By Jed Sexton, BSc Economics
Going into our third week at Time.com. our group felt at home in Kuala Lumpur, with as we fully immersed ourselves into the local culture. The week got off to the perfect start with TIME.com hosting their annual ‘Open House’ which turns out was ideal opportunity to consume vast quantities of delicious Malay cuisine, something I personally took full advantage of.
Selling broadband in down town Kuala Lumpur
Tuesday morning was back to business, with the introduction to the consumer division of sales given by team leader Wilson. He explained to us the methods and techniques used to sell broadband to consumers as well as further detailing the packages sold by TIME dotCom. I was particularly impressed with how TIME turned their perceived limitations into unique selling points for their customers. For instance, unlike their competitors, they do not offer any content alongside their broadband packages. Although surprising at first, it was explained to us that this was in fact a marketing strategy used to draw attention to the quality of their broadband service itself without dressing it up with added bonuses, in order to appeal to their more ‘techy’ target audience.
The afternoon was designed to put our learning to the test with the chance to actually sell packages to local consumers, with the added incentive of commission for any sales made. Eighty per cent of TIME’s consumer revenue comes from face-to-face dealers rather than online subscriptions, suggesting that Malaysian people are less keen to sign up using the internet than in the UK. We were instructed to arrive at Kuala Lumpur (KL) Traders Square where we would be met by the TIME dealers, where we would observe their sales methods before trying ourselves. The dealer ‘team’ was a man sitting behind a stall under the unmissable magenta colour of a TIME dotCom umbrella but we still picked up some useful selling tips. Unfortunately, we were not able to make any sales; however, this was somewhat down to the lack of passers-by in the sweltering heat.
The evening delivered one of the highlights of the trip for me, with a visit to South Sea Seafood restaurant just west of KL to celebrate fellow intern Echo’s birthday. It was unlike any establishment I had been to before, where the fish menu was in fact a series of fish tanks where you could select your dinner from the living creatures within them (perhaps not for the faint hearted).
Fibre optic cable installation
Wednesday offered the opportunity to observe the installation of fibre optic directly to a consumer. We saw how the installation teams pulls the fibre cable from the main distribution frame to the customers’ apartment. Since the building was not already fiberized it took more time than a newer building perhaps where fibre would have been installed during construction, seeing as fibre became the recognised practise in around 2013.
Overall our time with the consumer division gave us a good insight as to how TIME managed their customers, which seemed to be more personable than in the UK.