TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN LASTING RELATIONSHIPS, WE ARE DRIVEN BY OUR COMMITMENT TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE GROWTH OF PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES.
Creating Exceptional Experiences for our Customers
At Airtel, we continue to strengthen our endeavour to drive brilliant customer experiences by leveraging the scale of our services and our digital assets. Our strategy to ‘win customers for life’ ensures relevance and reliability in a dynamic operating environment, motivating us to always prioritize our customers.
We extended our pioneering customer reward initiative to our home services customers also during the year. Our special loyalty program now brings a host of exclusive benefits like superfast data speeds, large quantities of data with rollover facilities, access to premium services like Wynk Premium, Zee5, Reader’s Club on Juggernaut, online security and device insurance offers for our mobile and homes services customers. The introduction of self-care and help support feature intuitively built in the app, have helped resolve customer queries faster.
Redefining International Roaming
During the year, we transformed the International Roaming (IR) experience for our customers by introducing initiatives such as ‘real-time’ usage tracking, safe packs, stoppage of auto-renewal, barring of data usage in non-pack countries and allowing ‘Enable / Disable IR service’ feature to provide greater control in the hands of customers.
During FY 2019-20, we took a strategic decision to consolidate from 100+ VAS services to four core services that are genuinely valued by our customers. These VAS were rolled across diverse customer segments.
We strengthened our focus to improve customer experiences with the launch and improvement of our digital assets like Airtel Xstream app, Wynk Music and Airtel E-books. Coupled with high speed broadband through Airtel Xstream Fiber and ease of service through One Airtel Plan, we are redefining entertainment for customers.
Protecting with Insurance
In an industry first initiative, we tied up with two leading insurance companies to include life insurance in our bundle offer. The affordable insurance policies enable users to lend a helping hand to their families in times of need.
Next-gen Airtel stores
Our ambition to ‘win friends for life’ helped us to build next-gen retail stores, conceived to foster engaging conversations in an inspirational, yet warm and welcoming ambience. This year we have added 57 Next-Gen stores, taking its total to 163. The new stores have an open and minimalistic design, and utilize several state-ofthe- art digital technologies in order to create an enriching experience for customers.
New features include:
- One Airtel journey, Airtel Xstream journey, XStream Demo Unit
- Multi-language support to create better understanding of plans and offers
Next-Gen Airtel stores added in FY 2019-20
Reduced Customer Complaints
The launch of multiple initiatives like the International roaming journey revamp, billing simplification, elimination of zero price point VAS, self-heal in Decision Tree (DT), Vo-WiFi calling and ducting resolution helped to reduce customer complaints significantly.
Reduction in customer complaints from last year
Catering to customer needs - Efficiently & Intuitively
One Airtel Platform
In another industry first initiative, we introduced ‘One Airtel’ platform in select cities that has helped drive synergies and deliver seamless product experience for our Mobile, Broadband and DTH customers. The platform enabled joint onboarding journey to integrated billing journey with one dedicated customer care number.
Digital Customer Acquisition (eCAF)
A unique digital customer onboarding initiative, that has reduced the activation time to less than 15 minutes, helping acquire customers at scale. The use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology enables the system to automatically fetch customer details by matching live photograph of the customer with the one on the verification document. This ‘green channel’ has ensured minimal validation at the backend, reducing activation cost significantly.
Monthly reduction in activation cost
The broadband digitization initiative has enabled a holistic online journey for broadband customer on-boarding along with payment and e-KYC , thus resulting in superfast installation (within 4 hours). Post the installation, the app empowers the customer to support self-service for essential features like - change plan, pay bill, view data consumption etc.
Selfcare Help and Support
We have enhanced customer experience with digital platforms embedded in airtelThanks app and web platforms that are intuitively built, providing easy resolutions to problems. My Airtel app is now transformed to airtelThanks app, which is engineered to operate at scale, to ensure every customer gets the best experience while browsing. With vernacular support in 10 regional languages, the app allows users to transact with Airtel through all digital pay modes. The backend of the app is built in a microservices framework using in-house codebase and hosted on Airtel data centers to ensure customer data privacy and impeccable experience.
