On the 22nd of September, Ofcom released their latest report about Telecoms and Pay TV Complaints for the second quarter of 2015. The document covers complaints against the largest telecoms and pay TV providers as recorded by Ofcom.
In preparation, I reviewed the previous quarter’s report and I quickly noticed that I am not represented. As a small business owner myself, making up part of the nearly 5.2 million small businesses driving the UK economy, I find this a really strange and unacceptable omission. Small businesses are certainly consumers, just a different type.
“Ofcom’s principal duty is to further the interests of citizens and consumers, where appropriate by promoting competition. In doing so we must have regard to the interests of consumers in terms of price, quality of service and value for money”. Telecoms and Pay TV Complaints Q2 (April to June) 2015. http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/other/telecoms-research/complaints/Q2-2015/.
Are small businesses getting a raw deal from Ofcom?
You may ask, what’s my point? It’ very simple. Small businesses evidently are not considered in their own right. In my opinion, if organisations like Ofcom were to include a separate report for B2B providers (not just the big brand companies that provide for both residential and business) you might see a dramatic increase in the quality of service provided which would greatly improve the telecommunications services for small businesses up and down the country.
- Where companies serve both B2C and B2B markets the inclusion of complaints and information from a business perspective will give better insight into what needs to improve or change.
- For small business owners, choosing the right telecommunications provider is critical to running a business both in terms of price and performance.
- Simply put, better informed customers (business or residential) stimulate the market and drive competition.
- Good B2B providers would clearly be represented and subsequently, differentiated.
- There would be increased visibility of competition within the market.
In addition, I was even more surprised when reviewing the research methodology for compiling the details. Below is another statement from the report:
“Consumers, both residential and business, can contact Ofcom with complaints or enquiries over the phone, by letter or through one of the dedicated complaint submission forms on our website.” Telecoms and Pay TV Complaints Q2 (April to June) 2015.http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/other/telecoms-research/complaints/Q2-2015/.
Ofcom is supposedly getting information from residential and business customers but are visibly reporting on the customer side; therefore, they are not necessarily presenting an accurate view of the market. More often than not, the service delivered for business usage is different from the service for strictly residential customers. Suffice to say, they may have the necessary information to make a separation between B2B and B2C, but for some reason they aren’t doing it or reporting on it.
I believe that SME’s are overlooked when we speak about “customers”. Considering that in 2014, there were 5.2 million SMEs, accounting for 99.9% of business and generating 50% of the UK economy. Ward, Mathew, and Chris Rhodes. “Small Businesses and the UK Economy.” House of Common Library: 7. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.
I believe that we deserve more attention, especially from organisations like Ofcom, which claims that it exists to “help the citizens”.