The FINANCIAL — The appearance of new informational call centres on the Georgian market hasn’t reduced the prices on their services. Information at 08 or 09 costs minimum 50 tetri (30 cents) and maximum GEL 1.50, while customers interviewed by The FINANCIAL say the highest price they want to pay for public information is 10 Tetri (6 cents) per piece of information.
“In my view prices of Georgian informational centres are very high,” Mikheil Kireulishvili, Director of Informational company Yellow Pages, told The FINANCIAL.
“09 informational centre has been the main player for a long time on the local market. This company had a good chance to keep their loyal clients. After the appearance of other competitive informational organizations in Georgia, 09 has not been able to lead the situation on the market anymore.”
But the situation has changed dramatically as the director of 09 left the company and established a new service centre with former workers at 09 holding the same views.
“At 08, 100% of employees are ex-workers of 09,” Natia Gochitashvili, Assistant of the Director of company 08, told The FINANCIAL.
“Most of the workers have left the company because of their different views on business development,” Gochitashvili, employed in the 09 information base correction department.
She says there was no conflict between members of 09’s management. But Inga Kurtskhalia, Deputy Director of 09 says there might have been conflict. “But I’m not sure as I was not working at 09 when the Director left the company,” Kurtskhalia says.
The FINANCIAL failed to contact the new Director of 09. The information that we requested and were charged 95 tetri for, is that: “The name of the Director is Mamuka Monavardisashvili. He can be contacted via operator only”. While calling the given number on a Saturday there was no answer.
“One of the main reasons why most of 09’s workers left the company was the high prices offered to customers. It was clear that on the Georgian informational market demand for a different informational company would increase. We thought that it was possible to sell the information at lower prices,” Gochitashvili declares.
“Prices of information are conditioned by the price of the information researched by our company. For physical persons it costs 0.97 tetri (58 cents), for juridical persons GEL 1.30. Answering substandard questions that require additional research by using different informational sources costs GEL 1.5,” Inga Kurtskhalia, Deputy Director of Company 09, says.
“Prices of every kind of information at our company are the same. For juridical organizations it is 70 tetri (42 cents), for physical persons 50 tetri (30 cents). For GSM subscribers it costs 60 tetri (36 cents). Our prices are cheaper than our competitor company 09’s prices,” Natia Gochitashvili, Assistant of the Director of company 08, notes.
Kireulishvili of Yellow Pages says it was a bad decision of 09 to raise prices on information.
“You may work at a low tariff but you keep customers’ loyalty,” Kireulishvili says.
Yellow Pages is one of the competitors of 08 and 09 but the company’s Director says they aren’t concentrated on advertising their call centre. “The 913-913 informational centre will be focused on Yellow Pages consumers,” the Director claims.
“The 913-913 centre has been operating for about 5-6 month. Information is free of charge. People who have no possibility to get information on the internet will be able to get information from our call centre. The amount of calls isn’t really big at the moment; we receive about 200-300 phone calls per day. Apart from 09 we have the numbers of official organizations and not physical persons. We have 2 operators,” Kireulishvili says.
Inga Kurtskhalia, of 09, says Yellow Pages is their main competitor. “I think Yellow Pages is working in quite an effective way,” she said.
“Yellow Pages started its work in 2000. On the Georgian Informational business market there was a free niche and so we decided to start woeking. We have 5,000 visitors per day on our website. Yellow Pages also has its reference book which costs GEL 18 to 25. 8,000 reference books are published annually. A CD version of Yellow Pages information is also available to our customers. Annual turnover of Yellow pages is GEL 130-140,000,” Kireulishvili declares.
Kireulishvili thinks that the competitive environment on the informational market will affect informational centres’ prices and make them more stable.
“The paradox was that 09 informational centre started raising prices while competing companies started appearing on the local market. I can’t explain why 09 raised prices but I think it may have been due to a decreasing number of clients. 08 and other informational companies have reduced the amount of 09’s customers,” Kireulishvili says.
“We have information about why our competitors charge double sometimes, but we will abstain from revealing these reasons. We think that this issue should be discussed by corresponding and competent authorities,” Natia Gochitashvili notes.
“As well as concrete informational service, 08 offers Calling for a Taxi, Calling for Auto Evacuators, and reservation of cinema and theatre tickets,” Gochitashvili, 08, declares.
“As additional services, informational centre 09 has Calling for a Taxi, and a Public Register centre service which gives out Public Register information. A hotline for refugees from the Samachablo region is also available at our call centre,” Inga Kurtskhalia says.
“Quality service demands adequate costs. Users of our service are those who are interested in the quality of information and for whom time is valuable,” Kurtskhalia notes.
Many of the customers interviewed by The FINANCIAL complained about outdated or incorrect information received from call centre 09. They said that while paying such high rates, information should be updated very often by the centre. This was used by 08 in their PR campaign. The radio clip aired by 08 recently tells a short story of a customer who is calling an unknown call centre and is charged twice as much for the same information.
“Price of information is conditioned by those expenses which informational centre 09 is charged in getting the information. We buy some information from different companies. At 09 centre the information is accumulated and then customers are able to get the right information. 09 is working 24 hours and 11,000 customers use our services daily,” Kurtshalia declares.
“Over 4 months more than 40 staff workers worked on the creation of an informational base. Employees who had years of experience working at 09 are today now employees of 08 centres. In a very short period we have managed to create a much better informational centre than 09,” Gochitashvili says.
“We offer better and more wide-ranging service to our customers than our competitors. We use Plantronics brand headphones which cost about USD 400 each,” Gochitashvili notes.
Both 08 and 09 are planning to introduce novelties in their companies but they refuse to reveal any innovations yet.
“Our company had no public presentation until now, so 90% of society has no information about our services. We are going to improve the service and add some new services. We don’t want to talk about the novelties until the presentation though,” Gochitashvili declares.
“09 plans to add some new services in the nearest future but we are not going to talk about it because we want to make a surprise for our customers,” Kurtskhalia says.
Written By Tako Khelaia