Startling number of European businesses unsatisfied with network service quality

By Mervyn Kelly, Marketing Director EMEA at Ciena

A survey of over 400 senior IT decision makers amongst enterprises in Western Europe has revealed a startling lack of satisfaction with their connectivity services, as well as what I feel is an opportunity for service providers to directly address their enterprise customer pain points with tailored services.

The findings from this Ciena-sponsored survey showed that overall, almost four in ten surveyed enterprises fail to describe themselves as satisfied with the service quality and value of their WAN connectivity service, with similar results for French, German and UK enterprises specifically.

Dutch enterprises are particularly discontent, with almost half describing themselves as less than satisfied (47%).

These results imply that there is strong demand across all of these markets for service providers to improve business service offerings to better serve the evolving needs of enterprise customers.

"How satisfied are you with the service quality and value of your current WAN connectivity service provider?"  (400 respondents)


When I took a more detailed look at the results, it revealed that there were enterprises in particular sectors that display even greater degrees of dissatisfaction with their current connectivity provider. For example, in the utilities sector, more than four in ten surveyed companies (44%) described themselves as less than satisfied, followed closely by finance (43%) and the public sector (40%).

Enterprises were then asked about the key weakness they saw in their connectivity suppliers. Almost a quarter (23%) of companies in the financial sector cited the lack of tailored service level agreements, while the media & entertainment sector sees the low speed of connection as a weak point (27%), and utilities companies highlighted both the low speed of connection (18%) and low security standards (18%).

These findings highlight the need for connectivity suppliers to expand their emphasis from just the network to also include the specific requirements of the end customers. And luckily, there is an increasing array of options for connectivity service providers who’d like to improve on these failing grades. 

The increasing sophistication of Carrier Ethernet standards (see What the MEF’s CE2.0 initiative means for the industry) as wells the advancement of unified management and control plane technologies now enables service providers to offer truly tailored Ethernet-based connectivity services. 

These new services can not only increase customer satisfaction, but also open up new revenue streams as enterprises willingly open their wallets for the unique connectivity qualities they require.

In today’s increasingly competitive market, it is imperative for businesses to have satisfied customers, so I think it is clear that service providers need to differentiate their enterprise services to meet their customer’s specific needs, and their expectations.  

Notes on the survey: 
The research project surveyed 400 senior IT decision makers, including an equal number of participants from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and The Netherlands. 46% of the companies surveyed have more than 3,000 employees, 44% have between 1,000 and 3,000 employees, and 10% between 500 and 1,000.  The online survey was conducted by VansonBourne in December 2012.

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