A Vision for Resellers Today

vuca ahead

For Resellers in today’s telecoms market, business as usual is getting harder. Performance Telecom see it another way.

With margins from inbound minutes declining, license based services continue to be the way forward. Whereas before, value added services were provided free of charge as long as resellers had the telecom traffic, now the trend is beginning to reverse. In the future no one will be buying minutes… and it has already begun! When was the last time you paid for a local call on your mobile phone? In 2017 minutes are being bundled, more and more, into a ‘free’ package where license fees generate the revenue so value-added services have turned into the breadwinner.

Some Resellers argue that their particular PBX or HCC platforms boast “innovative” features that set them apart in the market and provide a unique selling point, but in reality, all the major platforms meet 95% of customers’ needs. It’s not really viable for everyone to be fighting over a niche market of 5% – so how do you attract the attention of the majority?

In addition to this, some might claim that their top rate customer service sets them apart from the competition, and this might be true… but customers aren’t won on the promise of customer service alone. They are only retained this way due to the fact that it’s only natural every Reseller will claim to have exceptional customer service.

So, if you can’t win with a similar product set to your competitors, and you can’t use a promise of excellent aftercare as a hook then there’s only one differentiation: price. Unfortunately, this is a race to the bottom, which can be seen by the prevalence of lower and lower prices as the key driver in the Hosted PBX race today. This lowers margins to a measly amount and makes the pay-off from making a sale depressingly small.

If this market saturation and the reduction in margins from minutes sales wasn’t enough, there’s another change for the telecoms Reseller: you’ll see that customer’s needs are far more complex today and that they expect solutions that are more tailored to their particular circumstances. Just take a look at your local high-street; bakeries don’t just sell you bread any more and garden centres offer restaurant services too.

This diversification among businesses, as they horizontally integrate to increase revenue, requires resellers to embrace complexity, from the intricate needs of the customer, to the array of products you can offer them.

Unfortunately, it’s these products that are the stumbling block for so many of the Resellers we’ve spoken to in recent years, as telecoms and IT have become more linked with the introduction of SIP and Web RTC. With product options abound for Resellers, the complexity is high and never before has so much been possible when it comes to solving the targeted problems of customers. We believe this should be embraced.

This is the telecoms world now – A serious decline in margins from minutes and with a host of PBX and HCC products that all do a similar job is coupled with changes in customer buying and billing habits, as well as technological advancements adding so much choice.

So how do you operate in this environment?
The management paradigm, VUCA, serves to highlight the systematic and behavioural elements which typify modern businesses: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Behind this simple acronym is a message that should be followed by resellers more closely than ever before – flexibility is key to success.

Indeed, we’re in a volatile world, in which Trump’s and Macron’s victories and the UK’s Brexit vote were not predicted, and this uncertainty applies to the telecoms Reseller market too. We used to know where we were with minutes sales but things are far more complex and ambiguous. The way to deal with this? Again, is to be flexible allowing you to take advantage of change. From a product perspective, this means having products that can adapt to different uses, as well as a variable product set.

The high margins that Resellers had grown used to won’t ever come from minutes again, they will be seen through the adoption of innovative and personalised applications that meet the customer’s needs and improve stickiness. With such easy-to-use technology on offer, Resellers can embrace the complexity without it becoming a headache.

This complex world has led Performance Telecom to develop a flexible Reseller product set. We have created solutions that are adaptable to the needs of our clients. Our award-winning solutions easily integrate with existing IT and Telecoms systems, they are simple to try and generate real value for Resellers and end customers alike.

One such example is SmartScribe, our speech analytics software. In essence, it’s automated transcription… but it’s the way that we have adapted its role that’s been a huge part of its success. This one product is being used in a variety of ways from marketing experts for competitor analysis to compliance managers for regulatory checks, from quality assurance managers for monitoring agent performance to customer experience professionals to monitor CX, and more!

Our payment solution, PayGuard tells a similar story. It’s a product that understands that not all businesses take payments in the same way, so it has five different modes and can fully automate payments within the IVR or provide PCI compliance for contact centres who take payments manually.

Voice Biometrics is in high demand with GDPR legislation coming into force May next year, and our active model is easy to use for the consumer, cost effective for the contact centre and easy to set up. VoiceGuard is multi-factor authentication enabled too.

Our core network called Transform uses artificial intelligence in complex IVRs to help improve the callers’ experience, and its multi-carrier PCI level 1 compliant capability keeps calls flowing whatever the weather and offers a host of upsell opportunities such as PCI compliant call recording.

For a Reseller, multi-award winning products like these are simple, high margin, sticky, and they really represent a new way of distinguishing you from the crowd while simultaneously targeting the specific problems faced by your customers today.

Performance Telecom is a telecoms and software hybrid based in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Since our inception more than 18 years ago, we have been partnering with businesses and contact centres to develop automation and value-add solutions which plug the gaps in existing telecoms and software systems, as well as developing solutions that support our clients’ strategic interests.

Our strategic vision is to unlock aspirations, which is why we listen to our Resellers to really understand what drives them and what they wish to achieve. This helps our development process too, allowing us to see ahead of industry trends so we can prioritise the emerging technologies that we want to engage with, and the ones that will give the most powerful results to our current and future clients.

It’s our strong belief that you should supplement your offerings with a selection of value added products which solve the targeted problems faced by your customers today. That doesn’t require any backpedalling on your part, but rather supplement your current services with our innovative and personalised applications… it’s the way to earn that yellow jersey!

It’s important to note that we genuinely are looking to work with a few key Resellers only – those keen to face their customers’ challenges and embrace the world today. If this is you… get in touch with us. The future is in value added solutions and they’re at your fingertips.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine