Special Correspondent

BSNL Executives’ Association of Chennai Telephones meet held

CHENNAI: Putting customer satisfaction at the heart of BSNL’s functioning could hold the key to the service provider’s survival and growth in a harshly competitive telephony sector, according to a view that emerged at the opening of a conference of the All India BSNL Executives’ Association (AIBSNLEA) of Chennai Telephones.

The association, at its second Circle Conference, is focused over the next two days, at evolving a survival guide for the State-run telecom colossus at a time regarded by BSNL employees, trade union and even administration as one of great adversity.

Plummeting tariff that had driven the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) to unprecedented lows has meant that survival and growth in future would be dictated by subscriber volumes and expanding market share.

Addressing the meet, M.P. Velusamy, Chief General Manager, Chennai Telephones, said the BSNL was quite capable of matching the competition provided every employee was cued in on emerging trends in mobile and broadband. “As the market gets more competitive, the full involvement and dedication of the entire staff will become critical to make BSNL a market leader.”

Chennai Telephones had been able to attain targets across landline, mobile and broadband portfolios owing to a team effort, he said. The same team would have to jell even better in future, he said.

Mr. Velusamy also urged employees to centrestage customer satisfaction in every aspect of BSNL’s functioning. He noted that the series of Customer Service Centres that reached out to the public had largely contributed to Chennai Telephones recording growth in landline subscribers.

Quality of service and ensuring least possible downtime when a network develops a fault would also become increasingly crucial aspects of customer support as a delay could cause a loyalty switch, he said.

Sujatha Venkateswaran, General Manager (Finance), Chennai Telephones, said that while the department had succeeded in attaining targets across portfolios, marked decline in outcalls from the network (98 crore the previous year to 82 crore this year) and dwindling revenues were the downside.

P. Udayasuriyan, AIBSNLEA, circle secretary, said lack of autonomy in decision-making and the persistence with archaic and time-consuming tendering procedures Granting Navaratna status to the BSNL would improve the situation on this front, he said.

P. Santha Kumar, AIBSNLEA circle president, said the abolition of the Access Deficit Charge as compensation for operating in the rural areas was a blow to the BSNL’s finances.

The only options were for raising rural tariffs or legally challenge the order on ADC by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

G. Selvam, former BSNL General Manager, Prahlad Ravi, K. Chandra and K. Sathyanarayana also spoke.