Telefónica O2 UK is gifting its Centre of Excellence partners 100,000 corporate and SME customer lines to manage.
The move is part of O2’s regionalisation strategy, which has seen it split its UK operation according to eight districts and its direct and indirect sales teams work together within them (see box).
The MPNs (mobile phone numbers) O2 is handing over will be managed by Centre of Excellence partners local to the clients.
O2 UK business sales manager Ben Dowd said the handover was also recognition of the work its closest channel allies are doing.
Its Centre of Excellence partners, the top 25 of its 85 direct dealers, took their combined base across both corporate and SME sectors to more than 500,000 connections in the last quarter.
Dowd said: “We have already moved a chunk of business onto them in recognition of the fact the indirect channel does a tremendous job for us, and delivers us really world-class churn.
“We recognise the indirect channel’s strengths. We are moving that up a notch, and handing it incremental business. From an account management perspective, and in terms of local relationships and knowledge, it is an unparalleled resource.”
The six-month transfer has started already, and will gather pace in the early New Year.
Dowd said O2 has made up significant ground on rival Vodafone in the UK corporate sector, which O2 defines as sales to businesses with more than 200 employees, and extended its lead over Vodafone in the UK SME market.
O2’s share of the UK corporate market stands at 33 per cent, up from 31 per cent. Vodafone has 41 per cent.
Dowd said O2 would lead Vodafone for corporate lines if the government sector, which Vodafone has traditionally monopolised, were discounted.
“Take that out, and we are ahead of Vodafone,” he said.
Even so, he claimed O2 was taking government contracts off Vodafone. It has single-digit churn among its corporate customers. Dowd said: “In the corporate market, we have not lost a single major corporate account in the past 12 months,” said Dowd.
O2’s share of the UK SME market is 37 per cent. It is number one for share in terms of volume and value, remarked Dowd.
He said O2 led Vodafone in both sectors for customer satisfaction, according to scores from research company TNS.
O2 will focus heavily next year on the public sector.
“It is a big growth area for us – financial services and education sectors, and local authorities and councils,” said Dowd.
“There will be a big push around the health sector, around e-health and e-learning. Police forces have been a huge success story for us – we serve around half of them in the UK already.”
Dowd, in charge of multinational corporate accounts across Europe for Telefónica, said the UK was setting the pace for the group in terms of service innovation and customer satisfaction.
He said: “Telefónica, itself, has a huge heritage in fixed line, and massive R&D capabilities. Latin America sets a standard for collaborative working, across multiple markets. The UK, in particular, is showing the way for customer insight and account management.”