Asiacell - October 2021

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Continuous, Customer-Driven Improvement


Asiacell: Complete Focus on the Customer 2




Chra Hussain, CCO of Asiacell, talks technology, team building, and always ensuring the customer comes first


lenty of companies, having attained a clear lead in their industry, might be tempted to take it easy and enjoy the view from the top of the hill. The ones that stay at the top of the latter, however, know that being number one takes just as much, if not more work than being a challenger. Asiacell is the undisputed market leader in Iraq’s telecom sector, and invests heavily in making sure things stay that way. “Asiacell is king in terms of its position as the leading player in the Iraqi telecom sector,” says Chra Hussain, Asiacell’s Chief Commercial Officer, who explains that the company “maintains this position through its unmatched digital resources and technical know-how.” As a result, Asiacell’s network delivers the fastest, most reliable connectivity in the country to the largest number of people. The company serves a growing subscriber base of more than 14.7mn Iraqis across all 19 of the country’s governorates who - Hussain is quick to emphasise are the leading priority for the carrier. “We are a service company. Everything we do is about enhancing the customer experience. Our staff is in a constant state of training and development to keep up with the latest trends in customer service,” she says. “Ensuring that our service remains the best in the market is our priority here at Asiacell, and our network is continuing to consistently improve and develop all over Iraq.”



Asiacell's Chief Commercial Officer, Chra Hussain


“ Asiacell is king in terms of its position as the leading player in the Iraqi telecom sector” CHRA HUSSAIN, CCO, ASIACELL


Continuous Improvement Internally and in the Community In order to ensure that its customer experience remains the best available to Iraqi consumers, Asiacell is driven by a doctrine of continuous improvement and training, in order to better understand, build relationships with, and serve its customers. “We are developing a full digital transformation strategy across both sales and customer care, which will be our main segments of focus for the foreseeable future,” says Hussain. “Beyond the technical side of things, Asiacell is committed to serving communities. We are here to serve Iraq by supporting culture, the arts, sports, and youth development throughout the country.” In May of 2021, Asiacell announced a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme in Iraq, signing a two year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost youth employment and strengthen Iraq’s micro, small, and medium enterprises. The initiative will support local startups looking to solve local challenges, connecting them with potential investors, and promoting opportunities for long-term, sustainable youth employment. “Along with my team, I have been developing new partnerships and programs supporting many initiatives which aim to help the Iraqi youth to harness their fullest potential,” says Hussain. Hussain has also been driving a culture of learning, improvement, and customer centricity within Asiacell itself. “Almost every company will claim that it has a customer-first philosophy. A closer look under the hood often reveals that


LEVERAGING AI TO BETTER UNDERSTAND AND SERVE THE CUSTOMER “These days, customers have incredibly high expectations of online retailers, and the most successful companies are the ones that can tailor their offerings and customer communication channels to meet those customers’ every need,” says Hussain. “It can take just one minor inconvenience on that customer journey to lose a buyer and gain a negative review.” In the pursuit of customer experience perfection, Asiacell has invested heavily in AI-backed customer experience technology over the past few years, allowing the company to “listen more closely to what their customers want than ever before.” Hussain continues: “By adopting AI solutions, Asiacell has been able to eliminate much of the guesswork when it comes to understanding our customers. The technology has allowed us to develop personalised experiences by delivering relevant messages to consumers at the right time. It also helps us listen more closely to what our customers actually want from us.” An added benefit, she explains, is that AI has allowed Asiacell to automate a lot of its mundane processes at scale, freeing up valuable human hours that staff can spend on other areas of the business, like innovation, relationship management, and customer retention.


Asiacell and Huawei partner to accelerate digital transformation in Iraq with LTE rollout

Huawei will result in Asiacell receiving a Tier III design certification for more data centres, ensuring Iraq has a local, high-quality cloud data centre cluster for the first time.

Downtime for any digital business means lost revenue, frustrated customers, and compliance headaches. That mission-critical data requires secure and available hosting infrastructure. Therefore, organizations keen to protect and differentiate their services in a crowded marketplace—and striving to develop new business models—will find that leveraging the power of cloud data centres is of great organizational value.

Customer experience improvement To provide the best user experience in the LTE arena, Asiacell has worked with Huawei in 4G migration via the latter’s Business and Network Consultant program. This project saw several initiatives implemented, including new user portfolios, terminals analysis, and network improvement to bring the company closer to the customer. More steps towards digitalization

Asiacell, the largest telecommunications provider in Iraq, has always been focused on providing superior business and technical support to enterprise customers. This enables them to run their operations in a secure and scalable environment with less operational costs.

Asiacell can now offer faster data, better performance, and several other high-level digital services by embracing digitalization. This was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when Asiacell delivered online academic programs to the education sector in Iraq during COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Asiacell has always been committed to providing the best service in the market and a premium customer experience to the country, from consumer to the enterprise,” says Chra Hussain, Chief Commercial Officer at Asiacell Communications.

