Livvy’s Group: O2’s big game hunter

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Telecoms service provider Livvy’s Group has built up a base of big clients without singing from the rooftops. David Pittman went along to a customer event at Stamford Bridge to see what all the whispering is about

Livvy’s Group was born from managing director Mark Bowman’s consultancy firm, Livvy’s Consultants, which offered businesses support when choosing their telecoms systems.

From this small, two-customer enterprise, the company spotted an opportunity to broaden its horizons and offer solutions direct to clients, growing into today’s dealer business with 1,500-plus customers, among them the Barclays Premier League, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, electrical retailer Comet, food manufacturer Ferrero and the NHS on its books.

Growth occurred without being involved in partner and dealer channels, instead registering organic growth thanks to referrals from happy customers, and the company quickly drew the attention of the networks.

This led Bowman to make the decision in 2006 to move away from being a consultancy to operating as a reseller firm. As a result, its offering now includes mobile, landline, data and VoIP products, as well as technical support, repairs and recycling.

As an example, Livvy’s Group supplies Chelsea FC with mobile and landline products for both playing and non-playing staff, bulk SMS services and other marketing tools. From next season, fans will be able to join an official bulk SMS service and subscribe to matchday magazines from the club.

Liverpool FC is to get similar services, and elsewhere Livvy’s Group has been working on developing applications for the Premier League and handling all communications for Ferrero.

Says Bowman: “Landline was our starting point, but we quickly moved into mobile. The main driver of the business then was to give the best deal that we could; going back eight-10 years ago, there was a cost issue for customers.

“Over the years support became a major issue and how you manage the customers. As a consultancy business we couldn’t manage the customer in the same way as we didn’t have the direct contacts with the carriers.”

O2 partnership
Primarily, Livvy’s Group is engaged with O2, and has built up a strong relationship with it, culminating in the network naming Livvy’s Group as Centre of Excellence Data Partner of the Year 2009. The company is also a federated partner with Orange and has worked with Vodafone in the past.

However, O2 remains Livvy’s Group’s headline network partner.

“From a partner point of view, it is the easiest to deal with,” says Bowman.

“For customers, they are happy with O2’s network coverage and product set. It’s not gimmicky, which is no disservice to the other networks, but the price plans are very straightforward. We have a close relationship with O2 and see that going from strength to strength.”

Bowman notes that O2 is a data-centric network which suits the need of Livvy’s Group customers, who are not sold simply on cheap call packages.

Says Bowman “The market is definitely moving into data more and more; it is absolutely an area of growth. Going in and offering cheap minutes is not our driver and not how we communicate with our customers. It’s about how we partner with them to deliver the applications they want, whether it’s mobile or the integration of landline and PBX.”

O2’s Joined Up proposition is another plus for Bowman. He says the system’s processes are constantly being improved and refined for the benefit of customers and that the company “end-game is to use O2 as primary carrier for mobile, landline and broadband”.

Full article in Mobile News issue 468 (July 19, 2010).

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