Telecommunications giants firms including Safaricom and Airtel face fines if they take more than 15 seconds to answer customers’ calls as per the new law.
In a document published last week for public opinion, the regulator will fine telecoms providers Sh300,000 for ever breach and a jail term of up to three years.
The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) in the proposed law seeks to protect mobile users making inquiries and complaints from being put on the call queue for more than 15 seconds.
This is an upgrade from the current provision that allows firms to set up customer service call system without specifying call queue timelines.
Business Dail review revealed that calls to mobile telephony customer service took an average of two minutes and 25 seconds forcing many to hang up in frustration.
“This includes the hold time where Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is used for the management of call queues,” the new draft states.
The regulations seek the firm’s customer services to be available at all times – 99.9 percent at the minimum – and resolution to a customer within two weeks.
If the law is implemented, teleco will face up to Sh300,000 fine as per Section 27 of the Kenya Information and Communication Act 1998 that enables the regulator to make regulations for telecoms services.
“Any person who contravenes any regulation made under this section commits an offense 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,” states the Act.
Calls made to the teleco’s call centers have been rising in tandem with the increase in mobile phone and internet subscribers.
The number of active mobile phone users had nearly tripled from 19.4 million at the start of 2010 to 55.2 million at the end of March 2020, putting pressure on the telecommunication companies.
Most telco keeps customers on hold for longer times, sometimes using the platform to advertise their products and services.
CA wants customer care agents providing the services and attending to the customers to be well informed and competent, professional, courteous, and helpful.
The regulator also proposes that marketing communications through SMS should,d only between 7 am and 7 pm with prior knowledge of the customers or if such messages are responding to a request initiated by the customer at a particular time.
Telcos will also be hindered from making a SIM card as dormant and passing it to another customer in cases where the has unresolved issues.