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14 June 2024

Microservices: Business/Private Line

In this series of blogs, we’re focusing on how to better meet the needs of your small business customer: that potentially lucrative — but all too often overlooked — market segment. One way of doing that is by providing what we call business microservices, and this time we’ll focus on another one, the business/private line.

The status quo is crazy! Around half of all businesses globally can be categorised as “small”, and a good chunk of them, perhaps as many as half, have between only one and five employees. These companies have little or no serious enterprise infrastructure to support their commercial efforts and, worse, the majority don’t know what they don’t know so they aren’t instinctively aware of how they might improve things!

From accounting software to telecoms systems, most are preoccupied with getting the job done with what whatever’s already to hand (which means focusing on directly servicing customers) rather than fine-tuning their modes of operation (the “how” rather than the “what”).

And yet, think of the numbers here. HALF THE WORLD. For telecoms service providers, think of the untapped revenue potential you could harvest if you could meet and exploit – likely through a combination of education and services – the latent needs of this captive audience.

That’s an audience sitting there, already in your customer database but, presumably because it’s not tagged as such and loudly asking for help (remember, it doesn’t know what it doesn’t know so likely it doesn’t know what to ask for), you haven’t taken the time to investigate further. That, surely, must change.

Not knowing what you don’t know

Well, you’d think it must change, anyway. The key to why the situation has arisen lies in the words “it’s sitting there”. What’s meant by that is that most of these small businesses (sole traders, less then say 10 employees) are being thought of by the communications industry as consumers rather than enterprise customers.

Why? Because that’s how they present themselves, acquiring a personal mobile with a “consumer” account and then using it to run their business (as well as calling the family).

That’s the status quo most of us are likely familiar with and, left to get on with, nothing will change. The small business will struggle along with the consumer services it’s got; the service provider, neglecting to investigate and exploit the opportunity further, will bank the consumer revenues and live in blissful ignorance of anything more being within reach. Madness, isn’t it?

Why change?

How mad? Think about perhaps the most basic service of all…the dedicated business phone number.  That’s surely the ground-zero way a business represents itself to the world. It’s the company’s public identity (not a way of reaching family) it’s needed to demonstrate that an enterprise is credible.

To have that dedicated number, you don’t even need a separate device. The fact is the solution (a business/private line microservice) – were it offered - allows customers to maintain one separate number for business and another separate number for personal use both linked to a single chosen device (or devices).

Inbound calls to either number will should reach the device, while outbound calls will present the business number or private number, according to preferences set by the user, such as the time of day when the extension is called directly.

This simple microservice can be, for the small business, a game changer. Think of the advantages, which underline that it shouldn’t take much persuasion to sign customers up.

With the business/private line, suddenly the enterprise appears cultivates a more professional and credible image with the potential distraction of personal and business communications on a single line removed. Customers will more likely trust and feel confident contacting a business that provides a dedicated phone number, underlining that it is legitimate and ready to engage with clients.

What about customer service? The business number can be set up with features such as auto-attendants and voicemail, which help manage calls efficiently and ensure customer inquiries are handled more efficiently.

Additional features like call recording, analytics, and automated responses can monitor and improve their communication strategies. And the world of vanity numbers opens – using (where appropriate) a number that aligns with the company’s branding to make contact information more memorable! These are just some of the advantages.

The argument is simple. A dedicated business phone number enhances any company's professionalism, improves customer service, and provides access to the flexibility and features necessary to support business growth and efficient communication. Importantly, it allows users to separate business and private lives.

For the small business, with a limited number of hands (perhaps only one pair), ambition alone isn’t enough to ensure success. Telecoms service providers in all too many cases need ask themselves if they’re doing their part to support their customers in the way that support is really needed.

Answer: the Gintel platform

If there’s good news for telcos, it’s that providing what we’ve outlined above and what the small business needs, particularly in the form of microservices like the business/private line, isn’t difficult.

The ability to quickly and efficiently launch targeted services like this is critical and getting to market fast and building on a launch offer is easily possible. There’s no good reason why any MNO or MVNO can’t rapidly launch a basic offer, on which they can later expand with additional functionality to enrich services.

The best way of doing this is the Gintel solution, which enables microservices that meet the needs of small business customers to be quickly integrated into the wider service portfolio. Enhancements can later be made iteratively and tailored to meet the requirements of specific market niches as they’re identified or develop.

Available from the cloud, it doesn’t just deliver benefits for the customer; for the CSP it’s a tool for revenue growth and in today’s competition for market share, distinguishing your small business offering from those of competitors matters.

To summarise, we know that roughly half the enterprises globally are categorized as small. And research has consistently told us many of their operational needs, communications functionality among them, are not being met.

It’s unlikely that this undesirable status quo will continue endlessly. Ultimately, it’ll be the small businesses that can access the services they need to flourish who will emerge as the winners in their markets, alongside the service providers who can support them properly. Both will win the race to increased profitability. And there isn’t a better place to start than the Gintel platform.

Talk to Gintel

Gintel helps operators succeed in highly competitive markets, achieving differentiation for their business service portfolio. Our telecommunications heritage, know-how and experience are backed by a track record of delivering successful solutions to Tier 1 operators, MVNOs, ISPs and Systems Integrators.

We enable our customers to stay at the forefront of service innovation in a rapidly moving market, offering agility and flexibility and delivering profit for their business.

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