Will 4G Be Undermined by the Growth of Free Wi-Fi

2014 saw the increasing rollout of 4G, with more and more cities being added. EE have the largest coverage in the UK with the other networks starting to catch up.

This represents a large investment by the companies, which is in addition to the £2.3 billion already paid for the licences.   But I wonder, will it yield the expected benefits for the operators?

Most people will need to upgrade their phones to take advantage of the service, which is not cheap.  EE’s service costs over £40 per month for several GB of data which a couple of hours of video will soon use up.  The different carriers are offering various incentives to sign with them

The challenge for the 4G operators is the fact that free Wi-Fi is becoming ever more available. Even the mobile providers are in on the act as Vodafone and O2 users now get free Wi-Fi on most of the central London Underground.

It is almost impossible to walk into a coffee shop and not get free Wi-Fi.  Many other places are similar and Time Out helpfully provides a guide to hotspots in London http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/where-to-find-free-wi-fi-in-london-9

It is not just in London. I saw a bus in Oxford last week offering free Wi-Fi on board and it is pretty standard too on trains, in first class.

So if there is all this free Wi-Fi about, which from my experience is generally fast enough to watch things such as iPlayer, why would I pay £500 a year on my mobile to get 4G?  I’ll be interested to know what you think. So please do add your comments below.

Seven Deadly Sins Of Telecoms – Wrath

wrath

Wrath – Are You Annoying Your Customers?

Customer satisfaction is the key to the long-term success of all business. One of the easiest ways to annoy and frustrate your customers is to make it difficult for them to contact you. Despite the growth of the web, text chat and email many people still prefer to speak to someone if they have a question or, even more so, if they want to make a complaint.

Some companies don’t even provide a contact number on their web sites. This is usually done to save having to staff a help desk or contact centre. It’s all about saving money; that says a lot about their commitment to their customers.

Assuming you do provide a number, is it the right one for them? Do they call you regularly from their mobiles? If so using 0800 or 0845 numbers can deter them from making the call as these numbers are expensive. Even worse, do you profiteer by using 0844 or 0871 numbers? Companies supplying residential customers can no longer use these for post sales support

Once your customer has made the call, how easy do you make for them to talk to someone? Do you use options such as ‘press 1’, ‘press 2’ etc. to route calls to various departments? If so, did you know that this will cause some customers to abandon the call? At best they’ll get irritated at having to listen to a number of options only to end up being told to go to the web site. It is interesting to note that First Direct, which always scores highly on customer service surveys, does not use this method. Instead it routes every call to a real person.

Do you even know how many customers abandon their calls because of long answer times? As a general rule, people start to get irritated after only 10 seconds or 4 rings. That could result in losing a customer forever. As could the fact that you have chosen to invest in messages stressing how important their call is to you, rather than putting the money into systems that will route calls directly to a real person.

Finally do you have a plan to enable your customers get in touch if you cannot get to your office or shop due to bad weather or transport problems. Lack of such planning can also lead to frustrated customers and lost orders.

In summary, it should be easy for customers to reach you at zero or little cost to them. You should measure your answering speed.  Using the right numbers and solutions can solve all these problems.  If you don’t sort them out your customers will be calling your competitors. An easy way to check the experience is to call your own company posing as a customer – that can tell you a lot.

If you are struggling in any of these areas and would like some free advice contact Equinox on 0208 912 0845

The Seven Deadly Sins of Telecom – Gluttony

Gluttony – Capped calls and Bundled Call Minutes can be a false economy

“All you can eat” restaurants and “all inclusive” holidays often appear attractive. However have you ever stopped to think that if it is that good a deal, then how is the supplier making money? The basic principle is that they are relying on 90% of customers not consuming the full amount or not taking advantage of all that’s on offer.

It is no surprise that many businesses also believe that capped call prices and inclusive bundles appear to be a great deal.  For residential customers, where average call durations are longer, this may be true. However, the average business call in the UK is only about 2 minutes.

Capped call deals usually have a high minimum charge, so unless your average call duration is four times the national average it is likely to cost you more than conventional call charges. Most people have a perception that they speak for longer than they actually do.  Also remember, that out of every two calls you make, one is likely to go to voicemail. We recently moved an Estate agent from capped calls to paying for actual usage and their annual bill fell by £15,000 or 50%.

Similarly, bundled call deals such as 500 minutes for £8 a month sounds like a bargain. But only if you make close to 500 minutes of calls every month of the year.   With summer and Christmas breaks, these are effectively half months.   Not using all the minutes can dramatically raise the actual cost of each call. Also, if you are over the call limit then the cost per minute rises dramatically.

It is therefore essential to undertake a detailed analysis of your invoices to see on which calls these special deals will actually be of benefit. Many companies push these offers without checking that they are right for the customer. One client of ours saved over £3,000 per annum by moving back to paying for actual calls.

The same is true of unlimited calls and texts for mobiles. Most users vastly overestimate their actual usage. Many clients we review are better off on lower tariffs with usage caps which they so not exceed.

In the past year we have only found one customer who benefited from this type of package. Before you choose, contact us for clear advice on 020 8912 0845.