Leaders Forum: Vodafone

Sam Faire

Vodafone Australia, National Business Manager – Prepaid

What do you most enjoy about convenience and what is one challenge you’d like to see addressed in the industry?

The convenience industry is extremely versatile and innovative and has dramatically changed over the years, from being primarily service stations to now being a one-stop-shop where you can find almost anything you need. Consistent product innovation and great offers for consumers are posing a real threat to the traditional grocery stores and QSRs.

What I enjoy most about this industry is that no two days are ever the same. We work together with category managers to achieve joint goals and think outside the box to grow our businesses in an ever-changing industry – whether it’s new product ranging or utilising new platforms to reach our customers.

According to the 2019 AACS State of Industry Report, the Communications category is ranked fifth overall, bringing in $244m worth of revenue annually. Consumers will always need Telco products and there are big opportunities for growth.

Highlight one achievement at Vodafone you’re particularly proud of in the last 12 months.

Over the past 12 months the team has done a huge amount of work on channel efficiencies, with a focus on partnerships. The Prepaid Team supports an extremely large and diverse retail and distribution footprint with 28,000 points of presence. This takes a huge amount of support, collaboration, planning and communication for all involved. It simply couldn’t be done without the support of all the retailer, distribution and partners across Australia.

So, what achievement am I most proud of …building and having an amazing team of people that value each other and the partners we work with.

How has Vodafone adapted to the evolving challenges of COVID-19?

Like a lot of organisations across the world, Vodafone implemented a work from home policy early on, building on the existing flexible working policy for employees in state offices. Vodafone worked closely with state governments to ensure retail staff were supported and safe during the evolving situation.  IT support solutions enabled the new working environment, maximising communication, collaboration and productivity. Vodafone has also rolled out a large amount of employee support initiatives with a strong focus on health and wellbeing.

We have launched several initiatives to support our customers to date, such as:

  • A temporary $10 per month ‘Stay Connected Cap Plan’ to provide relief to customers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 impacts.
  • Plans for registered health practitioners to receive a two-month credit on their monthly Postpaid access fee or Prepaid recharge.
  • We didn’t charge any late payment fees for overdue accounts to support our customers from March 26 until June 30, 2020.
  • Additional support for customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • Data overage cost has been reduced to $5/GB in Australia.
  • nbn™ Education Assistance.
  • Unlimited standard national calls.
  • Free access to key government and health websites.

How do you envision the next six months for convenience?

Due to the circumstances the world finds itself in, I believe we will see more changes than ever in the next six-12 months with consumers dramatically changing their shopping behaviour. I think the key to success will be how well both retailers and suppliers adapt to the ‘new normal’ and a reliance on ‘convenience’ with consumers spending less time in store and adhering to social distancing measures. Whether it’s online shopping or food on-the-go, convenience for consumers will be more important than ever. 

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