Daily active users on help and support tab
A digitally empowered tool using open source technology, Decision Tree is a platform that has helped to streamline and accelerate support for customer queries and complaints. The platform effectively predicts and diagnoses customer queries and offers resolutions after evaluating relevant information available across various businesses and channels.
Unified Partner Ecosystem
We started with the unification of our partner ecosystem, training and enabling partners to facilitate a greater reach for our products with a single point of contact for customers. The Konnect app was further optimized to improve service requests through digital logins, with reduced documentation and faster approval turn-around-time (TAT).
TAT (reduced from 10 days)
Automation Initiatives to drive efficiencies
The introduction of ‘Mitra App’ among retailers has enabled easy access to feedbacks, escalations, attendance (of sales team) and agent activations on a real-time basis. As ‘geo based’ application, it has helped to resolve issues and improve productivity.
For our sales team, we have launched GOAL app that helps to track KPI’s, measure performance and provide real-time feedback along with offering faster, insightful and accurate real-time sales data for decision making.
With big data analytics, RAPU technology enables our partners (distributors, retailers and prepaid sales team) to offer customers with near real time and contextual offers.
Our COVID-19 response
During the unprecedented times of COVID-19 and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, Airtel empowered its customers with recharge facilities in multiple locations like Bank ATMs, post offices and alternate channels of distribution such as grocery and pharmacy stores.
We ensured brilliant network experience and business continuity for our enterprise customers as network congestion increased in the wake of COVID-19. While Vo-WiFi provided superior indoor calling experience, data boosters enabled uninterrupted services. Postpaid users were also given free access to thousands of e-books on our platform – Juggernaut Books (formerly known as Airtel Books).
COCP Corporate Broadband (work from home)
We launched COCP Corporate Broadband Solution under ‘Work from home’ initiative that enabled enterprises to purchase broadband for their employees. Enterprises were able to enjoy Hassle Free Procurement, ordering from one location and delivery at multilocations across pan-India. This was effectively carried out with a specialized desk to handle the end-toend solution delivery for enterprises.
Help a Friend
We initiated an SMS based service, specifically aimed at non-app customers who were unable to recharge due to lockdown. With this service, customers could simply send an SMS even if their services were discontinued and thus seek help from their friends for recharge.
We extended the pack validity for over 80 Mn prepaid customers belonging to the low-income groups impacted by COVID-19. Additional talk-time of ₹ 10 was also credited to those customers. We also extended incoming call facility for ~30 Mn customers who were unable to avail recharge packs during the lockdown.
During the lockdown, subscribers could easily recharge for friends or acquaintances utilizing Airtel UPI. It not only helped to successfully abide by social distancing norms, but also entitled users to a commission, as a reward for their contribution to the use of digital tools.
Online penetration of recharge during lockdown (up from 35% before the lockdown)
Delivering value to rural customers
Airtel rural distribution coverage has now expanded to over 7,100 distributors and 5 lakh outlets with 10,500 Feet-on-Street Executives (FSEs) and over 1,400 promoters directly involved in the business. More than 80k sites are deployed in rural India, supporting livelihoods of network engineers and site land owners. Shamiyana activities by 3,000 rural distributors also helped to reach rural customers for product and servicerelated issues.
Rural Call Centre
We have established inbound call centers in different parts of the country to communicate with rural customers in local languages. It has not only enabled us to serve around 2.86 Mn customers, but has also generated employment opportunities in these areas.
To understand customer concerns and offer immediate solutions, we have also set up outbound call centers in Siliguri, Guwahati, Kochi, Bhubaneswar and many other places to offer assistance in regional languages.
Timely Advisory for Farming Communities
With a mission to empower Indian farmers with relevant and accurate information about agronomy, horticulture, commodity prices, weather and other related services through mobile phones, IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) was incorporated in 2007 as a joint venture between IFFCO, Bharti Airtel and Star Global Resources. IKSL has successfully reached out to over 3 Mn rural customers.
