Third of IT decision-makers rely on ‘gut feel’ when choosing network operator

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Third of IT decision-makers rely on ‘gut feel’ when choosing network operator
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

A third (32%) of business leaders admit that over 50% of their decision-making process is based on emotional response or ‘gut feel’ when choosing a network provider. 

This is according to a new report from Arelion (formerly Telia Carrier), a provider of telecommunication services.

Decision-makers in the US are particularly driven by emotion, with 46% attributing over half of their decision-making processes to it. The survey was conducted in the US, UK, France and Germany, and the report “The Quest for Network Quality in 2022” provides insights into how enterprise leaders assess the quality of their network providers, and the services they offer.

Findings reveals that – when it comes to the network and services – ‘quality’, in a network services sense, is a broad and somewhat intangible concept, without a single commonly accepted definition.  And while, for most leaders, network quality is a given – with SLAs acting as a key safety net – it does not define or capture all the qualities that matter to decision makers.

Communication is key

Business leaders rank trustworthiness, professionalism and experience as the top reasons for selecting a network operator. When asked whether consistent and transparent communication or speed (in terms of delivery and operations) is more important to them when choosing a network provider, 64% of respondents said that communication is by far the prime practical quality required (speed was just 36% of the vote).

In addition to this, a resounding 84% of decision-makers believed it should always be possible to speak with a customer services person without using chatbots or automated phone lines. In the US, 90% of leaders were adamant about this. 62% of US respondents were also markedly ahead of their UK, French, and German counterparts when it comes to insisting that the first contact is with someone who is technically qualified to solve their problem.

Top teams

Unsurprisingly, overall network performance is the area of most importance for business leaders with over a two-thirds (67%) claiming to have replaced their provider due to poor quality. When it comes to the responses from the different markets, US decision-makers again stand out as the most likely to change provider over quality issues (72%), followed by Germany (68%). However, a surprisingly high proportion of respondents (68%) admitted to making the change due to a poor relationship with their account manager, with less than a third choosing to just change the representative. US leaders (77%) and German leaders (69%) are particularly prone to pulling the trigger in this way, along with 62% of UK and 59% of French decision-makers. The findings strongly suggest that network providers must get the appointment of their account managers right, as they can make or break the customer-vendor relationship regardless of how an operator might be meeting its SLA obligations.

Negative impacts

Leaders were asked which experiences would have the most negative impact on their perception of quality with their current operator. Over a third (34%) cite repeated network failings, followed closely by dishonesty at 27%. Looking at individual countries, the US stood out with 31% of leaders saying that they are most adversely affected by not being able to speak to someone.

Based on the experience of dealing with different network operators, leaders were asked what they see as the most consistent quality failure across the industry. The primary one cited, with 18% of the vote, is lack of transparency, followed by poor security (16%). While the US and UK refer to a lack of transparency, leaders in France and Germany prioritize unresponsiveness and poor security.

Andy Everest, VP, Procurement & Service Delivery at Arelion, said: “Overall, this research provides valuable insights into what enterprise leaders are experiencing in terms of network and service quality. It gives a clear steer on what they are looking for, which ultimately comes down to their network provider delivering quality – in its broadest sense.

“The challenge for network buyers is that a true evaluation of network service quality goes beyond a simple comparison of performance KPIs and business leaders need to make an assessment of several less tangible attributes that contribute to a compelling customer experience.”

Study Methodology

Research was conducted on behalf of Arelion by Savanta, a specialist in digital data collection. A survey was carried out online in the first half of 2022 with 754 industry representatives in the US, UK, Germany, and France.

All participants in the research work for enterprises with more than 4,000 people. They come from a range of industries, led by: Wholesale (including content providers and mobile network operators) (202); IT services (156); Manufacturing/engineering (93); Finance/financial services (80); Technology/business services (70); Banking (58). All worked for enterprises of more than 4,000 people. All participants are involved in decision-making regarding their company’s network development strategy, with 59% having the last word and final sign-off responsibility for this area.

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