15 Aug 2019
The fibre market is not just a Fibre to the Home (FTTH) market. These days, more and more businesses are relying on high-speed connections to remain competitive during a time when cost reductions and increased productivity are keys to success.It is no longer good enough to hope that "If you build it, they will come". In today's customer-centric landscape, consumers expect that you will come to them. Blame Amazon, blame Takealot, blame Superbalist, blame them all for raising the bar when it comes to the customer experience. And South African businesses are struggling to keep up.
To get your business near the forefront of the digital economy, a well-designed and user-friendly company website is the bare minimum. Customers also expect effective online support and even want live-chat conflict resolution. A predictive analytics-based omnichannel experience is the ultimate goal.
Towards the Omnichannel
What exactly is this new buzzword surrounding customer experience excellence? Well, omnichannel is an omniscient (all-knowing) customer experience. What this means is giving consumers a consistent and continuous experience across every channel and touchpoint.
This is achieved by using data to personalise the customer experience across your communication channels, from website, to call centre, to app, to social media, to live chat, and even in-store, all of which will share and collate customer data to build a comprehensive picture of every single customer.
Maybe not that easy, but you have to start somewhere. After all, the journey to an omnichannel customer experience is not a straightforward one, nor will it be the same for every business. To start this journey, you need a solid foundation, in which an excellent connectivity and cloud service provider is integral.
products exclusively for business use. Even if companies feel they don’t need a premium service, they may be pleasantly surprised to find that business-centric providers like SEACOM have options for all businesses of all sizes too. Perhaps more importantly, SEACOM offers these services with all the service and support that business users need to keep their services working 24 x 7 over 365 days a year.
What defines a true business connectivity product?
There is a big difference between real business fibre and a lesser offering masquerading as one. FTTB offerings, for starters, have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that guarantee that your business receives the kind of service and speed promised by your provider. Small business connections, however, often do not come with an SLA and are often stated as “best effort” services – so no level of service is guaranteed, and the line speed will vary depending on who’s online, what they are doing online, and depending on the time of day.
In the same breath, a real business fibre package means not having to sit on consumer support lines when there’s a problem with your connection. Business services have guaranteed issue resolution times. The cream of the crop will proactively notify you of any problems and what is being done to fix them, and when your service will be returned to normal.
Another sure way to identify whether you’ve signed up to a real business offering is through bandwidth symmetry. You should, as a business, be able to upload as fast as you download, which is particularly important for companies who back up data through cloud services or have any business application system in the cloud. If your download speeds are quicker, your connection is “asymmetrical”, so expect delays associated with traditional connections.
Then there are hardware considerations. While home users can get away with a single basic router to enable a connection, businesses (even small-scale ones) need networks which require more advanced hardware to support and secure their operations. Additionally, they’ll need a scalable solution that caters to a growing business, only achievable through a truly business-minded service. So to ensure you get the highest grade of service, even if it’s one of the most basic, ensure you engage with a specialist business ISP and not a generalist. You probably wouldn’t go to a grocery store to buy your brake pads for your car.
Just like using home security software for your business is a bad idea, trying to get by with consumer-quality connectivity is also likely to end in dissatisfaction and frustration. It’s important to remain aware that just because something is labelled a “business connectivity package”, it may not truly be the case.