Parallel Lines: Joined-up UC

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Unified communications and customer relations

It’s time to stop talking about unified communications for customers and actually provide them with the products and services they really want. That is, after all, what great consumer relationships are built on.

For a long time this industry has spoken about providing one end-to-end service for customers. In my opinion, it is only now that we are starting to see the real benefits emerging.

We’ve launched our ‘Joined Up’ communications project range with a view to provide exactly that. Six months on from the launch and I’m confident O2 has started down the right road, albeit there is a long way to go until we have it right.

Whether it has been a series of fixed and mobile products aimed at the SME market, sold directly or indirectly, or optimising telecoms networks and systems for corporate customers, we now have a service which really does fit almost any customer profile.

However, Joined Up is not simply an O2 strap line – it is built on customer and partner insight. We know that our customers want to have one point of contact and in that they also want as many products and services from one place as they can get. Why? It simply makes them more efficient.

I want to understand business needs and I see engagement as being central to the success of partners and operators. The more we work closely and personally with our customers, the more chance we both have of being successful.

Customer needs have changed and our industry has to evolve if it wants to continue to be successful in this space.

Customers want a complete service wrap that incorporates all that they have needed in the past and also the additional services they need now and in the future. This has to include mobile and fixed services, as well as additional managed services and support.

I believe we have the best partners in the industry and in addition we want to forge relationships with those partners that operate in adjacent markets. But we have got to continue to talk to our partners and understand what they need and then deliver on it.

I have often said it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and this is even more pertinent now.

I want to help businesses, big or small, become more effective and efficient by removing the costly and complex management of multiple communications suppliers.

Full article in Mobile News issue 460 (March 29, 2010).

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