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How Lark and Ahadi Wireless Keep 45,000 Nairobi Households Connected
Lark has helped Ahadi Wireless streamline workflows, improve customer satisfaction, and build a stronger community by connecting employees. The success of their partnership highlights the value of collaborative tools in enhancing business operations.
"Our daily operations have been transformed since we started using Lark. It's more than just a communication tool; it's an all-in-one platform that has streamlined our workflows and made collaboration seamless. Lark is now an indispensable part of our work routine."
Ahadi Wireless Limited, through its brand name Konnect, aims to provide fast, affordable and unlimited internet access to residents living in underserved communities of Kenya. The company has successfully amassed over 500,000 broadband users, connecting over 45,000 households in 8 densely populated communities in Nairobi, which has a combined population of 1.2 million.
In the heart of Nairobi's Githurai 44 township lies an unlikely IT hub, run by Ahadi Wireless, a tech startup with a unique and ambitious mission. Despite being considered a no-go zone for many, Ahadi Wireless has been able to successfully establish itself in the digitally underserved community and provide affordable internet services to its residents.
Through their three Konnect Hubs, Ahadi Wireless is building an expanded Wi-Fi broadband network to bridge the digital divide in the community and beyond. Their success story is a testament to the power of innovation and perseverance, and their choice to use Lark as their collaboration tool has been a key factor in their growth and success.
The Challenge & Solution
Inefficient information flow due to application toggling.
Technical and sales teams, who make up the majority of the taskforce, struggle to work on-the-go.
Cumbersome processes cause delays in reaching customers, lowering satisfaction level.
Challenges in engaging employees due to a decentralized HQ and multiple teams in different communities.
From Fragmented Systems to All-In-One Collaboration Solution
Ahadi Wireless, like any other business, encountered a myriad of challenges that hindered their operations and progress. One of their major struggles was managing their team's collaboration efforts using multiple tools, which caused inefficiencies and delays in their work. Despite trying collaboration platforms like Basecamp, they still faced significant obstacles due to the lack of suitable chat tools for corporate communication. They then turned to Zoho Cliq as an alternative, which offered more of the necessary components such as mail and project management in one application. However, as the team grew larger, navigating the accumulated information in Zoho Cliq became a daunting task.
Fortunately, their search for the ideal communication and collaboration platform led them to discover Lark, a solution that catered to all their needs by integrating all the essential features into one platform. This discovery proved to be a game-changer for Ahadi Wireless, making their work more efficient, and saving them time and effort.
"Lark has many features that can cater to the different needs of various clients and companies," said Tiger Zhou, CEO of Ahadi Wireless.
"For us, it is currently a productivity tool, but we know there are features that we can explore later on."
One Tool For Back Office to Frontline: Hire Anywhere, Work Anytime with Lark
As Ahadi Wireless expanded its operations, it encountered a major hurdle in the mobility of its employees. With majority of them working as installers and door-to-door salespeople, carrying laptops while on the move proved impractical. Also, given the company's mission to provide affordable internet services to underserved communities in Nairobi at a fraction of the market rate, Lark is a more viable solution.
This move not only ensured effective communication and collaboration but also created job opportunities for individuals in the communities they served, including women. Another advantage was that most of the employees were young and already familiar with chat tools like WhatsApp, making it easy for them to adopt Lark as a work tool.
"With Lark, anyone with a phone and internet can be hired by Ahadi Wireless and our employees can communicate with anyone from any community, regardless of their physical location" - Johnstone, Director of Sales
Currently, Ahadi Wireless provides its affordable internet services to eight large communities across Nairobi, which span an area of at least 30km². As a result, the company operates on a virtual basis, with everyone practically working on the app. Managing issues on the ground can sometimes be a challenge, particularly when the manager or team leader cannot be present immediately on-site.
To overcome this hurdle, the team relies on Lark meetings to collaboratively solve problems as if a senior manager were present and working alongside them, despite not being physically present. This feature has proven invaluable, enhancing team communication and productivity while ensuring that customer issues are addressed promptly.
Being on the move often also means incurring expenses for the team. Given that the majority of the team leads travel on motorbikes to the communities they serve, fuel expenses are a significant part of their work-related costs.
