Research highlights problems in growing enterprise business – focus on value.

Price, quality and service are important, says Analysys Mason, but it’s not enough. Too many operators are focusing on basic hygiene factors and are failing to adequately address the needs of enterprise and SME customers. Continuing to do so risks growing future churn – they need to do more to increase perceived value and deliver positive, measurable benefits to their users. That means addressing the nature of services offered.

For most operators, enterprise and SME markets have become key elements of their strategic focus. Despite this, analysts Analysys Mason recently stated that “telecoms operators are doing a poor job of serving the enterprise market, and particularly so for SMEs.”

This comment is based on a number of surveys carried out by Analysys Mason with enterprise and SME companies, across several country markets. It makes for dispiriting reading. Of course, there are multiple factors that can explain this – Analysys Mason identified three key axes (price, network coverage and customer service) but our experience suggests there’s more to the picture than this.

For example, while price sensitivity may matter to smaller organisations as Analysys Mason noted, it’s not necessarily so important for larger companies. Of course, coverage and service matter too, but these factors alone cannot account for the observed increase in the propensity to churn to a rival. They are the foundation of a compelling offer, but while necessary, they are not in themselves sufficient to create stronger bonds, increase loyalty and make a real impact on churn.

What’s missing from this analysis is discussion of the service. If the service doesn’t go beyond voice or connectivity, for example, then there’s little differentiation that can be achieved and, from the perspective of the customer, little additional value. One such service is much like another – a commodity that can be obtained elsewhere, perhaps a little cheaper, perhaps with a little more quality, but a commodity all the same and one which is also subject to variability. Coverage in one aware may be good, in another less satisfactory, but this can change through time, eliminating any advantage afforded by a different provider.

We think value matters. If the enterprise or SME offer is simply based on connectivity, service and price, then if any of these factors is impaired, then customers will be much more likely to churn than otherwise. But if instead operators make a more compelling offer to their users that actually helps their businesses and delivers performance enhancements, the additional value this brings makes the decision harder. In fact, the more capabilities and utility available, the more useful a service becomes and the more it delivers to the user, which can help to boost satisfaction and reduce the impact of obvious factors such as quality and price. It helps to spread the risk, while boosting the relationship between provider and customer.

This doesn’t mean that quality can be ignored – in fact, it’s imperative to offer high quality coverage and performance. Nor too can price – people expect to get what they pay for. But, if they are getting something that offers more, then with these basic factors in place, the service itself can become a differentiator.

That’s why operators that have chosen to deliver solutions that offer productivity and efficiency gains to their users, such as Mobile Unified Communications, Mobile Call Recording, Mobile VPN and more, have been able to grow, not just defend their enterprise businesses. Hygiene factors are important, but once basic needs are satisfied, then users need more. Sorting out service, ensuring quality and providing fair pricing are important, but operators have to invest in enhancing their service offers if they want to build their businesses. Want to know more? Talk to Gintel!

SME, Mobile UC, SME Market, Mobile call recording, Mobile VPN

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