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Vodacom has appointed a new Managing Executive for the Limpopo region, home to 3.9 million customers. Chris Lazarus, who has a decade of experience at Vodacom and was previously the Managing Executive for Gauteng, will be placing particular emphasis on customer care, the network, and also building Vodacom’s business and public sector footprint in Limpopo.
'Vodacom already has the best network in Limpopo, but that’s not enough. I want to make sure that we connect everyone whether in the cities or in the rural areas, and that takes investment. This year we’ll spend more than R200 million building new base stations and connecting them with our own high-speed transmission. That’s an increase in investment of more than 20% on last year and will mean wider coverage, faster data, and better call quality.' said Lazarus.
Vodacom already has the best network in Limpopo, but that’s not enough. I want to make sure that we connect everyone whether in the cities or in the rural areas, and that takes investment. - Chris Lazarus, Managing Executive: Limpopo
With respect to customer care, Lazarus will be focusing on both the in-store experience and also making sure that any network queries raised via the call centre are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Customer CARE is key
'Price alone doesn’t win customers, but a great network and responsive customer care will. We’ll roll out an additional 100 sites this year across the province as well as upgrade existing sites and increase network capacity to manage increased demand, specifically on data. We’ll also roll out our CARE program across our stores. This program is aimed at transforming the way we service all our customers. As part of this program, we’ve already made contact with many of the estates in Polokwane, encouraging residents to alert us if they are experiencing any coverage challenges, and we’re now extending this to Phalaborwa, Mookgopong, and Tom Burke. We’re also looking at a process that’ll ensure that we remain in constant contact with customers who report coverage issues, as sometimes the remedies are not an overnight process. If we get things right, I’m aiming to build on Vodacom’s current market share of 60% in the region.'
Vodacom has set up a dedicated email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, for customers to report any network queries or highlight any other issues that they may be experiencing.
Focus on business and public sector
In addition to ramping up Vodacom’s activity on the consumer side of the business, Lazarus also has his sights set on supplying services to businesses and the public sector.
'Vodacom Business is one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of enterprise services – everything from connectivity and cloud solutions to machine-to-machine services. With Limpopo’s position as the gateway to the rest of Africa, the businesses of this province can benefit from the productivity gains and cost savings Vodacom Business delivers. We have a dedicated team in Limpopo and have recently employed a solutions architect to help us provide a faster turnaround to our customers. We’re excited by the growth that the province will realise over the next 3-5 years both from Government and the private sector. In this regard we’re building a network to cater for this growth, transforming Limpopo as the economy grows. We’ll soon begin a provincial road show that will see the team traversing the province and engaging directly with business customers across SMEs, large enterprises and the public sector.'
About Chris Lazarus
Before joining Vodacom, Lazarus was Head of Content Solutions for I-Net Bridge from 1999 to 2005. Prior to this he was the corporate marketing manager at Intekom. He joined Vodacom to become Executive Head Corporate Solutions in 2005-2008 to manage all customer segments including large corporates, Small and Medium Enterprises and Public sector accounts. As Managing Executive Public Sector in 2009-2011, he established this division and increased its revenue from R200 million to just under R1 billion in 2 years. In 2011 he became Managing Executive Product/Services, managing the enterprise business product suite. In 2013 Lazarus was asked to start the Emerging markets division, focusing on building an alternate distribution strategy for our consumer business. In 2014 he became the Managing Executive Gauteng Region where he successfully turned around the regional channel engagement plans, increased growth in data revenue, 3G devices and LTE while maintaining our contract churn at single digits.
Lazarus holds an MBA from Henley Management College, UK. He is married and has two sons and enjoys quad biking, cycling movies, and travelling.