Better Systems Go Beyond Preventing Errors, Anxiety and Mistrust.

To better understand how mobile phone dealers conduct their business, Evolving recently commissioned an informal study across different countries by asking staff to go out and buy SIMs for their mobile phones from local dealers. What we found out about telecom dealer sales management will surprise many of our readers who probably expected the mobile marketplace to be a more evolved industry. I suppose some communications service providers (CSPs) will be surprised as well.

When a customer walks in the door looking for a SIM and picks out a "SIM-pack" he has simply picked a plan or bundle from the SIM brands the dealer has in stock. At this point it is quite possible that the customer is already disappointed at not finding the brand's advertised SIM in stock or finding a number that he likes. To make matters worse the dealer might report that the selected SIM has "expired" when he gets to the counter!  CSPs usually auto-expire unsold SIMs after a specific time period to free up their finite pool of allocated numbers and expensive network resources.

The dealer also has to manage its sales staff who often start their day with a selection of SIMs and mobile phones that they will carry to a local mall or other high-traffic location to sell. The phones and SIMs will generally correspond to the offers from competing CSP's. Sales are often made using a paper invoice on which the SIM serial number (ICCID) and mobile device details (IMEI) are recorded by hand.

The combination of hand-written numbers, separate sales and activation systems often results in activation errors, missed commissions on sales when numbers don't line up correctly with the person's inventory and even situations where the sales person has to pay for "lost devices" that were actually sold and eligible for a commission but deemed lost as the sale was not recorded properly. This unreliable process has led to the practice of follow up calls for every sale, frequently costing dealers and CSPs over $1 million in sales and support staff time costs to field these calls.

Carrier-dealer mistrust is, in fact, quite common when CSPs are unable to reliably credit dealers for the sale of SIMs related to an activation error or other reconciliation error. This mistrust, in turn, is often the start of the dealer's journey to the CSP's competitors.

Modern dealer solutions record the sale electronically, shows the dealer their commissions, replaces the paperwork with electronic documents and provides the information to HQ in real-time. Such systems often include real-time sales and sales performance monitoring and reporting capabilities as well as functionality to draw dealer attention to incentives that drive desirable behavior and can go a long way to drive revenues from improved dealer trust and loyalty. 

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SIM Sales , Dealer Management , BSS , Communication Service Provider , CSP , Loyalty

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