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Zain KSA aims for top customer experience in Saudi Arabia

Read about Zain KSA’s business, cultural and digital transformation where customer centricity and digital first are core principles and their goal is to have the best customer experience in the Kingdom.

21 Jun 2021
Zain KSA aims for top customer experience in Saudi Arabia

Zain KSA aims for top customer experience in Saudi Arabia

Who: Zain, Saudi Arabia

What: Zain KSA was first to launch 5G in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in October 2019. The operator is also in the process of business, cultural and digital transformation where customer centricity and digital first are core principles. Zain KSA’s goal is to have the best customer experience (CX) and to become the digital service provider of choice in the Kingdom.


  • By putting data-driven decision-making at the core of CX and corporate culture
  • By mapping customer journeys using the TM Forum CX lifecycle model
  • By using big data analytics to identify root cause issues in CX and solve underlying problems
  • By improving customer communications and interactions to improve key metrics


  • 19% fewer bill disputes
  • 35% reduction in complaints about service activation
  • 25% fewer complaints regarding lack of access to data services
  • 73% reduction in calls relating to reconnection after payment
  • 50% reduction in time to activate mobile services

In Oct 2019, Zain KSA launched the largest 5G network in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the 3rd largest 5G network in the world. Today, the network includes more than 4,700 sites, spread across 50 cities of the Kingdom, making up 85% of the kingdom’s major cities. Additionally, Zain KSA has been recognized by global observers for its 5G geographic spread and ultra-fast speed achieved and awarded with top ratings for both mobile and fixed broadband performance.

Zain KSA recognized that to build on its reputation for network quality and gain ground against its competitors, it needed to create memorable experiences for customers that inspire loyalty. “People remember experiences – and we intentionally create those experiences – they don’t just happen,” says Fabricio Martinez, Head of Customer Experience, Zain KSA. The only way to grow, especially when the primary competition is a much larger incumbent CSP, is to win and retain customers.

Insights reveal root causes of customer complaints

To gain a clear picture of its customers’ journey and experience, Zain KSA had to gain control over the massive flow of information collected during customer interactions. The steady torrent of data coming from customer-facing processes had to be made sense of systematically. Zain KSA’s goal was to use analyzed insights to overcome assumptions about customers and the market to make data-driven, customer-centric decisions.

Zain KSA soon uncovered through customer journey and interaction analyses that spikes in customer complaints were primarily driven by confusion relating to bills and payments. Payment complaints represented 25% of all complaints in Zain KSA’s B2C business. A robust analysis of the complaint calls showed Zain KSA that its customers were also confused about:

  • On-net vs off-net rates
  • Charges for SMS
  • Contract status, credit limits, and service cancellation or re-activation
  • How to address charge disputes

Zain KSA found that bill composition was a root problem behind these complaints. It led to more calls, charge disputes, and confusion; looking closely at how customers struggled with the bill format, they found:

  • Calculations were confusing as they combined current and previous bill amounts and taxes
  • Singular bill due dates, but no indication of the billing period
  • Cluttered rows of units with all charge types shown, even if zero and irrelevant
  • Technical product names customers could not recognize
  • Limited space to add on services, promotions, or instructions

Analysis also showed that customers were often confused by differences in the time between top up and service activation or reconnection, which could vary from seconds to minutes. Zain KSA realized it needed to change customers’ expectations relating to service activation and availability simply by communicating useful information in proactive, timely and personalized ways.

Pragmatic changes make CX better

Gaining a complete view of the customer experience is a key goal within Zain KSA’s overall digital transformation program. By improving data analysis, customer journey, bills, and customer communications, Zain KSA has tackled its customer-facing challenges head on and in practical ways.

Better data analysis makes for better CX

Zain KSA’s CX insights team historically reported on voice of the customer (VoC) data from surveys, which were useful, but largely transactional and lacking a customer journey context. Zain KSA created a data mart within a business intelligence environment and combined it with new customer journey mapping tools. This solution provided Zain KSA the systematic means it wanted to use data analytics to cross correlate, pinpoint, and address root cause problems in its customer journey and gave context to transactional data like surveys.

Better customer journey makes for better CX

Zain KSA transformed the way it designs and analyzes its customer journey as well. It used the TM Forum Customer Experience Lifecycle Model, with its customer journey mapping tools, to redesign its customer-facing processes, based on the TM Forum Business Process Framework. This gave Zain KSA a mature set of process definitions to draw upon as well as the ability to identify root cause issues in its customer journey while providing context for interactions, surveys and CX measurements.

Better bills make for better CX

To address specific issues with billing confusion and customer complaints, Zain KSA revamped its pre-bill notifications and redesigned its bill format, as detailed in the figure below. Its redesign focused on fundamental issues like simplifying product names; presenting fewer and clearer charges; and including personalized communications relating to products, eligibility and promotions.


Better communications make for better CX

Zain KSA found customers were frequently complaining that they did not have immediate access to services upon payment. The team realized it needed to change the text message it sends with every top up and activation to communicate to customers that services may take up to 10 minutes after payment to become available. This helped change customer expectations, relieve confusion and reduce unnecessary complaint calls.

TM Forum assets contribute to success

The TM Forum Customer Experience Management Lifecycle Model is playing a key role in Zain KSA’s transformation. Zain KSA established new customer-centric processes and methods based on the model to establish a better view of its customer journey and the means to continuously improve them.

The team used the TM Forum Business Process Framework (also called eTOM) to redesign and improve customer-facing business processes, such as proactive customer communication and dispute management. “This approach helped us make better business and technology decisions, but nevertheless we will always start with the customer journey,” says Fabricio Martinez, Head of CX at Zain KSA.

Zain KSA’s teams have also acquired new skills via TM Forum, including how to utilize the Business Process Framework and CEM lifecycle model, to drive business and operational improvements. These new skills complement Zain KSA’s transformational goal of adopting design thinking approaches and using big data analytics to drive business improvements.

Benefits & results

Zain KSA now has greater insight and context into why customers, for example, take certain actions, complain about common but hard-to-detect issues, and learn of new offers. Insights provide feedback to business stakeholders on what is and is not working in the marketplace and for the customer base.

For example, the changes made to Zain KSA’s billing customer journey such as redesigning bill layouts has radically reduced complaints and improved payments and collections, together with improved communications which delivered remarkable results, including:

  • 19% reduction in bill disputes
  • 25% reduction in data service suspensions
  • 73% reduction in complaints relating to failure to reconnect after payment
  • 35% drop in service activation complaints (cutting the payment-to-activation interval in half)

Lessons learned

Shifting to data-driven insights and decision making has helped Zain KSA challenge internal assumptions and overcome common misperceptions. The operator can now pursue data-driven CX improvements that deliver the most accurate and productive enhancements to customer experiences and journeys.

The TM Forum CEM Lifecycle Model and the Business Process Framework have provided Zain KSA with a basis for designing, mapping, and analyzing customer journeys. This critical context provided Zain KSA with the basis for troubleshooting customer interactions and customer journey flows while endlessly pursuing its goal of delivering the best CX in Saudi Arabia.

Finally, Zain KSA is acutely aware of how critical it is to set proper expectations with customers. Smart, proactive communication not only reduces complaints and their associated costs, but also defends the company’s brand by sustaining positive customer perceptions across networks, bills, contact center interactions and more. The sustained attention to an improved CX is what it will take for Zain KSA to achieve its goal of having the best CX journey and 5G offerings in Saudi Arabia.