SAN FRANCISCO -- Service providers that have earned customer trust will enjoy the most success as SMBs move to hosted PBX and other IP communications services. That’s one of the latest conclusions from a wide-ranging Metaswitch study highlighting the risks of complacency among service providers that hope to migrate existing customers to IP communications and cloud services.
Trust in service providers is extremely important: SMBs with over 50 employees rated “trusted provider” the most important factor (76%) in the decision to switch to IP communications. The same group rated “better management” and “lower monthly cost” 72 percent each.
Microsoft Lync is a switching event: Up to one third of SMBs planning Lync deployments intend to change their communications service provider during the process. (Note: 26 percent of all SMBs in the 50-plus-employee category are currently deploying Lync, while 21 percent already have.)
Existing phone providers overlooked for IP: Just 10 percent of pre-IP SMBs would even consider getting information about IP communications from their existing phone provider. Eighteen percent of 50-plus-employee SMBs would contact rival providers directly.
IP adopters want cloud services: SMBs using IP phone systems are almost 50 percent more likely to also use cloud services than those using legacy TDM (81% vs. 56%).
SMBs prefer to buy cloud services elsewhere: Only 11 percent of SMBs said their preference was for buying cloud services from the same company that currently provides voice and Internet. About 40 percent said their preference was to buy from multiple vendors.
“We know this ongoing service migration is huge and that potentially millions of SMBs could switch their service provider in the coming two to three years,” said Chris Carabello, Director of Market Development at Metaswitch. “Every customer has a perception about their existing provider and the capabilities of the competition, which is why it’s so important and time-critical to get that service right and go to market with the best proposition.”
The Metaswitch 2013 SMB Survey was conducted this spring by independent firm Inzenka, as part of the ongoing MarketVisions program. Metaswitch MarketVisions incorporates research, training, collaterals and community engagement among service providers to help them drive more effective go-to-market programs and sales support activities surrounding business IP communications, UC and cloud services.