Give SMEs what they want: single number solutions and mobility

Market insight is essential to help define product offers. Recent research shows that SME users have a clear desire to have single number services and to use mobiles as the primary device. MNOs and MVNOs should use the evidence to define and launch services that meet these needs.

MNOs and MVNOs that are considering their service portfolio need to pay attention to the needs of their customers. This might seem obvious, but an understanding of your customers’ needs is fundamental. There’s no point in offering a service if there is no existing or potential audience for it. All of which makes perfect sense. But what makes less sense is the lack or limited availability of certain services, for which there is proven and quantifiable demand.

Recent research by telecom comparison agency Software Advice, a Gartner company, provides insight into what SME (or SMB, if you prefer) customers actually want from business communications systems – in particular, the research identifies some interesting attitudes to Unified Communications (UC).

Essentially, small business owners and employees are very attracted to hosted UC solutions. Increased mobility and remote working have intensified this desire. According to the research, 90% of businesses surveyed did not use a single number service across their devices. Instead, they maintain multiple numbers, which can present a confusing image and identity to customers. A single number, on the other hand, provides an efficient answer to the question “which number shall I use to call Bob?” Nearly 30% of businesses said they would like to use such a service – which represents hundreds of thousands, if not millions of potential customers.

A single number solution is really quite simple – but the value of such a service to its users is immense. In no particular order, it delivers a slew of benefits:

  • No missed calls – incoming calls are routed to all or selected devices
  • Increased reachability – calls are delivered to people, not to a single device
  • No confusion for people who wish to reach a business. They just dial the number given and don’t have to think about anything else
  • Provides and promotes a more professional, coherent corporate identity
  • Creates a positive image

Adoption of single number services in SMEs

Adoption of single number services in SMEs. Source: Software Advice, 2014

When combined with a single voicemail for each number and a contact list shared across devices, still more benefits are obtained. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the research was the nugget that the majority of SME business owners and employees use their personal mobile phone for work. This means that there is a clear preference for the use of mobile devices among SME users.

Types of phone used for work

Types of phone used for work. Source: Software Advice, 2014

In essence, then, SMEs want two things: they want a single number solution AND they want to use their mobiles. We have clear, quantifiable indications about what a distinct community of users actually wants. The puzzle is that fewer companies are acting on this market insight and taking action.

So why not deliver it? Why not launch services that provide both a single identity and mobility to a willing – eager – target market? This is what Dipper has done, what Network Norway has done and what many of our other customers in Europe, Asia and North America are doing. The message is clear. Don’t guess. Understand your market. Once you have done so, deliver a solution.

Well, perhaps we can help. Our solutions power single number and call management services for millions of subscribers. Why not get in touch to see how we can help you deliver a complete solution, optimised for your market and target customers?

SME, UC, Unified Communications, MVNO, MNO, Mobility UC, Single Number Services, Single Number solution, SMB

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