Here's a statistic that's more of a disappointing confirmation than a surprise: Almost 40 percent of enterprises in four major European markets are not happy with their connectivity service providers.
That's the main conclusion from a survey, commissioned by Ciena Corp., conducted in late 2012 with 400 senior IT executives at companies in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K.
And the dissatisfaction is related to some basic deliverables. According to the survey results, "nearly one-quarter of U.K. enterprises (23 percent) pointed to customer service as the main weakness of service providers, while French and German enterprises seemed more concerned about the slow speed of connection (19 percent and 21 percent, respectively)."
The chart below shows that Dutch enterprises are the least satisfied:
While this chart shows utility companies just edging out financial services firms as the least satisfied by vertical group:
The full details and findings can be found in this Ciena press release.
Now, survey results based on subjective evaluations need to be treated with a certain amount of caution, no matter how professional the survey company and/or how meticulous the questions -- the same service can be affordable and adequate to one person and expensive and shoddy to another.
Most often, though, they are good indicators. And that reflects very poorly on the business service providers in the four countries in question, especially as the customers in question (enterprises) are ones that can deliver significant revenues and margins.
What would make the results more interesting is if the service providers with the lowest marks were named and shamed, though that would not likely be something Ciena would want to do.
What's clear, though, is that there are some very real opportunities for competitive service providers to wrestle business away from the incumbents by delivering on their service level agreement (SLA) promises and investing in dedicated customer service. You'd think that would be the minimum standard for any company in the enterprise communications services market, given how critical voice and data services are to any type of corporation these days, but the results of this survey suggest otherwise.
Maybe this is further food for thought for Europe's cable operators, which, according to Accenture, could do worse than turn their attentions toward the business services sector. (See Can Cable Conquer Europe's B2B Sector?)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading