Customer service matters for companies of all sizes – new survey highlights link with business customer retention and churn reduction.

Recent research highlights the importance of customer service for business customers, across all segments. With a clear link between satisfaction and retention, it makes sense to address service as a key strategic issue. In particular, it can make a difference to SMEs, who are more easily influenced by price than their larger enterprise peers.

Most service providers today are challenged by the issue of customer service across all of their business units. The media is happy to give coverage to stories of poor service that affects consumers but less attention has been given to reports of service issues for business customers. A recent survey by Analysys Mason (AM) provides insight that should make service providers with an active interest in enterprise business take note.

In particular, the report highlights a strong link between dissatisfaction and churn. According the results, a 10-point increase in NPS could lead to a reduction in intended churn of 1.6%. While that’s likely to prove to be of keen interest to service providers in general, the report goes on to note that there are a number of factors that drive churn but that they differ between SMEs and larger enterprises.

For mobile services, AM found that customer service was the top factor driving churn in larger enterprises, followed by price, whereas the two factors were reversed in importance for SMEs. Price was recognised as being more important among SMEs, which may be due to the historic lack of attention mobile providers have paid to their needs.

This points to a number of important conclusions. First, it’s possible for mobile service providers to compete on something other than price when it comes to SMEs. Historically, it’s easy to see that their attention has been occupied more by larger businesses and organisations, which is why representatives from this segment seem to be more concerned about customer service than price. But, turning that around, there’s clearly scope for providers to use better service as a platform on which to drive greater success and loyalty among SME customers. By prioritising service, they can reduce the importance of price and drive better retention.

We’ve seen this in practice, with some of our customers, such as Dipper, that focus exclusively on SMEs showing the way to deliver better service. Their efforts win industry recognition. If the connection between service and retention identified by AM is correct, then this points to a recipe for greater success and churn reduction, even among highly competitive markets in which price is a major factor.

As a result, it’s clear that it is possible both to give better service to SMEs and to use this as a way to enhance customer satisfaction, boosting retention rates. For too long, providers have focused on the needs of the many to the detriment of the few, but that situation is no longer tenable. If they want to succeed, mobile service providers need to consider how to give better service to all of their business customers, not just the largest organisations – because doing so delivers rewards.

Of course, customer service also depends on the experienced delivered by the provider. That’s where we come in. If you want to know how to deliver the best experience to boost customer service, why not get in touch?

SME, Churn, Customer Retention

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