Fibre land grab turns to gold rush

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Article source: ITWeb 

In a recent article, Connection Telecom noted a spate of excellent low-cost fibre-based Internet offerings from a spread of providers, pointing out enormous benefits for customers of all sizes and fortunes.

And while there has been little to suggest any downside, signs are that a kind of gold fever is gripping the telco providers of eGoli, Cape Town and Durban, leaving customers feeling bombarded and bamboozled by unclear offerings, says Rob Lith, Co-founder and Director of Connection Telecom.

The following are tactics that customers should be wary of in this new era of abundant, well-priced access.

  • Over-complication

A common tendency is to over-complicate offers. This can be a form of exploitation or simply inexpert marketing – for years the mobile networks made it virtually impossible to compare their offerings to others, before relenting with simpler charges.

But, whatever the reason for this frustration of consumer choice, a degree of simplicity is required. The problem can be addressed on a number of levels.

One problem area is the habit of throwing geek-speak into sales pitches. An IT manager might be okay with hearing about different rates of contention, but a small business owner – the true target here – cannot be expected to know that an 8:1 ratio makes for an acceptable experience, or that 4:1 is better.

  • Fear

Customers further note a troubling trend among providers to engage in a spot of fear-mongering. The customer absolutely must get fibre, or they're dead in the water.

That's nonsense, of course. Their lives will be infinitely better if they do get fibre, but now they won't go for it, because it is suddenly a grudge purchase. Why this indecent haste to peddle a product that absolutely everyone will buy, given enough time and information?

  • Greed

Another grabbing tactic is the habit to pitch everything and the kitchen sink at the customer.

If someone merely wants a quote for fibre access, or is locked into a current PBX contract, undue pressure to take extra services could result in another provider getting the business – and with it, a foot in the door for future up-sell opportunities.

Yes, extra services (a PBX, phones, managed access and the like) may meet a need that the customer doesn't even know about, but forcing the issue before meeting the customer's first need just looks terrible.

  • Trust

Affordable fibre access is truly a watershed market development for South Africa, but the long-suffering telecoms customer (and fellow recessionary warrior) won't rush to swell providers' coffers when they feel deceived or exploited. They have suffered enough and deserve offers that strike a balance between simplicity and transparency.

How this is addressed in real life depends on the marketing nous of the provider. Suffice to say, what is needed in these exciting but fraught times is the steadying hand of a trusted advisor whose offerings meet specific customer needs and are easy to understand, order and use.

Those who provide that comfort will emerge as partners of choice entrusted with ushering in the latest wave of change on the communications landscape.

 

 

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