Small to medium enterprises (SME) prefer the services provided by telecommunications resellers over the offerings of large telecommunication providers, a recent national survey has found.
Conducted by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG), Small Enterprise Telecommunications Group (SETEL), and telecommunications provider and franchisor, Telcoinabox, the Australian SME Telecommunications Survey 2007 studied 5000 SMEs in Australia to unveil their requirements and usage trends.
The research revealed SMEs are more satisfied with the services provided by an independent reseller for fixed line, mobile and Internet services, than telcos such as Optus, AAPT, Hutchinson and Primus. If they do not choose Telstra first, SMEs will choose an independent reseller provider, the study predicted.
"SMEs are historically an unloved market," Telcoinabox managing director, Damian Kay, said. "Providers try to tap into this group now and again but step away, finding it easier to bundle their needs into the single category of 'all businesses'.
"We wanted to know what influenced them in their decision making when choosing a provider, so we could better manage their expectations."
While typical features such as competitive pricing, reasonable call quality, good coverage and satisfactory customer service ranked high on SME requirements, survey participants cited additional concerns that set resellers apart from large telcos. They included: quality technical support; a dedicated and knowledgeable account manager for each customer; quick fault resolution turnaround; and short wait times before speaking to a human customer service representative.
"Resellers are better able to tailor their offers to the requirements of the SME segment due to their understanding of this market," Kay said. "It partly stems from resellers being SMEs themselves and thinking like an SME. This is something that a large carrier will never be able to do.
"The survey results in the main confirmed much of what we already knew. In our own business we are finding less resistance from the SME market to signing with reseller telecommunication providers."