In the wake of deregulation in Europe, the huge opportunities for telecommunications suppliers are being underexploited as a result of poor direct marketing and a price-based promotional approach.
That is one of the conclusions of a new survey by International Marketing Solutions, a research and DM firm with offices in Dublin, Denver and New York.
The survey found that 31% of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom did not know the source of the most recent mailing they had received about telecom service. A further 12% did not know who had placed the most recent ad they saw. Even more remarkably, telesales calls were failing to get across the message as to who was calling. While 42% of senior executives in U.K. SMEs have received one or more such call, 52% of them were unable to recall the source of the sales message.
“The statistics suggest that telesales messages simply aren’t getting through,” says Eamonn O’Brien, president of International Marketing Solutions. “All too often, telecom companies adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach to their marketing, including telesales.”
Despite having been deregulated for over a decade, the former monopoly provider, British Telecom, is still supplying services to seven out of 10 SMEs (companies with fewer than 250 employees, which make up 99% of businesses in the U.K.). Its nearest rival, Cable & Wireless, has just a 14% market share.
In the German market, which was only liberalized in the last year, the former monopoly held by Deutsche Telekom has fallen to an 87% share of SMEs. However, its rivals have only taken around 1% each.
Differences between the German and U.K. markets also emerged, especially around satisfaction with new suppliers. In Germany, recent switchers had higher satisfaction levels than companies that were still with the same supplier, at 51% compared with 36%. Not surprisingly, satisfaction on price was higher among recent switchers (54% compared with 24%), but so was satisfaction with customer service representatives (57% vs. 37%). In the U.K., however, an overemphasis on price may fail to deliver satisfied customers if service levels are not maintained.