The past decade has seen unprecedented, rapid growth in electronic connectivity in the form of voice in the developing world. Access to the Internet and to more-than-voice services is quite uneven with those at the BOP being excluded from the benefits of the rich potential of applications and services associated with the Internet. The report is a part of LIRNEasia’s research into the exploration of how to bring about an increase the inclusivity of the currently marginalized BOP by providing more useful services and applications on mobile platforms. In terms of providing useful services, the research will focus on three sectors; telecom, electricity and government services. How can these services be more useful to particularly to the micro-entrepreneurs at the Bottom of the Pyramid? The key is in how the suppliers of these services manage their consumer relationships.
Despite its growing subscriber base, the mobile operators have managed to maintained customer relations to a high standard without substantial increases in service personnel and costs. Can some of the learnings and best practices from the mobile sector be adopted be transferred to the electricity sector? In order to answer this question, LIRNEasia will study the current customer service relationship management (CRM) practices of electricity sectors. The study is done from a supplier perspective. Senior level personnel from operators and other industry and subject experts were interviewed as a part of the research process. Apart from the interviews, the research team also conducted desk research to look at the existing literature on CRM practices from the electricity sector followed in other countries. The objective of the research is to ascertain the following
- How effective are the current customer relationship management practices followed by the operators?
- Are there good measures for efficacy?
- Can the CRM processes be made more effective with the further use of ICTs?
The learnings from the telecom study will be examined to ascertain which of the practices and processes can be introduced to the electricity sector.
Further to this supply side report, LIRNEasia is conducting a survey of urban poor micro-entrepreneurs to determine the following from a demand side perspective:
- What design elements are appreciated by customers and what are not offered but demanded?
- What design elements are disliked?
The research is being conducted in three countries; Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Given the geographical size of India, the study will concentrate in the Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. This report will focus on the Sri Lankan electricity sector.