One 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, according to a new report from Arelion.
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.
According to the report, 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.
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 prioritise unresponsiveness and poor security.
"Overall, this research provides valuable insights into what enterprise leaders are experiencing in terms of network and service quality," says Andy Everest, vice president, procurement & service delivery at Arelion.
"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," he says.
"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."