Therapy for business customers: what do business customers do when faced with CSP dissatisfaction?

Business customers, like anyone, sometimes have problems with their communication services providers’ (CSPs) services. CSPs, as you might expect, try to resolve the problems of all their customers. But the more service problems a business customer experiences over the course of a year, the less likely they are to remain silent about it.

In partnership with CSG, MachNation surveyed businesses about the actions they take when they are dissatisfied with their CSP. These insights and many more are in our Business Services Global Survey 2014 – an online survey of over 800 businesses worldwide.

Today we will discuss the actions that businesses take when they are dissatisfied with their CSPs and what CSPs should do about it.

Top findings

Businesses that experience more than two unsatisfactory events with their CSP in a 12-month period are twice as likely to broadcast their concerns. See figure 1.

Figure 1: Percentage businesses taking various actions when having problems with CSPs; businesses with 1-2 problems per year, businesses with more than 2 problems per year, n= 823 [Source: Business Services Global Survey 2014, MachNation, 2014]

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A whopping 58% of businesses experiencing more than 2 problems a year will escalate to a CSP manager. This isn’t all that surprising, but escalation to a manager is just the first step taken to flag concern about a CSP’s service quality. By comparison, 45% of business users with 2 or fewer issues will escalate to a manager.

Over a quarter – 28% to be precise – of businesses experiencing more than 2 problems a year will share their stories with people outside their companies. This is a real concern for CSPs. No seller of products or services wants business customers acting as detractors, sharing their bad news with other potential customers. Preventing this occurrence is important for all CSPs.

18% of businesses experiencing more than 2 problems a year will post a complaint on social media. This is another sign of the power of social media’s growing importance; we were not sure at the outset if social media would appear as a venting mechanism for business dissatisfaction, as it seems to be for consumers. While 18% may not seem like a large number, by comparison only 10% of businesses with 2 or fewer issues use social media to post complaints.

So what should CSPs do to minimize or prevent the spreading of dirty laundry about businesses’ service problems?

Recommendations for Communications Service Providers

CSPs leveraging best practices in managing enterprise customer satisfaction create incident dashboards for both internal and external use, tracking customer-related problems of all types – service issues, disputes, billing issues – as they arise and are resolved. Business customers, like most of us, tolerate a small number issues, but above the 2x/year threshold a business is more likely to spread the bad news and potentially seek alternative sources for its communications and IT services.

Further, best practices encourage CSPs to optimize processes that identify recurring problems that most likely impact multiple business customers. Identifying those problems early will result in improved quality of service across the board, resulting in higher customer satisfaction scores and lower churn. High-quality analytics provided in near real-time can help provide some of the data to make good decisions.

Finally, CSPs that are proactive about customer problems reach out to customers and provide regular status updates. Business customers are focused on minimizing risks to their businesses, and status updates are a good way to help them feel included in the resolution of problems. The business user can share problem resolution statuses internally, building trust between employees responsible for technology delivery and his colleagues.


While CSPs seek to exceed customer expectations, sometimes things go awry.  But CSPs can implement strong OSS, BSS, analytics, incident dashboards and root cause analysis processes to help track and reduce errors and minimize the impacts on their business customers.

In my next two blogs, I will discuss the importance of creating broad, strong support ecosystems for today’s business customers and look at the types of support that business customers will want in the future.

Stay tuned for more insights from MachNation’s and CSG’s Business Services Global Survey 2014 soon!

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