UC and VOIP solutions were cited as important tools to help SMBs achieve greater levels of customer service.
average, customers of midmarket companies would pay a 20 percent maximum
premium for exceptional service. In contrast, larger companies could only
charge a maximum premium of 15 percent, according to the "2011 Report on the
Impact of UC on SMB Customer Service," conducted by Webtorials. Additionally,
58 percent of the respondents prefer to do business with an SMB versus only 16
percent who prefer to do business with larger enterprises.
a communications company and provider of cloud-based VOIP (voice over IP) and
UC (unified communications) solutions for small to medium-size businesses,
commissioned the survey. More than 300 participants were surveyed in spring
and VOIP solutions were cited as important tools to help SMBs achieve greater
levels of customer service that would allow them to charge a premium rate. In
fact, 80 percent of respondents indicated they were already leveraging VOIP to
improve contact center capabilities while reducing operating costs or had plans
to integrate the solution within the next 12 months. UC, which combines voice,
email and chat communications, is already being used or soon will be used by 64
percent of those surveyed.
of VOIP- and UC-based contact centers surveyed achieved significant
productivity gains and cost reduction, with more than half (52 percent) saving
20 percent or more and almost as many (46 percent) reporting productivity gains
in excess of 10 percent. Webtorials concluded that smaller budgets and limited
skill sets associated with SMBs made them primary candidates to benefit from
the greater ROI (return on investment) of cloud-based VOIP and UC services, as
opposed to installing and maintaining expensive, complex IT solutions.
the UC and VOIP capabilities now readily available to SMBs, the playing field
has been leveled," said Steve Taylor, editor in chief and publisher for
Webtorials. "Investments in this technology can yield tremendous dividends
because consumers will pay more for enhanced customer service. Smaller
businesses can enjoy greater benefits in a shorter timeframe through the
acquisition of improved customer service tools, particularly when delivered
through the cloud."
survey also found consumers will pay a premium of up to 20 percent for good
service from SMBs, and UC can be a primary driver for delivery. In addition, there
is a growing trend to adopt VOIP and UC to reduce costs and expand the reach of
skill sets across locations to improve customer service. Based on the size and
scope of the operation, companies are using a combination of premises-based
equipment and the cloud to deliver UC, and respondents said they prefer to work
with SMBs by more than a 3-1 ratio.
business communications features, such as UC and presence, have traditionally
been cost prohibitive for the majority of SMBs, placing them at a distinct
disadvantage against larger competitors," said Fonality's chief marketing
officer, Wes Durow. "This study shows that once equipped with this technology,
SMBs can work smarter, faster and more effectively than larger competitors, and
garner a premium for doing so. For growth-oriented companies, investing in a VOIP
and UC solution to empower improved customer service provides an accelerated
study also found that the ability to access customer information in real time
to improve overall experience creates a more sophisticated and positive
perception for SMBs. Further, UC, combined with CRM (customer relationship
management) software, can play an important role in quickly and efficiently
providing this information, which in turn can strengthen loyalty and
relationships with customers.