Talk Talk is targeting the small business segment of the b2b market with a ‘disruptive’ MVNO offering, launching with O2 in 2015. The brand says it has made progress in this space and intends to expand its customer base further by targeting BT’s hold on the small business community.
Mobile spoke to Talk Talk business director of direct sales Andrew Hollingworth about exactly how the brand planned to attract the small business community: ‘We have a big strategy for going into the small business market, we’ve been looking at the sub-20, sub-10 firms. BT is the dominant player in this space almost by default; it has around 45% of the business segment. We believe we can offer these customers more following the launch of our business packages, which have got a very positive response. We have thousands of small businesses joining us to take these bundles.
‘We have a track record of disrupting the market and we believe that the new offering will be a success. Before we launch anything into the market we do extensive market research to find out what our potential customers are looking for. What we offer has to be right for SMEs – often they don’t like contracts or fixed costs. We expect our business offering to be ready by mid-2015 and it will be very disruptive in the market,’ he added.
Small and moving
A number of small businesses have embraced the mobility that modern technology provides. Being available to speak to customers at all hours becomes even more critical for small businesses where every client counts. To this end, Talk Talk has developed an app that enables customers to link a fixed line number to their mobile, Hollingworth explained: ‘The talk-to-go app has helped add to the mobility aspect of this package because it links a fixed line number to a mobile, allowing a business owner to be in constant contact with any potential customers. This service also helps to reduce landline costs for the small business owner.’
Flexibility is another key aspect of Talk Talk’s small business offering. The business doesn’t focus on the device when it comes to its clients because the company believes that often that choice has already been made, Hollingworth added: ‘From a business perspective we are device agnostic; our customers have made their choice when it comes to devices. Typically they are already on a contract of some sort. The handset decision is a personal one that is still driven by consumer demands.’
Talking the talk
The small business community is one that is frequently generalised by outside parties, and this is something Talk Talk is very keen not to do, as Hollingworth explained: ’We are keen not to generalise when it comes to small and medium sized businesses; the communication channels are different depending on the segment; the Soho market for instance is completely different to SMEs. These businesses have very different profiles when it comes to customers. Often customers will be enticed by a ‘hero’ product and end up taking a ‘hero’ solution, which might not be the right one for them.’
Communicating with this type of business can be another issue for service providers, but Talk Talk feels that good retention and word of mouth can go a long way in this market, as Hollingworth explained: ‘We have to make sure that we also keep doing the right job in terms of retention in the existing base. If you get it right then the power of word of mouth is something that will also be a useful tool. Customer acquisition is important, but retention and giving a total solution is key to success.’
The whole package
For any business service provider the convergence of different product offerings in the IT and telecommunications space is an issue that is arising more and more frequently. It’s something that Talk Talk is certainly taking seriously, as Hollingworth explained: ‘Convergence is occurring at a pace that we haven’t seen before, and we are finding that customers want us to be device agnostic. In our mid-market segments we have a unified comms section that offers a more converged service. It doesn’t matter where the customer is, they want to be able to access important information. We would never want to enter a market as a ‘me too’, we wanted to enter the market with something that stood out and made sense for small businesses.’