Orange to tackle in-house dealer poaching

Orange to tackle in-house dealer poaching
Orange is to address the problem of its in-house retentions teams poaching dealers' customers as they come to the end of their contracts.

Dealers have long campaigned against the practice of poaching, which they claim is endemic to UK operators.

Orange sales director Steve Heald told Mobile that the operator is looking at how the problem can be tackled. Heald recently had his remit at Orange extended to include SME dealer and distributor relations.

Heald said: 'We are working on how best to share the data on customers and retentions. There is definitely more we can do to improve on this. We are working with our dealers and we are committed to doing this.'

However, he warned the solution will not appear 'overnight'. Heald also revealed that Orange is testing a new pricing model for its SME dealers in the first quarter of this year. If the trial is successful, Orange will extend it into 2010.

Heald said: 'We are always looking at commissions and price. It is a moveable feast. This quarter, the SME pricing model is on a monthly basis only; so for all our dealers, we are committed to a commercial plan for this quarter.'

He said the new deal is aimed at giving dealers more certainty. 'The aim is to give everyone consistency and the ability to go out, pitch and close a deal and not fall through the pipeline.'

The trial is already showing positive results. Heald said: 'We are going to see how it goes. It has been positive so far. Assuming it continues to work we will look at extending that approach.'

Orange plans to increase dealer support this year, as part of its plan to grow its SME business and its drive to push the iPhone in the SME sphere.

Heald said: 'This year, we want to make sure we are working with the right dealers and we want to give them the right support as they are the people who come into contact with our customers - the issue for Orange and our distributors is to find partners that work best.'

Orange is running training sessions via its distributors for its iPhone dealers. Heald said: 'We want to make sure we give our dealers the right support for what is a complex sell.'

He added: 'We want to make clear the business message around the iPhone, to get that message to our dealers so they can better sell the product - our dealers need to know what the right apps are for our SME customers - it is not just a physical sell.

'All our dealers have been through training sessions in the launch phase and there will be more over the next 12 months. We want our dealers to offer the best service experience.'

Heald said he was 'looking very closely' at taking on more SME dealers to sell the iPhone. He said sales of the device were going well, adding that Orange currently has 'more than 20 iPhone dealers'.
Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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