Telecommunication providers in the country will face fines or risk jail time for delaying customer care calls. This is according to a new draft published last week by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA). Telcos will face regulatory fines if they fail to seconds to answer customer calls within 15 seconds.
The new draft rules, which have been forwarded for public comment could see telecommunication companies face up to Kshs 300,000 fine per breach or/and a jail term of up to three years.
“Any person who contravenes any regulation made under this section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh300,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both,” Stated the Section 27 of the Kenya Information and Communications Act 1998.
According to the draft, customers should not wait on the call queue for more than 15 seconds. CA says the 15 seconds window also “includes the hold time where Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is used for the management of call queues.”
The regulator also wants those companies to provide customer care services 24/7, or 99.9 percent at the minimum. Moreover, customer complaints should be resolved within two weeks.
There are also other new proposals put forward in the draft. The regular says promotion and marketing SMS should only be sent between 7 am and 7 pm unless with the consent of the customer or if the message is in line with a customer request.
The regulator also seeks to bar the telecommunication companies from reassigning SIM cards with unresolved issues to new subscribers. Subscribers will also have the power to seek their monthly charges on call traffic and pricing.
The new draft rules are subject to approval.
The regulations may telecommunication firms to hire more staff for their call centers.
Calls made to the firms’ call centers have been rising in tandem with the increase in mobile phone and internet subscribers. The number of active mobile phone subscribers has nearly tripled from 19.4 million at the beginning of 2010 to 55.2 million at the end of March 2020, putting pressure on the telcos’ call centers.