July 13, 2011
By Dan Berthiaume
When MSPs think about the benefits they provide their SMB clientele, they probably focus on internal efficiencies that can benefit the bottom line. But MSPs need to take a broader look at how their services can aid all aspects of an SMB’s operations. For example, managed contact center services can aid your SMBs clientele in providing high quality customer service, and even in charging a premium for them.
A case in point: A new survey commissioned by Fonality and conducted by Webtorials shows that on average, customers of SMBs would pay a 20% maximum premium for exceptional service. In contrast, larger companies could only charge a maximum premium of 15%. In addition, 58% of the respondents prefer to do business with an SMB, compared to only 16% who prefer to do business with larger enterprises.
Fonality is a business communications provider, so naturally this survey has a marketing angle, but one that holds promise for MSPs. Unified Communications (UC) and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions were cited by SMB respondents as important tools to help SMBs achieve greater levels of customer service that would allow them to charge a premium rate. Eighty percent of SMB 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.
Meanwhile, UC, which combines voice, email and chat communications, was either being used, or soon will be, by 64% of those surveyed.
UC, VoIP Can Help SMB Productivity
The survey also shows that SMB users of VoIP and UC-based contact centers surveyed achieved significant productivity gains and cost reduction, with 52% saving 20% or more and almost as many (46%) reporting productivity gains in excess of 10%. Webtorials concluded that smaller budgets and limited skill sets associated with SMBs made them primary candidates to benefit from the greater ROI of cloud-based VoIP and UC services, as opposed to installing and maintaining expensive, complex IT solutions.
MSPs should not focus on the exact figures quoted in the Fonality study, but undoubtedly VoIP and UC services can be of great assistance to SMBs looking to improve customer service and increase profitability. Not many SMBs are equipped to host this type of leading edge technology in-house, making MSPs ideal candidates to enable superior customer service.
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