By Ebrima Jarra
Consumers are often referred to as rational decision makers due to their consistent behaviours in making preference choices from set of competitors or bundles. With the re-emergence of Comium in our telecommunication sector, it imposes a direct threat to our existing GSM operators and further puts risk on their profits.
It’s normally difficult for new entrants to penetrate the market this heavily like Comium Gambia is currently doing. Their heavy penetration into the market suggests that the existing operators were not doing much to establish and maintain consumers’ loyalty and retention. Going by the utility theory, it’s safe to say that consumers found more satisfaction and usefulness in the new entrant, Comium than incumbent operators hence, the daily long queues to benefit from the innovative service sanctioned by Comium.
The rate at which consumers are claiming to be deserting their GSMs for the new entrant suggests lack of loyalty and zero retention strategy of the existing operators in the market. Anyone who is familiar with economy markets will be curious to know whether the incumbent operators embarked on regular risk assessment and strategic planning to avert possible threats of new entrants in the market.
I am of the view that the fame and open-handed welcome Comium enjoys today without much marketing, was given to them by the existing GSM operators. While many may argue that the telecommunication sector operates under a perfect competitive market, for me it’s in the other way round. My position is, the incumbent operators were behaving in the market as if it is a monopolistic market which has features of profit maximisation and unique product selling. The incumbent operators were stagnating on more or less the same thing claiming quality on a unique product of wifi router, 4G and endless bundles that are indifferent to each other as existing operators.
Improving customer retention and loyalty was less important to the existing operators which can be suicidal if a new entrant emerges. It is like the incumbent operators shot themselves on the feet, and they are now licking the wound at the benefit of Comium. It is easier to sell new products and services to existing customers than to find new ones; so, every entrepreneur should create strong relationships with their customers to create strong new brand loyalty for their businesses. Customers’ loyalty has proven to be a promotion for one’s business where they can share their happy experiences with their friends, and families. These experiences made Comium renowned recently.
In conclusion, the penetration of the new entrant explains the lack of understanding of customer behaviours by the incumbent operators; hence, they are solely responsible for their current predicament.
Comium’s strategy is too powerful to be questioned as it is marked with fascinating innovations that can potentially cripple their opponents in the near future if they refuse to listen to the current language of the market. Porter’s five forces should be displayed for the incumbent operators to learn from but that will be a discussion for another time.