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Vodacom Lesotho has come up with a new addition to its products, the ‘Vodacom One Connect’, which is set to revolutionise communication for large enterprises, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and NGOs.
In an interview with theReporter’s Neo Kolane, Vodacom Business commercial operations manager Puseletso Putsoane explains that the product allows business owners to have the traditional office landline on their computers, mobile phone and/or desk phone and thereby enhance communication with their clients.
Please tell us about the Vodacom One Connect.
Vodacom One Connect is basically a unified communications platform that simplifies work for businesses.
One can use it from anywhere they are including home, for businesses. It basically puts communication channels under one platform where business people can chat with their customers or colleagues. One the same platform a person can make calls, like landline calls, and can also set up meetings, hence it is called a unified communications platform.
‘Vodacom One Connect’ is a hosted service, meaning clients do not have to have a platform on their premises. One just has to buy licenses to operate it.
What makes Vodacom Lesotho proud about this platform?
It is not actually our invention; we have partnered with a supplier. The biggest thing about it is we haven’t had such a platform at Vodacom before and yet it is quite in time for the market we are in.
‘Vodacom One Connect’ is a solution that works not only for big enterprises like Microsoft Teams app which is already adopted in many companies. It is only for large enterprises that have bought licenses and are using it.
What makes us proud about this platform is that it can be used across different businesses, including SMMEs.
We have seen a lot of attraction for small businesses because it is a solution tailored mainly for such enterprises. It is affordable and gets business done.
What are Vodacom One Connect’s priority areas of focus?
We aim to provide effective communication solutions for small businesses. SMMEs were hit hard by COVID-19 and they need a solution that they can afford, which is exactly what Vodacom One Connect does. It helps them communicate with their customers at an affordable price and in flexible ways and times.
How does the tool fit into companies’ and other stakeholders’ efforts to communicate more effectively, collaborate impeccably and ultimately drive productivity amongst themselves?
If one is a small business or has an office running and somehow the procurement officer steps out of the office, the only way to communicate with them is by calling them on their cellular device.
With Vodacom One Connect, businesses have their extension everywhere, even on their phones.
The platform enables people to communicate with their office numbers no matter where they are.
When a person thinks of calls that they need to set up internationally, or talking to a supplier in Johannesburg or a small SMSE that does not use Microsoft Teams, they can set up an online meeting on the same platform.
All one has to do is send the supplier a link and schedule a meeting and that’s it. That limits the setup of international calls.
One does not physically have to go to the office; they can set up a staff meeting on the same platform and everyone joins from wherever they are. Vodacom One Connect essentially helps with in-house communication as well as to engage with stakeholders.
Besides allowing business owners to chat and set meetings, what keeps the tool running?
It is prominently for meetings, but it can also be used as a call centre platform where there are agents who pick up calls at different times and record them.
Vodacom One Connect can also be used to set up WhatsApp for business so that customers can be able to interact through a chat on the website.
The platform is not only limited to making calls or setting up meetings, but it can also be used as a call centre system and a social media interaction with customers.
How is Vodacom Lesotho aiming to improve Basotho’s access to technology?
Vodacom is predominantly known for communications.
We also are looking at solving problems, not necessarily just a being a communications company. We want to come to a point where when people think of Vodacom when they face problems. The only difference would be we solve the problem with technology.
We want to solve problems for businesses. Our solutions cut across connectivity, security, Internet of Things (IoT), hosting and many others.
We provide digital solutions for businesses, not just connections but systems and also advice.
What measures have you put in place to ensure that the tool covers SMMEs, NGOs and large businesses across all the country’s 10 districts?
We look for a product that is affordable across all the different segments of society including the ones you’ve just mentioned.
If one looks at the target market for large enterprises, they are very much on security and we have catered for that in the solution.
When you think of SMMEs, they want security but they are very much price sensitive, so we have a put a solution that caters for both sectors.
The same applies with NGOs; they work a lot with field workers so the solution is flexible, and one can call from anywhere.
Vodacom One Connect is a solution for every business you can think of.
What hiccups have businesses come across with the new platform and how is Vodacom Business hoping to address them?
The only hiccup we have encountered is that we have a customer who now has a call centre.
When used as a contact centre, Vodacom One Connect has limitations when reporting. When one has a contact or a call centre, they normally want to see information on agents and how long they take on the call.
What we have to do is to look for other options to supplement the reporting. We are going to integrate the Vodacom One Connect with another system to enhance the reporting.
How does one activate Vodacom One Connect?
The app is downloaded from App Store or Play Store. But one needs to buy the license to use it.
So, one calls 155 to inform the number of people wanted on the platform.
For each user, the basic license is M99. Once the license is purchased, one gets a user name and password they just need to enter in the app.
Clients can pay subscriptions monthly or annually.