What a customer-centric carrier really looks like

When comparing carrier options, if you find one that boasts ultra-low latency, maximum bandwidth capacity, guaranteed connectivity, completely redundant and diverse routes, and excellent tech support, you’ve stumbled upon the Holy Grail – or have you?

With very few exceptions, most carriers offer similar network connectivity options, use the same buzzwords to describe their network’s superiority over the competition and charge similar prices.

So how does a carrier stand out in this vast sea of sameness and win over savvy buyers? By becoming curious, creative and customer-centric.

The Struggle to Buy Connectivity is Real

The sheer number of connectivity options and solutions can overwhelm buyers, and the breadth of choices continues to grow as new technologies, network service providers and critical infrastructures continue to emerge. Not to mention, there can be multiple decision makers involved – at different stages and in varying degrees – in the process of purchasing network solutions. And everyone brings multiple pieces of information gathered independently to the table as the team explores all possible avenues.

To say buying connectivity services is a challenging process is an understatement.

Fortunately, there are a few criteria today’s network buyers define as must-haves, which simplifies decision-making. They all crave seamless connectivity and accessibility anytime, from anywhere, and they want fast resolutions to their unique business challenges.

Inviting customers to drill down further into these must-haves will help you uncover what’s unique to their organization, and it’s crucial to achieving customer-centric success.

Customer-Centric Carriers Simplify the Connectivity Buying Process

Today’s customers want to feel valued, understood and looked after. Far too many carriers consider telecom purchases transactional and miss out on opportunities. Truly differentiating your solutions from competitors requires a personal (and more human) touch.

Just because customers are likely exploring similar options with different vendors, they are not seeking a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s incredibly important for carriers to focus on each customer’s unique needs, rather than the need to make a sale.

Get curious about the customer. Ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand their day-to-day challenges and future growth opportunities. Guessing what the customer might buy or rushing the sale never ends well – for you or the buyer. A customer-centric carrier stays laser focused on identifying the needs, challenges and pain points of its customers and then builds a precise solution to sell them.

Use creative problem solving. There’s a famous quote attributed to Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This illustrates an important point that most customers can describe their problems (like wanting to get somewhere faster), but they’re unable to identify the best solution. That’s exactly what a customer-centric carrier can do for them.

View customer-centricity as a state of mind. Becoming a customer-centric carrier requires you to view your entire business differently. Everything and everyone must align with what is good for the customer. Customer-centric carriers’ contracts, capabilities, benefits, onboarding, SLAs, etc. should all be designed to deliver what is best for the customer.

Crosslake Rolls Out Customer-Centric Pricing Model

Crosslake Fibre’s Metered Dark Fibre Solution is one of our most recent customer-centric innovations.

We noticed many companies seeking reliable, high-capacity connectivity via dark fibre were often unable to leverage its benefits because everyone (including us at the time) only offered standard leases or an IRU for infinite capacity over a long period of time. It required a significant capital investment that simply wasn’t possible for some organisations.

This pricing model worked out well for large enterprises transferring so much data that charges for purchasing bandwidth from an ISP were higher than if they paid a monthly flat fee for dark fibre through a carrier. But for organisations that were unable to reach the inflection point, the pricing model put the benefits of dark fibre just beyond their reach.

We wanted to change that.

So we came up with a more creative (and customer-centric) pricing model to make dark fibre more attainable – metered dark fibre. Rather than charge for full capacity upfront, we can measure light levels on a customer’s dark fibre line and generate an invoice based on monthly utilisation. So the enterprise only pays for what’s used – nothing more, nothing less.

If we’ve proven anything in our recent history, we’re willing to disrupt the status quo. It’s in vogue to say you’re “disruptive” – but ask for proof. I’m thrilled to be a part of the customer-centric movement in carrier engagement because it means I get to help customers attain goals and solve problems, so they can achieve their business aspirations every day.

Despite the adage, ‘curiosity killed the cat,’ I think curiosity is vital to developing a truly successful vendor-partner relationship in telecom. So, go ahead – ask me anything. – Fergus Innes, COO

Learn more about Metered Dark Fibre.