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The South Africa based pay-TV company MultiChoice Group is making headlines across the continent because of its impending move to lay off 2,000 employees. This announcement was made last Friday, as the company seeks to redesign its customer care services.

Yes, Automation is rendering people jobless while driving efficiency up

MultiChoice, which for years has enjoyed near rock-star status in the pay-TV market across Africa, but since 2016 – when Netflix extended its reach further across the world, has had to compete with other premium TV content providers.

The competition is getting hot, and its competitors driving on cutting edge technology, are considered more efficient that MultiChoice offering on DStv. A move that prompted the company to launch the streaming service Showmax.

Even with Showmax, MultiChoice has had to go back to the drawing board and now forced to part ways with 2,194 staffs. All of whom are workers within its customer call centers and walk-in centers in South Africa.

This has not been an easy decision to make but, in a business driven by advancing technologies, we must continue to drive efficiencies yet be agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs,” said Calvo Mawela, the CEO of MultiChoice Group.

We must act decisively to align with the change in customer behavior and competition from over-the-top services…. If we don’t reposition now, we run the risk of being completely misaligned and we put everyone’s jobs at risk.”

In the last three years, the number of phone calls, emails, and walk-ins from customers to MultiChoice customer care desks has dropped immensely. As customers find self-service digital channels by MultiChoice sufficient for most of their needs. Currently, as much as 70% of MultiChoice customer support is done on digital channels.

MultiChoice has, therefore, found itself in a situation where it is relying more “on technology than people.” The company will also be making new roles available to the multi-skilled employees who will be retained and have the “expertise, skills, and technological prowess to enhance the customer experience.”

MultiChoic will continue offering voluntary severance packages, financial planning, and wellness support. In addition to continuing to pay studies of the bursary, it is funding to employees among others.

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