Metro Wholesalers Regain Lost Ground with Large Customers

A renewed focus on growth products and segments is paying off for metro wholesalers. According to data from the 2013 edition of ATLANTIC-ACM’s Metro Wholesale Service Provider Report Card, customer satisfaction with metro wholesalers’ overall operations surged 4.4 percent in 2013, reversing losses of 2.5 percent and 1.1 percent in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Digging into customer ratings, we find that these gains demonstrate improvement in metro wholesalers’ tactical approaches to meeting customer needs. While this year’s strategic push lifted operations ratings among customers both large (spending more than $1 million monthly) and midsize-and-under customers (less that $1 million), satisfaction increased a remarkable 5.2 percent among larger customers, compared to 3 percent among those spending less than $1 million. In other words, we see metro wholesalers going the extra mile in response to criticism while generating even greater satisfaction with large customers.

This same dynamic appears in network performance ratings, which increased 2.7 percent from 2012 to 2013 – a complete reversal from two years of ratings declines. Beneath this overall improvement, we again find data points supporting renewed focus on large customers and their heavy impact on revenue and network economics. Customers spending less than $1 million per month gave a modest, 0.6 percent bump to metro wholesalers this year. Customers spending more than $1 million per month, however, rated network performance 5.6 percent higher year-over-year, reflecting the increased focus on high-volume customers.

Customer satisfaction with metro wholesale products is stronger in aggregate as well this year. On the omnipresent question of value (or perceived value), customers rated voice product quality flat year-over-year, but were 3 percent more satisfied with voice price competitiveness. On the data side, customers rated both attributes higher – satisfaction with data product quality ratings increased 2.9 percent this year while data price competitiveness surged by 6.8 percent.

It’s noteworthy that, while metro wholesalers continue to perform strongly with wireless customers, this year’s increases in satisfaction correlate more strongly with large customers than with the wireless vertical. While there are no signs whatsoever of wireless losing its influence as the underlying growth driver for wholesale, the ability of metro wholesalers to drive higher satisfaction among large customers independent of vertical may signal the beginning of more sophisticated needs assessment and service delivery on a customer-by-customer basis.

This analysis originally appeared at B/OSS.

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