Leading telecom providers face a mass desertion by Scotland’s SMEs

Headline telecom providers face a major revolt from Scotland’s SME market where 95% of firms are up for a change, according to research from Glasgow-based telecom specialist abica.

Conducted independently by Market Transformations Ltd, the research found that only 5% of the SME market was happy with the service and value for money they received and would actively look to stick with their current provider.

The findings are supported by a separate survey published this month by the global-market research firm, JD Power which found that in terms of customer satisfaction the UK mobile market lags behind other industries.

As Scotland’s commercial engine room, the health of the SME market is synonymous with the health of the country and Scott Allison, managing director at abica, said that working with a committed telecom partner would help businesses improve their own performance significantly.

Canvassing opinions from the business community, Market Transformations Ltd also found that 30% of firms did not look past the front page of their monthly statement, while a further 15% did not understand it. This means 45% of businesses are unable to use their telecoms data to improve performance.

Used effectively, bills allow firms to save money, see how well their employees are working and improve internal processes and staffing levels. Ignoring the information held on these statements can only be detrimental for businesses at a time when things are already very difficult.

Mr Allison said: “Telecoms are an ongoing cost for businesses and the least they should expect from a provider is value for money and excellent service. Bills should also come in a format that allows management to analyse them easily.”

He added: “This is why we have an online billing platform that lets customers see exactly how much they have spent, who they are calling, when they are calling them and how often calls are made. Using this information can make a big difference to the way firms choose to do business and the effectiveness of their staff on a daily basis.”

The research pinpointed problems with flexibility and heard complaints from those that did not want to be tied into contracts that were 12 or 18 months long when the commercial environment was changing so quickly.

Complex tariffs left customers confused, poor service left them disgruntled and overall the research showed that customer had simply lost any expectation that their telecoms provider would service them effectively.

“These are damning findings for the big players and by offering a bespoke service focused purely on SME customers we are using them to our advantage,” said Mr Allison.

“There are alternatives for businesses unhappy with their current contract, we make it easy to change provider and in the last two months alone have welcomed 20 new clients who have done just that.”