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Fonality Survey Finds SMBs Can Charge a Premium for Excellent Customer Service





Dallas (PRESS RELEASE – June 29 2011) – Fonality, North America’s fastest growing business communications company, recently announced the release of the “2011 Report on the Impact of UC on SMB Customer Service.” Conducted by Webtorials, the Fonality-commissioned survey revealed that on average customers of small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) would pay a 20 percent maximum premium for exceptional service. In contrast, larger companies could only charge a maximum premium of 15 percent. Additionally, 58 percent of the respondents prefer to do business with an SMB versus only 16 percent who prefer to do business with larger enterprises.

Unified Communications (UC) and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions were cited as important tools to help SMBs achieve greater levels of customer service that would allow them to charge a premium rate. In fact, 80 percent of 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. UC, which combines voice, email and chat communications, was either being used, or soon will be, by 64 percent of those surveyed.

Users of VoIP and UC-based contact centers surveyed achieved significant productivity gains and cost reduction, with more than half (52 percent) saving 20 percent or more and almost as many (46 percent) reporting productivity gains in excess of 10 percent. Webtorials concluded that smaller budgets and limited skill sets associated with SMBs made them primary candidates to benefit from the greater return on investment (ROI) of cloud-based VoIP and UC services, as opposed to installing and maintaining expensive, complex IT solutions.

“With the UC and VoIP capabilities now readily available to SMBs, the playing field has been leveled,” said Steve Taylor, editor-in-chief and publisher for Webtorials. “Investments in this technology can yield tremendous dividends because consumers will pay more for enhanced customer service. Smaller businesses can enjoy greater benefits in a shorter timeframe through the acquisition of improved customer service tools, particularly when delivered through the cloud.”

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Consumers will pay a premium of up to 20 percent for good service from SMBs and UC can be a primary driver for delivery
  • There is a growing trend to adopt VoIP and UC to reduce costs and expand the reach of skill sets across locations to improve customer service
  • Based on the size and scope of the operation, companies are using a combination of premise-based equipment and the cloud to deliver UC
  • Respondents prefer to work with SMBs by more than a 3:1 ratio
  • More than 300 participants were surveyed in spring 2011 to generate the results.

“Advanced business communications features, such as UC and presence, have traditionally been cost prohibitive for the majority of SMBs, placing them at a distinct disadvantage against larger competitors,” said Fonality’s Chief Marketing Officer, Wes Durow. “This study shows that once equipped with this technology, SMBs can work smarter, faster and more effectively than larger competitors, and garner a premium for doing so. For growth-oriented companies, investing in a VoIP and UC solution to empower improved customer service provides an accelerated ROI opportunity.”

The study also found that the ability to access customer information in real-time to improve their overall experience created a more sophisticated and positive perception for SMBs. Further, UC, combined with customer relationship management software (CRM), can play an important role in quickly and efficiently providing this information, which in turn can strengthen loyalty and relationships with customers.

Purpose-built for SMBs, Fonality offers hosted VoIP, UC and contact center solutions that are easy to use, simple to manage and affordable to deploy. The Fonality Heads Up Display (HUD) is an award-winning UC dashboard with presence-based capabilities to seamlessly manage voice, email and chat dialogue enabling users to reach the right person, with the right information, every time. The company’s cloud-based model circumvents the costly hardware, infrastructure and lengthy implementation cycles associated with legacy solutions.

Fonality’s solution can access customer information in real-time through popular applications like Salesforce, NetSuite, Vanilla Soft, Sugar CRM or any web-based CRM application. Total cost of ownership is dramatically reduced by 50 percent, or more, while users enjoy access to powerful communications capabilities typically associated with Fortune 500 firms. A May 2011 study by Distributed Networking revealed that Fonality contact center customers reduced costs by an average of 23 percent and increased productivity by 14 percent, versus legacy vendors.

About Fonality

Fonality is North America’s fastest growing business communications company and a leading provider of cloud-based VoIP and Unified Communications solutions for small and mid-size businesses. With a unique software model approach, Fonality provides all the features of legacy providers without the cost or complexity. Founded in 2004, Fonality has delivered more than two billion phone calls across the cloud while enabling more than one million users of open-standard based communications software. Investors include Intel Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Azure Capital Partners.

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