Successfully delivering enterprise services in Gintelberg? Only if the shoe fits…
If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, then you may remember Gintelberg, the fictitious but nevertheless representative town that we described recently. If you haven’t been introduced to it yet, Gintelberg is the sort of place where most of us live and work and, for that matter, where we consume our telecoms services.
To further remind you, the commercial landscape in Gintelberg, (typical of towns across the length and breadth of Europe) is dominated by what most of us call “small businesses”. These aren’t multi-corporates or even mid-sized companies but the sort of low scale enterprises (1-10 man bands, taxi firms, building outfits, accountants, and so on) that seem to largely make the world go round.
We created Gintelberg not for fun, but to make a point: about half the workforce there is employed by these small companies so they’re using telco services in volume as they go about their work, and yet the telco industry is more or less actively ignoring the commercial opportunity this sizeable market segment represents.
The fact is that the communications needs of these small businesses could be met by delivering enterprise-specific services and thereby generating new, SME-led revenue streams. Yet it isn’t happening (just like it isn’t in the real world, either). In this blog, we’ll visit one of Gintelberg’s representative traders to better understand what’s going on.
A shoe-in, surely?
To get the ball rolling, another introduction is required, this time to Gintelberg residents Martin and Sandra, a husband-and-wife duo who own and run one of the town’s shoe shops, one of its many typical small to medium-sized enterprises. Their shop is a traditional business; the owners know their customers intimately; they employ half-a-dozen members of staff with, for the most part, three employees on duty at any given time. The happy team takes staggered lunch breaks so there’s always cover. Telecommunications are discharged through a landline number. It’s a familiar set-up.
At Christmas and other special times, staff numbers increase as required, with Martin and Sandra’s teenage children drafted in to help. The older child, Victoria, has an aptitude for working the phones: calling existing and prospective customers, talking to suppliers and associated trades. She may yet make a career of it. Victoria, sharp as she’s proven to be, is the one who first identified the shop’s most obvious problem and it related to communications: that is, its standard POTs line isn’t easy to manage, particularly at peak times when the shop itself is full of customers.
And guess what? Despite being made aware of the problem, Martin and Sandra’s service provider doesn’t seem to be taking much interest in helping them to solve it. An opportunity ignored, and you have to wonder why? (a question Victoria frequently asks herself)
Best foot forward
What frustrates Victoria is that it doesn’t seem like a difficult problem to overcome and, since it’s seemingly an obvious commercial opportunity (scalable too, given the number of other small businesses in Gintelberg), why isn’t their telco leveraging it? It seems obvious what could be done; sell Martin and Sandra enterprise communications services. For instance:
The shop, as we know, presently relies on a landline number. If only the service provider paid more attention, it would be obvious that this makes little sense. The number could easily be made virtual and the old, fixed telephone retired from service. Once this was done, Martin, Sandra, Victoria, and their team could use mobiles instead, increasing both access for customers and mobility for employees within the premises, backed by a simple Cloud PBX service.
Two mobiles might have subscriptions from the provider, while other handsets could increase the available number of phones or, if preferable, employees could even use their own devices for work calls – we’ll come to the question of paying for any outbound activities in a minute!
The two subscriptions (nominally held by Martin and Sandra) would have Cloud PBX user accounts, coming with smartphones. These can make and receive calls. The old fixed number has now been repurposed into a virtual line, which is effectively a main number, to use PBC terminology. That means it can be handled in an intelligent manner, allowing calls to that number to be queued and distributed, depending on availability of the staff.
The other full-time employees (Paula, Felix, Robert, and Karen) have been given simple handsets that can only answer, rather than make calls (much to the chagrin of Robert!) All activity is based around the single virtual fixed number. All devices can be used as terminating points, but the full-time employee devices also act as agents.
Hunting in packs
See how everything works in practice and advantages are obvious. Suddenly, there are two hunt groups to handle things and a queue for incoming calls, so instead of panicking when the shop is busy and the phone is ringing, Victoria can relax and better serve her customers.
Callers are played a message if they need to wait in a queue. Furthermore, they have options. For instance, they can press 1 to talk with a shoe consultant – and when they do their call is sent to the full-time employee hunt group. Members of the group login and out, depending on their rota and shift pattern. There’s more than one hunt group too. A second has been set up for accounts and orders. This is routed to Martin and Sandra only. Efficiency at last!
Both hunt groups are aligned with the shops opening hours. And when Martin and Sandra’s children are added to the roster at Christmas and other times, they have their own subscriptions and numbers - which can be added as temporary terminating numbers and included in the shoe consultant hunt group.
It’s a simple enough scenario and easy to base the reality on modelling how calls to the main number are routed correctly to the members of the team, depending on the hunt group selected. Calls for which no option is chosen can be routed to all active numbers. Overflow calls can be routed to voicemail – the recording of which is sent to Martin and Sandra.
A missed opportunity
And yet, in Gintelberg (and a great many other real towns, not fictitious ones) none of this is happening even though, with little effort and our technology, it could be. Think about it: half the working population, underserved, with a single, limited, fixed line service to meet its enterprise communications needs. It doesn’t make sense for anyone.
For now, we’ll leave Gintelberg again. In a future blog, we’ll return to look in more detail at the sort of solutions that ought to be deployed to bring Martin and Sandra’s business up to speed – and meet some more of its hard-working Bergers.
Talk to Gintel
If you want to deliver solutions like this, which solve real problems for eager business customers, Gintel can help. We help mobile service providers take the necessary steps, choose the right solution – and win in the SME market.