Merger Synergies and CX

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Merger Synergies and CX

Sonus is merging with GENBAND. Last year Sonus bought Taqua for $20M. The talk is all about synergies and higher EBITDA. Oh and Accretive. No talk about how they will better serve their customers.

CenturyLink is saying that after it scoops up Level3, they will be able to compete with cable in the SMB space. Really? You are going to offer up $300 pipes?

"Basically take some market share away from the cable companies, especially on the small and midsize customers where Qwest had lost quite a bit of market share when we bought Qwest." So you broke Qwest and its ability to sell to the SMB. What makes C-Link think you will find your mojo again?

I'm certain that during the 20+ months of integration, it will be challenging for a small business to procure bandwidth from you.

Charter/Spectrum makes it very hard to order from. It takes weeks to get a quote and contract. Then the order has to be scrubbed, checked and double-checked for 2-3 weeks. Another site survey as time ticks away and the client wonders when they will see the circuit. And despite this horrendous process of 7 departments having to touch the order (probably on paper in a file folder), it will look easy compared to a combined LEC of LevelLink or Century3 or whatever you call it.

It used to just be voice that was a bitch to deal with. LNP and toll-free RESPORs were a pain with added paperwork. Then with Hosted PBX, the extension to email mapping and other PBX planning (hunt groups, ACD, auto attendant) added to the complexity. Voice has many moving parts. Now network takes as long as voice!! Or longer. Even when there is NO construction necessary.

Makes me fear selling anything complex with most carriers.

The one thing that gets missed all the time: It isn't about EBITDA or synergies or fiber. It is about the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE*!

End to end - from the time the prospect first encounters the provider until the long after the service is up and running, every touch of the prospect/customer adds to or takes away from the experience. Billing, support, admin, delays, lack of communications, handling expectations, CPE, and more are touch points where the CX could be improved.

It is interesting that a company would spend big dollars to redesign a website but not redesign its contract or quoting process or customer care service. Google Fiber was deliberate in how the sales offices would look and feel; the color of the boxes for CPE; and so much more. Their take rate and deployment were awful but the marketing details were very good.

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With cratering revenues, I get why the merger mania is happening. But that doesn't solve the underlying problem that revenues are cratering and all products are a commodity. Until that is fixed, the rest of the actions - the new website, the mergers - are just distractions for stakeholders.

Our industry has new technology called SD-WAN that we have already over-hyped and turned into a commodity. It is hard to believe that it is all about cost savings already. Basically, you have explained to customers that broadband is just fine with a 4G card and an SD-WAN box in place of a Cisco or ADTRAN. So boom! there goes the Ethernet sales and MPLS can't be ripped out fast enough. Like Charlie Brown with a kite!

*CX or UX stands for Customer or User Experience



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