A dedicated farmer helpline has also been set up to offer reliable services, ensuring sustainable value creation for the country’s farmers.
IFFCO Kisan Mobile App Active Users
Plants covered under urban greens
Samadhan – An initiative by HCL Foundation and IKSL
IFFCO Kisan along with HCL Foundation, started a unique service called 'Samadhan'. This was developed with an aim to engage rural / farming community, to share knowledge and information on various topics of interest through a large scale Structured, Measurable, Articulated, Replicable and Transparent (SMART) plan, utilizing Voice calls and text messages in local languages.
Samadhan subscribers enrolled
Growing footprints – near and far
Airtel has significantly grown its presence across the country with an extensive network of retailers, channel partners and franchises.
Feet-on-Street Executives (FSEs)
Own retail stores
Scaling-up Engagement with Retailers and Distributors
We have undertaken a series of initiatives and campaigns under the aegis of ‘Ratna Engagement’ programs for our distributors, FSEs and retailers to create a stronger bond with them.
Airtel Child Scholarship
This program recognizes academically meritorious children of Airtel Distributors & Navratna Retailers, offering them scholarships and school kits. Through this program, we have rewarded kids of 12,000 distributors and Navratna retailers in the last six years.
Airtel Ki Laadli
Through this initiative, 1,500 girls were awarded Hero Bicycles. It motivated them to achieve their dreams and lead empowered lives.
Airtel Hero Award
The dedication of our frontline workforce during the pandemic was truly commendable and inspirational. We at Airtel, recognized their efforts, awarding 1,000 top-performing FSEs on a pan-India basis.
DTH Dost Program
With an aim to widen our DTH market, we adopted an inclusive approach to empower our Rural Sales Fraternity, wherein Freelancer technicians (electricians) and other workers were encouraged to sell and install new DTH connections at customer premises. In FY 2019-20, there were 4,099 Active DOST executives across the country, engaged and empowered to drive new DTH activations.
Insurance for rural retailers
We have introduced the Navratna program for rural outlet shop owners, offering additional coverage for damage due to fire, natural calamity and burglary. For instances of accidental death and permanent liability also, an additional coverage was offered.
Paid for over 85 claims in FY 2019-20
Partnering with Government for Smarter Solutions
At Airtel, we are partnering with communities and regulators such as the judiciary, law enforcement, municipal corporation, civil supplies, health centres, transport authorities, and utility service providers to enable digital empowerment. It is our constant endeavour to co-create value for the community at large by offering solutions that can enable these communities to work more efficiently. As cities now move towards mass adoption of connected technologies and applications, bringing the next wave of digitisation is imperative. Airtel’s digital solutions have rightly helped envisage a smart city, providing multiple smart solutions for a better tomorrow.
Faridabad Smart City Project
We designed and deployed a futureready high capacity network and range of connectivity solutions to build a ‘digitally enabled’ Faridabad city. Some of the smart solutions and e-governance services introduced were:
- Intelligent Traffic Management System.
- Intelligent Car Parking System.
- Smart signage at auto and taxi stands.
- Public Bike Sharing System and SkyWalkways.
- Smart Civic infrastructure with SCADA based monitoring of flow, Automated Online water quality.
- Analysing the city wide data at the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A high-speed connectivity framework comprising of 885 Points of Presence (PoP) across the state of Uttar Pradesh, has been designed to provide secure delivery of Government services to citizens over a Closed User Group Network. Our network now digitally connects all State Headquarters, District Headquarters, Block Headquarters & Tehsil Headquarters across UP and empowers them to deliver G2G as well as G2C services. Airtel's infrastructure is enabling government services to citizens even in outlying rural areas. These include:
- Filing of applications for pension and financial aid.
- Registration for employment.
- Issuance of birth and death certificates.
- Application for new/renewal of ration cards etc. along with laying a robust foundation for building Smart Cities across the State.