Moreover, digitalization has driven more organizations in Iraq to develop new revenue streams by pursuing app-centric infrastructure and services. This pursuit requires reliable and secure data centre services; a mission Asiacell has endeavoured to fulfil with the advanced infrastructure the company has deployed in collaboration with Huawei.

To enhance these services even more, Asiacell recently partnered with Huawei to build an Uptime Tier III certified data centre in Iraq. This has created the country’s most secure and reliable cloud data centre. As part of the collaboration, Huawei will also share its expertise with Asiacell engineers through consultancy services to serve its enterprise customers. Asiacell already operates three data centres with Uptime Tier III certification, obtained in September 2020. The latest partnership with


Complete Focus on the Customer

“ We are here to serve Iraq by supporting culture, the arts, sports, and youth development throughout the country” CHRA HUSSAIN, CCO, ASIACELL


internal efficiency or profit, rather than the customer’s needs, are the true driving forces behind these companies,” she says. “Asiacell’s mindset starts from the premise that everyone in the company is here to serve the customer, from the CEO to the customer service representative to the data analytics professional.” Asiacell’s staff is in a constant state of training and development to keep up with the latest trends in customer service, and the company is heavily focused on leveraging technology to better understand and listen to its customer base. “Asiacell is making considerable efforts to know and understand its customers by constantly improving our channels for customer feedback. That feedback then goes into the customisation



Chra Hussain is the beating heart of Asiacell’s marketing and sales business units and its Chief Commercial Officer. As the CCO, Chra Hussain leads Asiacell’s communications with the public and media while managing various parts of the consumer segment, B2B, sales, and digital transformation. Her journey with Asiacell started seventeen years ago in the Marketing Department as the Vocal Services Product Manager, where she learned the GSM fundamentals. She then became the Marketing Project Manager and Planning and Research Senior Manager, learning analytics and understanding customers. Hussain holds a master’s degree in business administration from the American University of Sulaymaniyah.

“ Ensuring that our service remains the best in the market is our priority” CHRA HUSSAIN, CCO, ASIACELL


Asiacell and Huawei partner to accelerate digital transformation in Iraq with LTE rollout


“ Asiacell’s mindset starts from the premise that everyone in the company is here to serve the customer” CHRA HUSSAIN, CCO, ASIACELL

and personalisation of our services in order to make sure that we are doing our best to meet those customers’ needs,” says Hussain. “It’s about creating an adaptive learning process focussed on serving the customer better for everything the company does.” She emphasises that any effective approach to designing new services requires solid customer insights to understand what customers are looking for in a telecommunications provider. At Asiacell, that commitment to understanding customers’ needs and wants is baked into operations at a fundamental level. “Asiacell is the only telecom company in Iraq that conducts extensive user research before even generating its first design specifications for a new product,” she explains. Whether it’s the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, or agile organisational methodologies, Hussain stresses the fact that “Continuous improvement is key to the success of any digital transformation mission.”



PARTNERING FOR SUCCESS Iraq, Hussain explains, is not without its share of infrastructure challenges. Over a decade of political instability and conflict have left the country with holes in its network coverage, and connectivity that, in some places, lags behind other markets. In order to surge ahead in the quest to deliver globally competitive mobile network coverage to Iraqi citizens, Asiacell has leveraged its partner ecosystem to great effect. “We have widened our network enormously with a substantial chain of partners,” Hussain says. In addition to network optimisation projects with Nokia and a user experience partnership with Ericsson, Asiacell has developed a strong relationship with Chinese tech giant Huawei, as a keystone partner in the ongoing development of its network coverage. “Our relationship with Huawei is very solid and our partnership has been nothing less than a huge success,” says Hussain. “Huawei helped Asiacell with the development of our infrastructure in Iraq, which enabled us to take the leap to 4G. We are grateful for the fruits that the partnership has yielded. China is a major global player these days when it comes to technology, especially telecommunications.”


“ We take pride in the fact that we are serving our own people, who remain our only priority” CHRA HUSSAIN, CCO, ASIACELL


Building for the Future As the decade continues, Asiacell plans to hold onto its position as Iraq’s number one telecom carrier, leveraging cutting edge technology, a strong partner ecosystem, and a relentless focus on improving its customer experience. From a customer service point of view, Asiacell is in the process of transforming its touchpoints. “We have added many new customer service channels, such as kiosks, a WhatsApp channel, and many more still to come,” explains Hussain. “We’re also developing more digital

payment options for our customers.” Going forward, Asiacell is committed to maintaining its status as the best telecommunications company in Iraq. “We are the country’s only nationwide telecom company, and we’re very proud of that fact,” says Hussain, who concludes: “We take pride in the fact that we are serving our own people, who remain our only priority.”