we can truly provide them with something different.

Across all touchpoints, we connect with our customers; through our App, online Chatbots, social media, an award-winning contact centre, immersive stores, franchises, and local dealers countrywide. And by providing a diversified portfolio of services that meet every customer need and focus on individuality, we aim to provide the ultimate in value and choice.

For us it is digital from A-Z. We have the highest penetration for digital services. Including our apps, social media channels, website and chatbots, and all other digital touchpoints, we have over 50% digital penetration to our customer base, and 45% of all Ooredoo transactions are now digital interactions/services.

We have also embedded customer experience within our culture at Ooredoo, and as such, are a customer-centric organisation. Indeed, part of our mind-set when developing products or services is to always ask ourselves: how does this upgrade the world of our customers?

In light of tough competition, how does Ooredoo Oman stand out?

We gave our customers a promise – to ‘upgrade your world’ – and we do that in many ways. We are moving the sector and the nation forward. As pioneers in the sector, we have established ourselves as consistently being the first (and fast) to market with cutting-edge services. We also capitalise on the strength of being part of a global group, using our widespread footprint and power to deliver advanced solutions. This digital footprint expansion and our ‘Voice of the Customer’ program (more on that later), are aligned with a Group-wide approach to enhance our online presence in a way that resonates with our diverse customer base. Our commitment to innovation and forward thinking sets us apart, enabling us to shape the future of the telecoms landscape.

Our fresh approach to CX made us an industry leader across many channels. As a digital leader in Oman, are responsible for digital enablement and connectivity. We connect the world and have always thrived on delighting our customers, which makes us stand out from the competition. We are the provider of choice when it comes to our customer communications experience and technology needs.

Moreover, our focus on regionalisation means that we are now closer to customers across the country; providing them with services uniquely important to them in their area.

A solid partnership with our distribution network has been invaluable in covering the entire country and meeting the needs of diverse communities. With their knowledge of the local market and close relationships with our customers, our partners and dealer network can offer tailored solutions, products and services.

Customers always come first, but how does Ooredoo Oman keep pace with changing customer demands?

Every aspect of our service is tailored to deliver a seamless, omni-channel customer experience. We leverage emerging technologies and other resources, including local and international partnerships, people, network, and tools to meet ever-changing needs and expectations. We provide an exceptional service to connect communities across Oman, especially those in isolated regions who depend on access to a strong and stable network for education, business, and trade.

We spare no effort in providing our customers with the best tools, tech and service to fulfil their dreams as business owners, elevate their quality of life and have greater access to education, training and opportunities.

Our achievements are reportable, too, so customers can trust Ooredoo. We measure our customer experience and last year, launched our Voice of the Customer (VOC) program, which has transformed customer engagement and customer-centricity across the company. This advanced concept and initiative tackles the customer experience from the inside out, across all touchpoints, and looking closely at customer feedback to shape and drive excellence.

An “always on” customer has telecoms technologies woven into the fabric of their daily lives and this has been the driving force behind our strategy. In the spirit of the program we also launched ‘Customer Day’, the first of what will become an annual event. Our executive team and senior management took part, meeting and engaging with customers on the ground, to gain first-hand experience and feedback, which is fed back directly back into our VOC program. This 360 degree approach means that we are constantly in touch with changing customer needs and are quick to implement new ideas and requirements.

Elsewhere, we partner with organisations such as banks, tech companies, and other third parties to maximise, optimise and differentiate the CX and customer journey. We believe in becoming stronger through partnerships with international and local companies – from within the sector and outside the sector. Every partner is an important part of the value chain and every organisation has a major role in keeping the ecosystem that we have created going. They also contribute to the national economy, by providing local employment and business growth opportunities.

What are your future projects at an operational level in Oman and the region as a whole?

The Ooredoo Group has, at its core, a robust strategy designed to ensure the organisation is future-proof and well-placed to leverage our technology, experience and partnerships, creating an unrivalled customer experience. With so many aspects of people’s lives now online – and demand for fast, reliable networks ever increasing – the role of a quality connectivity provider has never been more important, and we shoulder this responsibility with pride.

We will continue our digital-first strategy in 2023 and beyond; expanding and digitalising all of our touchpoints. We will also stay focused on being agile and adaptable, and on maintaining a culture of innovation within both our organisation and in our many partnerships with world-leading technology providers.

Our aim is to upgrade the world of our customers and our communities, and this remains a differentiating factor and part of our core identity, which we will carry forward into our upcoming projects.
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