Many customers have multiple connections and services that are under-used or not used at all anymore – analysing them, consolidating services and replacing them with modern ultrafast connections is a great way to add value and build trust
Do you have any idea of what connectivity and communications services your customers are using? It’s certainly a question worth asking yourself, and your customers. The answers you get may very well uncover some big opportunities.
Over the last few weeks, we have been conducting a detailed analysis of the data – to which we have legitimate access – on our partners’ customers. While we were aware, simply from anecdote and our own knowledge and experience, that many customers had multiple connections and contracts, we had not imagined the extent to which this was the case.
In many instances, we found that even in a relatively small organisation – with say 100 employees – there would be an average of 10 and 20 different contracts in place and in some situations, many more. Looking at these findings in more depth, we found that in every single case there were services that were under-used, were out-of-date or were simply not being used at all. But the customer was still paying for them.
We have found organisations that have, for example, multiple broadband connections into their main location and / or branches that are simply not being used anymore. But they have never been cancelled or disconnected. We have found multiple telephone lines that have long been superseded by hosted voice connections and are not needed for any data connectivity. But they are still in place. We have found oodles of cases in which there are ISDN lines that are out-of-date and provide poor value for money. They will need to be replaced before the big switch-off in 2025 anyway.
How has this situation arisen? It’s very simple and it’s the same problem in every organisation. Inertia and a lack of knowledge of what’s actually in-place and in use. This will not be anyone’s fault, rather it is symptomatic of the way that businesses grow and acquire new technologies and services. They tend to add people, products and services as they are needed. This is often done in a responsive manner rather than as part of a strategic plan.
As a consequence, products and services are added and are layered on top of one another. When something falls out of use, it’s hardly noticed and everyone is so busy getting on with their jobs and trying to meet the needs of customers, that they do not think of cancelling or changing a service. Or they put it on a to-do list and never get around to it. After a while, the task is forgotten.
That point made, it’s not always a clear cut case that something can simply be cancelled or shut down. While some of connections and services do fall out of use completely, many more are still used for some essential function. It might be to run a backup service, or to download payroll files once a week. Or provide a direct line for a particular customer group.
But functions like these can almost always be covered by other services. This was the biggest and most startling finding that came out of our analysis. When we looked at some of the specific situations, we found that we could easily consolidate many of connections and services. This would simplify the whole set-up, make it easier and more cost-effective to manage, and reduce costs. In some cases, it would advisable or even necessary to upgrade some connections, or even install new ultrafast broadband or business VoIP services. But the result would still be a better, faster, more reliable set of services at a lower price.
Every reseller will certainly have customers who are in this situation – and we’d urge you to take positive action to help them. Consolidating services and lowering cost for the customer will also have the effect of reducing income and profitability for you, but the impact in terms of the customer relationship will easily outweigh any income lost through a streamlining of services.
We’d also point out that you are very likely to discover that your customers have also acquired connections and services from other sources over the years. It will be an opportunity to move them gently aside.
You must also ask, how would your customers react if they were to one day discover that you were aware that they had been paying over-the-odds for multiple services, which they never or hardly-ever use, and not alerted them to this fact?
Conversely, actively analysing what they have today and exploring ways in which they could consolidate is a really good way to add value for your customers, migrate them onto the latest and best ultrafast broadband services, and build trust. And the money they save reducing their costs may well be used to purchase additional solutions and services from you.