Telco targets mid-sized businesses

29 September 2010

Another player has entered South Africa’s increasingly competitive telecoms market, with ARC Telecoms launching a new product and service offering targeting medium-sized businesses.

It offers connectivity and voice solutions as well as managed services and value added applications delivered via the cloud, already boasts over 100 active customers, and has agreements with local carriers such as WBS, Telkom, Neotel, MTN and Vodacom.

ARC also has the support of its advanced technical service delivery partners, Neology and Think IT.

Mid-sized businesses ‘lost in the gap’

According to ARC Telecoms CEO Steve Briggs, medium-sized enterprises are the heart of South Africa’s economy, employing the majority of people and contributing most to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), yet they remain massively under-serviced when it comes to telecommunications.

“There are a few giants servicing the enterprise space and lots of smaller service providers all wishing they could,” Briggs said in a statement this week. “The result is that the true economic powerhouses of the SA economy – medium-sized businesses – get lost in the gap between the very small and the very large.”

According to Briggs, ARC Telecoms has designed its network, services and support services to address the needs of the IT manager of a company employing between 50 and 200 people, with an IT budget and often more than one office location.

“ARC isn’t aiming to service the top 500 corporate companies, but we aren’t looking to work with one-man home office businesses either,” he said.

Mid-market focus, 14-day trial

Briggs said that when looking at what the company could do to make the IT buying decision easier for mid-sized companies, they realised that clients needed more information before they made the final choice to purchase or implement a technology.

“Rather than bombard already busy people with more spec sheets or white paper, we offer a no-strings-attached 14-day trial of any entry-level connectivity or voice service,” he said.

“Where feasible, we set up a two-week trial, where you are able to test the solution in your business environment before committing to a longer-term contract.”

SME-specific support, service levels

In terms of SME-specific support that ARC offers businesses, Briggs highlighted the adoption of a high-touch customer service model. “Every client has a dedicated account manager, not just the top few. There is nothing that says, ‘You don’t actually matter to us’ more clearly for South African businesses than being palmed off on a contact centre.

“We make sure customers have a specific, senior person who is responsible for getting their problems sorted out,” Briggs said.

ARC has also ensured carrier independence by partnering with a set of carriers rather than just one, and in that way can source the best last-mile connectivity option for their clients on a case-by-case basis.

The service level agreements are another area where ARC has taken a realistic attitude. “We offer our customers realistic, price-competitive service level agreements that we can all live with, and that delivers what their business needs to run,” said Briggs.

“It’s not about perfect networks – it’s about having the right level of service so that technology doesn’t get in the way of business.”

SAinfo reporter

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