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Ovum's eighth and largest survey of wholesale customers found significant gaps between wholesalers’ performance and their customers’ demands, particularly in terms of price and quality. Wholesalers must focus on closing the gaps between customer demands and perceptions by maintaining effective two-way communications with customers, and adapting their offers to more closely meet customer demands.

Wholesale customer loyalty must be earned

Ovum’s Wholesale Telecoms team have completed their largest ever survey of wholesale customers across the globe that compared priorities when selecting a new supplier and opinions of how well their existing suppliers are performing. Unfortunately, performance for price criteria has not improved since the previous survey in 2015 and has declined important quality criteria. Furthermore, the gaps between expectation and performance have increased for all price and quality criteria, particularly for price flexibility and service delivery times.

In addition, this survey confirmed the trend observed in previous editions that the buyers and users of wholesale services need to have reasons to be loyal to wholesale suppliers. Without convincing reasons for buying multiple services from the same provider, wholesale customers are willing to use different providers to secure the services, quality, and reach they require.

Wholesalers must pay close attention to the needs of customers when setting prices. They need to understand the pressures their customers are subject to and respond with suitably flexible and innovative pricing. Although wholesale customers are inevitably sensitive to all aspects of pricing due to competitive pressures and declining margins, quality considerations are even more important to many of these customers. Wholesalers must take note and act now to improve their service delivery, reliability, and quality.

To do this effectively, wholesalers must improve their communications with customers so that the suppliers can better understand the needs and demands of their customers and customers’ customers. Without significantly improved mutual understanding, wholesalers will lose customers to more open, communicative, and responsive suppliers.


Further reading

Wholesale Customer Survey 2018: Summary Findings, GLB006-000006 (July 2018)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2018: Attitudes to Price, GLB006-000008 (July 2018)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2018: The Importance of Quality, GLB006-000009 (July 2018)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2018: Portfolio Priorities, GLB006-000010 (July 2018)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2018: Relationships and Reputation, GLB006-000011 (July 2018)

Wholesale Customer Survey 2015: Summary Findings, TE0012-000535 (September 2015)


David James, Practice Leader, Wholesale Telecoms

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