Internet access has become a necessary investment; however, as businesses have a number of ISPs to choose from, it’s also seen as a commoditised service, making it crucial for ISPs to offer true value beyond just connectivity.

This is according to Wayne D’sa, CEO of CipherWave Business Solutions, who says internet services for home use may have overtaken insurance cover as people’s biggest grudge purchase. “For home users, fibre internet is still seen as fairly costly, and you’ll often see complaints about the quality of service. This speaks volumes about what customers expect from their ISP.”

For CipherWave, as a Tier 1 ISP, the big differentiators in the market are value and service. The company has grown organically into a B2B, B2C and wholesale service provider over the years, all on the back of its company culture of working to create value.

Shortening the value chain

D’sa says the company focuses on creating value across its ecosystem of customers and partners.

“As a smaller brand compared to some of the larger telcos, customers could ask why they should work with us. From a customer perspective, you want to deal with a supplier who is as far up the value chain as possible, because services can become diluted when dealing with a Tier 2 or Tier 3 ISP. As a Tier 1 ISP, we built our own network, getting as close to suppliers as possible, buying capacity directly from fibre network operators. We have invested heavily in our network presence and reach on key fibre and wireless networks, as well as interconnecting into public cloud hyperscalers, focusing on building direct relationships with the carriers and vendors to shorten the value chain across connectivity, cloud and voice landscape,” he says.

“As we built our connectivity business into an aggregator with access across all the telcos, other ISPs wanted access to these networks to offer the same value proposition, so we created value for them through our wholesale model that gives them access to a lower price point. They understand that in the value chain we can support them and create value for them and ultimately their customers.”

Service at scale

For D’sa, value creation can be as simple as being available and accessible to customers. “It’s about service, but good service requires ongoing effort and a commitment to understanding customers and working to exceed their expectations,” he says.

Understanding the customer and remaining accessible and available is one matter in the B2B space. However, this becomes more challenging at scale in the consumer space. D’sa says that as CipherWave Home-Connect scaled beyond 50 000 customers, the company took strategic measures to remain continuously accessible to all its customers.

“We didn’t want customers to sit on hold, and as we grew, we looked at how to achieve this. We moved from traditional ticket logging and phone calls, to offering other methods of customers contacting us, like via our mobile app and omni-channel solution with a view to having a consolidated point of reference and a single platform to track and monitor engagement. We moved to provide our customers choice of communication preference to service a need and add value,” D’sa says.

CipherWave agents also make every effort to be empathetic and offer useful advice, he notes. “Sometimes there is nothing we can do if – for example – a particular online service is down. But our agents understand how important it can be for customers, and will advise them on how to check the Home-Connect’s network status page to see when the service will be up again.”

In addition, CipherWave Home-Connect does not rely on its own customer surveys to understand customer sentiment – it actively measures its customer sentiment via online platforms for insight.

“We don’t believe people have time to respond to customer surveys, but they often post complaints online when they are unhappy. So we track Hellopeter and incentivise our staff to get good scores for responding to and resolving complaints. We also monitor social media and Speedtest by Ookla. Our monthly Exco meeting reviews positive and negative feedback and focuses on understanding the reasons for this and the process improvements we can make internally. Inside the organisation, one of our values is to exceed expectations of the customer. It’s part of our daily conversations and we continually work to ensure that the team viewpoint aligns with vision and mission. We don’t need to crack whips – we incentivise the team instead.”

Courtesy of ITWEB