June 22, 2011

2011 Report on the Impact of UC on SMB Customer Service

  • SMBs Excel at Customer Service - And They Can Charge For It!
  • A Webtorials State-of-the-Market Report
  • Steven Taylor, Joanie Wexler, and Leslie Barteaux
  • Webtorials Analyst Division
This study revealed the following customer service trends in SMBs as they relate to UC:
  • Consumers will pay a premium for good service from SMBs. UC is a fundamental path to delivering responsive and well-informed service.
  • There is a significant trend among the companies surveyed to use voice over IP (VoIP) and UC to save money and electronically expand skills sets across locations for improved customer service.
  • Respondent companies are using a mix of premises-based UC equipment and cloud-based UC services, and their organizations' strategies often depend on company size.

The report examines each finding and what it means for small businesses and their ability and willingness to leverage UC to their business advantage.

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Please note that this report was made possible in part due to the generous support of Fonality.

1 Comment

This study was conducted using a database consisting primarily of SMBs, and consequently it gives a slightly different and most useful perspective as compared with our overall Webtorials community.

In particular, in addition to the obvious and oft-cited statistics showing that SMBs comprise the true backbone of our economy, the degree to which respondents prefer to do business with SMBs and are willing to pay a premium to SMBs for exceptional customer service was most striking.

As noted in the report, "Smaller businesses are catching up with larger enterprises in being able to reap greater economies of scale that put them on a level playing field with their bigger counterparts. What’s driving their competitive abilities is an increasing abundance of pay-as-you-go hosted and cloud services that let them ramp up with the latest technologies quickly and with no or little capital outlay.

"The emergence of UC-in-the-cloud services is a prime example. UC on its own has catapulted 21st century business to a whole new level of quick-turnaround and superior customer service.

"Increasingly, as the trend toward cloud services increases in general, SMBs will be among the top candidates for hosted/cloud UC services, given that they glean a near-immediate payback in the form of heightened customer service levels for which they can charge a premium – all without having to make burdensome investments in capital, people and operations."

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