Lark's Approval feature allows the employees to easily submit their fuel requests, and the admin manager can quickly review, approve, and reimburse the expenses via M-Pesa. This feature has made expense management a breeze for the team, allowing them to focus on providing excellent service to their clients without worrying about administrative tasks.
"Lark serves as a reliable and indispensable assistant, as we rely on it daily for various tasks" - Masira, Senior Engineering Lead
From Cumbersome Processes to Happy Customers: Automated, Fast Workflows
Satisfied customers also go beyond the installation process. With Lark, Ahadi Wireless could deliver comprehensive end-to-end customer service–starting from registration to aftersales support.
For instance, Ahadi Wireless requires users to generate a one-time code each time they complete a login, registration, or make a payment to ensure security. However, if the message fails to deliver from the company's system, customers are prompted to call the sales team for inquiries, which can be a slow process.
To address this issue, Ahadi Wireless utilized Lark's ability to create new processes within the application and developed a bot that sales teams can use to request an SMS code. The bot links to their own database to check and automatically respond with the correct code, reducing response time and preventing database overload.
With Lark, customers no longer need to wait for sales representatives to manually search for their one-time codes for every login or payment request, resulting in a significant decrease in inquiries. Moreover, the limited access to customer data ensures that sensitive information remains secure within a selected few.
"We can create multiple bots for specific internal needs through the AI bot system, which is a great feature of Lark." - Maina, DevOps Team Leader
And if there are any issues post-installation, the clients would usually contact their sales representative, who would then forward their request to the technical team in India previously. Unfortunately, this process resulted in many messages being lost in transit, leading to unresolved issues. Although the company tried to use Zendesk as a helpdesk solution, it was not effective as most of the seats were given to the customer support team rather than actual technical staff to solve problems. The approach was time-consuming, and requests were often directed to the wrong department, causing further delays.
To overcome this challenge, Ahadi Wireless developed a mobile application and integrated it with Lark. When a customer submits an issue, it generates a problem ticket and links to the appropriate chat group. The application also determines the user's community by detecting their IP address. The problem then goes to the right community group, where staff can address the client's concerns directly. This Lark group would also comprise of a technical support team, sales team, and customer service team, allowing anyone to respond to the problem promptly.
By using this approach, customers receive instant responses and solutions, and all messages are recorded in the company's database. The accumulated data can even be used to develop an AI or automated response system later on.
From Dispersed to Connected Teams: Community and Culture Building
Ahadi Wireless's decentralized structure has made it easy for their customers to get timely assistance, but there are some pain points associated with it, such as the challenge of connecting with employees and building a company culture.
To address this issue, the founder of the company has come up with several innovative solutions that leverage Lark's features. For instance, bi-weekly sessions called 'Roundtable with Kaka Tiger' are hosted on Lark where employees can participate and discuss various topics related to company culture and personal development. This approach not only helps build a sense of community and belonging among the team members but also provides potential hires with a glimpse of the company culture and values, making it more attractive to join Ahadi Wireless.
Furthermore, an inspiration group was created on Lark to share ideas, videos, and images that serve as a morale booster for employees. This group helps keep the team members engaged and motivated, despite being geographically dispersed across the country. By leveraging Lark's features in this way, Ahadi Wireless has been able to create a strong sense of community and foster a positive work culture, even in a decentralized work environment.
"Lark fosters an inclusive work environment where everyone can collaborate. We utilize groups for a variety of purposes, such as brainstorming, process improvement, and issue resolution. Lark enables and enhances this type of company culture. In a traditional African context, Lark exposes employees to a positive professional environment, and we have noticed significant improvements in employee behavior and performance over time." - Muriithi, General Operation Manager
Ahadi Wireless' Commitment to People and Connectivity
In conclusion, Ahadi Wireless recognizes that connectivity and people are at the heart of their business operations. The adoption of Lark has proven to be a significant step in keeping their employees connected while also enhancing their end-to-end processes to improve customer satisfaction. The company's success in addressing both internal and external challenges with the help of Lark highlights the value of collaborative tools in streamlining workflow and providing top-notch customer support. Ahadi Wireless appreciates the continuous improvement of Lark through user feedback and updates, and sees the potential for further growth and versatility in their service offerings. With Lark, Ahadi Wireless is poised to expand beyond its current IT services and continue to provide valuable services to its communities.
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