19 years ago today, Safaricom was launched at Carnivore with Michael Joseph at helm. It has been 19 years of ups and downs in regards to service offerings and relationships with users – some good and as would be expected, some not so good. “Safaricom is big, it’s profitable, it’s financially a big company, we do great things, we innovate, we still have room to grow and to innovate. But we wanted to look back and see how our customers thought about us and we’ve been receiving many surveys saying that Safaricom is not the most trustworthy company” – Michael Joseph – Safaricom CEO.

It is therefore using this 19th birthday to turn a clean page, to jump start goodwill with users and be more available to them. Simply put, if the company were to start all over again, it would operate with simplicity, transparency and honesty. This is exactly what it is promising to commit to from now on. To be simple, transparent and honest. To be there for you.

So, what are some of the improvements that can you can look forward to from an older and wiser Safaricom?

Reduced USSD codes

A reduction of USSD menus. Most of the services you’ll need on Safaricom have been crunched into *100# and *544# and not staggered across multiple codes for different services. This really does make customer experiences easier and goes to signify simplicity which is one of the core promises that have been made today.

Non expiry of data

Data expiry has probably been the one most frustrating feature of Safaricom services and some users have termed it as outright theft. The words ‘stealing our data’ has been widely synonymous with the mention of the giant telco’s name. In what I feel is the most significant change made today, data expiry has now officially been abolished.  From now hence when you buy data you’ll be able to use it till it is actually finished, as opposed to previously when bundles purchased were pegged to a timeline which was subject to expiry or a top up. Furthermore, data purchase will now not be pre-set and you will also be able to spend any amount, even for one shilling.

50% bonus for voice and SMS

Customers will now be able to purchase any amount worth of talk time and they’ll also automatically get 50% more with every *544# purchase. This is a permanent feature and not a temporary offer, and is available immediately and this too is not subject to expiry.

Speedy Service

Service within 5 minutes be it at Safaricom shops throughout the country or when customers call the call centers. Few things are as annoying as queueing forever or calling a customer care number and being put on hold for minutes on end so this is also such a win.

Improved Safaricom shops

Revamping of Safaricom shops throughout the country to better offer personalized services.  This coupled with the 5 minute promise above is sure to save customers lots of time and anguish.

Choose a number

When buying a SIM Card, you will now be able to request a number of your liking. This I believe is subject to availability though?

These improvements come with a further promise that this is not the end, and that more changes favourable to the customer are on the way and will be unrolled with time. For example, starting November first, SIM Cards will be available free of charge, except that users will need to activate with fifty shillings. Mpesa will also have some improvements at some point.

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