1 February 2017
Mobile technology has become indispensable to businesses. It helps employees stay on top of calls and in touch with customers while they’re out of the office. It keeps workflows moving despite not everyone being physically at their desk. And it enables flexible working, giving way to a better work-life balance. From handsets, USB modems (dongles), data and/or voice SIMs to wireless hotspots, mobile technology is an integral part of any modern business communications plan.
To realise the full benefits of mobile, partnering with the right provider is critical. Here are our top three things every IT leader should consider before choosing a new business mobile provider.
1. Business-grade coverage
Your chosen provider’s network coverage will be a key factor in determining the success of your mobile solution. After all, with the rise in mobile working, you’ll want to equip your employees with the best possible coverage for total productivity, no matter where they are. For instance, think of sales staff taking calls while on the road or keeping up to date with emails around customer meetings. Patchy data service and poor voice quality can be hugely detrimental in these cases.
Smartphone user habits are also changing. Research from Deloitte has shown that in the last decade advancements in mobile technology and the demand for more flexible working has seen an increasing trend of users choosing data communications in place of traditional voice calls. This is only set to increase further in the coming years, so choosing a provider that can offer the best data coverage for your business should be a priority. Before you sign a contract, ask to see a copy of your prospective provider’s 4G coverage statistics.
Another key consideration is whether the service itself has been designed for business or consumer use. Many providers’ core business is consumer-led, so investment in network features and future service developments are likely to be driven by consumer demand, rather than business need. Finding a provider that is business-only will help ensure that your mobile service has been designed with business requirements in mind.
2. Excellence in customer service
It’s going to be inevitable that you’ll need to at one stage or another. So it’s vital to ensure you have a provider whose customer service arm is available, knowledgeable and responsive when you do.
Consider: how are your feelings about the initial interactions you’ve had with your prospective provider? How insightful are they about your business and industry? How easy will it be for you to contact the provider outside of normal working hours? What are the agreed SLAs? And most importantly, how much control do they have over the service? If they own the core network, should any problems arise, they can be dealt with directly, thereby greatly reducing the time it takes to get things resolved.
Ask to see their customer service plan as part of the review process to help identify how much emphasis is placed on customer service delivery.
3. Ease of provision and management
You’ll want a provider with a reputation for reliability and who can help make the management of your mobile estate simple and stress-free. To do this, look for providers who offer access to usage and billing information. Ideally, you’re after a customer portal or similar that will allow you to review timely and accurate usage stats and invoices so that you are able to quickly assess the state of your mobile strategy. This requires calls, text and data to be organised within your bills in a clear and coherent way.
The best provider will also work with you to find efficiencies. Their contracts and tariffs will allow for a degree of flexibility, meaning your solution can grow in line with your business needs. And they’ll hold regular reviews to make sure that their services match your usage reports – meaning that you’re not overpaying for features you don’t need.
The ability to set up usage alerts and regular reports can also help make the management of your mobile service even easier.
The mobile market is deeply saturated and highly competitive. So it’s easy to become overwhelmed with choice. However, by taking into consideration these key points, and singling out the providers that offer them, you’ll be in the best position to make sure your next mobile provider can add the maximum value to your team and your business.
1 February 2017 | Cem Ahmet
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.