How to energize PTCL?

For the last few months we have been reading a lot of different news items about PTCL and its lack of quality services. People are getting frustrated due to lack of proper customer care support and now they are trying to get rid of their frustration by writing letters to the Chairman of PTCL and expressing him their agony.

Couple of weeks back we reported a that Etisalat had withheld three installments to be paid to the government of Pakistan. On the other hand the work force of PTCL is also not satisfied from the attitude of the company (and its management). Few days back, protests were being held in front of the PTCL Headquarters in Islamabad in spite of the Ramadan. The workers were demanding the high wages and other incentives. Dozens of the workers and their union leaders were arrested.

They demanded the release of the due rest allowance of the 8,742 New Compensation Package Grade employees and also demanded Ramadan Bonus of Rs. 25,000 before 15th of Ramadan. Further demands included the 20% raise in salary as ordered by the Government.

Finally, these protests came to an end last week as PTCL issued the Ramadan bonuses and 20% raise in salary to its employees.

According to an internal report, PTCL has lost more then 300,000 customers due to its poor services and tough competition from the other players especially the cellular companies since 2007, as quoted by an official at company.

Now, It is no secret that even China Mobile is taking keen interest to invest in the land line market and the President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari has offered the investment opportunity to China Mobile, which has frustrated Etisalat.

All this has shown that PTCL is facing a dead end in the following ways:

  • The net-profit of the company is continuously decreasing and the prime company no more remains the golden one.
  • A dispute of payment and transfer of ownership to Etisalat is also not helping the management to focus on the performance of the company.
  • Cellular companies are very hard to compete with. With state-of-the art equipment, dedicated workforce and visionary leadership, Cellular companies are moving ahead in more comprehensive way. On the other hand, PTCL is facing dozens of obstacles in its way to success.
  • Decrease in the number customers with the passage of time.
  • Although, Ufone is a subsidiary of PTCL and is doing well. However, PTCL should offer such packages which may leave others behind.

As a well-wisher, I am proposing the following steps to come out of the crisis:

  • There should be a concept of PTCL Family network, which should have one rate for the entire gate. Under this family, one should be offered to call at the same rate on the family network either from PTCL, Vfone or Ufone. Extra connections should be offered free to all Ufone consumers.
  • Like SCO (Special Communications Organizations), this family network should be given preference in advertising. There should be one ad layout and communication for all like the super Ghanta package at the lowest possible rates.
  • As the employees were recruited with the push and favors of other people there should be a cleaning program and one person should be allowed from one family in the company, others should be terminated.  This will help the company to revive with better pay packages and incentives.
  • There should be more incentives for best performing workers and  poor performing workers should be given an easy way out.
  • Above all, customer support should be focused with immediate actions. With huge product portfolio, the only reason customer refrains from getting on board with PTCL is the after sale support. For example, I personally have PTCL’s EVO service with me for last 2 months now. But I really don’t know its support number. I once tried this number given on EVO packing, however, I was not able to get connected to any CSR. So the point is after sale support is the main hurdle between PTCL and customers.

If all this could make any difference then it will be again the time of PTCL, like in the pre open era of competition in Pakistan.