We partnered with authorities to offer Productivity Applications and Solutions to access data on mobile through mTax, mCourt & Spot Billing. These solutions led to better monitoring and management, enabling real time service delivery updates. We also developed Tracking Applications, for Asset/ Vehicle movement, People, Inventory and Video surveillance. Airtel’s M2M and Biometric Applications also offered better monitoring facilities.
We partnered with government authorities to provide mobile application for citizens’ self-service, offering 24*7 help for public services. To increase transparency in government processes, we also developed a mobile workflow automation solution to allocate tasks and responsibilities.
Public Service Delivery
Airtel continues to support the government with efficient IVR Solutions that offer access to Law & Order Services, Government Hospitals, PF & Pension data and information regarding various courses offered by government schools and colleges.
Cloud Services with Data Security
Airtel has facilitated setting up of State Data Center Business Continuity and Disaster recovery site on cloud infrastructure. It involved design, development, delivery, configuration, implementation, testing, data migration, commissioning and operations & maintenance of the site. It was designed to enable seamless migration of traffic to the disaster recovery site without any data loss, in the event of an operational failure at the State Data Center.
Ensuring connectivity amidst crisis
Airtel remained at the forefront in providing essential telecom services in times of Covid - 19 crisis. We leveraged our high network infrastructure at the Integarted Command and Control Center (ICCC) for analysing city wide data. Apart from telecom services, we enabled many G2C & G2G services for several state and central government authorities in their fight against the pandemic.
Airtel Business has catered to the following G2C services:
- Enabled audio conferencing and video conferencing solutions for Finance and I&B Ministry.
- Ensured video conferencing services for Chief Ministers.
- Provided voice services for COVID-19 Helplines in many states.
- Offered high volume SMS and Outbound dialling services to public sector undertakings.
Airtel has also been extremely responsive to G2G Services:
- Provisioning high speed infrastructure / bandwidth in certain states for their State Data Centers / Integrated Command and Control Centers, enabling seamless data analysis for Covid–19 activities.
- Delivering high capacity network connectivity in less than 48 hrs in many state operated COVID-19 War rooms.
- Providing work from home solution devices to government officials in essential services (Police/ Health/ Power etc).
Enduring relations with Suppliers
Our suppliers form an integral part of our long-term sustainability strategy. To promote a culture of innovation and integrity, we work with suppliers who follow sustainable business practices and are aligned with our responsible procurement policy. Airtel also interacts with its suppliers through a one stop online portal for end-to-end partner management services – Partner World.
At Airtel, the contribution of investors in the growth of the Company is deeply valued. We have always remained committed to create longterm sustainable value for all our shareholders and the recent stock price performance is a testament of the same. Having said that, the FY 2019-20 once again witnessed strong investors’ trust in our capabilities and potential. During the year, we successfully closed USD 3.6 Bn rights issue and also received an overwhelming response to our USD 3 Bn fund raise in January, 2020. Of the total, USD 2 Bn was raised through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) and USD 1 Bn via Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs). The transaction was the largest dual tranche Equity and FCCB offering ever in Asia-Pacific, the largest QIP by a private sector issuer ever in India and the largest FCCB offering from an India issuer in the last 12 years. The fund raising in January, 2020 was subscribed multiple times and received interest from a diversified investor base including Global long-only funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Domestic Mutual Funds, Multi-strategy Funds and Insurance Companies. These fund raises were used to strengthen the balance sheet and create flexibility for any future investments.
Investor complaints received and resolved in FY 2019-20
Ensuring Greater Good through Bharti Foundation
As the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, Bharti Foundation was set up in the year 2000, with an aim to implement and support programs in primary, secondary, and higher education as well as to foster initiatives related to health and sanitation. Airtel’s social and relationship capital is nurtured around its CSR efforts, undertaken in partnership with communities, government primary schools, students, youth, and NGOs. The basis of this association stems from a common vision to achieve greater good for the society and contributing towards the nation’s productivity by finding ways to collaborate, expand and utilise resources in an optimum manner. Through its interventions and activities, the Foundation ensures social value creation, reflecting its continuous endeavour to benefit society at large.
Students impacted since inception