4 August 2015
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face a myriad of challenges in today’s economic climate. Not least the need to grow, the move to agile working and the ever-increasing demands of a globally dispersed workforce.
With all that to think about, most SMEs do not want to spend their time thinking about telecommunications. Instead they will look for a simple, reliable service that meets their requirements.
As a converged services supplier, you can ensure that your SME offer is centred on quality, reliability and convenience.
Every SME is unique, with different business objectives, growth targets and staff numbers. An honest assessment of their needs will help you to offer the best telecommunications system. It could well be that potential SME customer is currently using two or more suppliers, which is where you can provide immediate help by being able to act as a single source supplier for all their communications needs.
It is obvious, but important. Especially for growing businesses. On average there is a 25% saving to be made with a converged voice and data solution.[i] This kind of reduction in cost would be huge for most SMEs. There is also an organisational benefit for time-poor SMEs in dealing with only one supplier and one bill.
One of the benefits of a converged service is its suitability for small businesses. And because it is not reliant on cumbersome and outdated infrastructure, the services you provide can scale and grow as businesses do, or during busy times.
Part of the life of an SME will be peaks and troughs in business and demand. During quiet periods they will not want to pay for services they are not using and cannot afford. The flexibility to shrink as well as grow is a core part of the attraction of converged communications to SMEs.
Put what matters most to customers front and centre of your offer. The converged service you provide is underpinned by Quality of Service enablement and a market leading service level agreement. For an SME this means a telecommunications solution that they can rely on, leaving them free to focus on their core business.
Part of the challenge all SMEs face today is how to adopt 21st century working practises. In other words, how to be agile. Make sure they know you can help to facilitate their development towards agility and suggest services that will enable them to offer flexible working to their employees. Such as free or low cost site-to-site calls that make sure all staff are available and connected, wherever they are in the world.
A one bill, one contract solution needs one contact within your organisation. Building a relationship of trust between your organisation and an SME means giving that SME a point person. Someone who can answer questions and work on their behalf in the event that something goes wrong.
When pitching a converged solution to an SME, make sure they know that you are confident in the quality and reliability of the product, as well as your track record. Demonstrating absolute belief in your services will make them more likely to trust you as a supplier. A case study may help, too.
Even in a successful partnership between a provider and an SME, the requirements of the latter will change over time. Maintaining an awareness of their business priorities will help you to pre-empt their need for new products and services.
No telecommunications provider wants to entertain the thought of a systems outage and neither do customers, especially those whose business depends on connectivity. But as a provider you can allay their concerns by offering a converged voice and data service with business continuity built in which means they can keep their business working, whatever the circumstances
4 August 2015 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.