Many months ago Ofcom announced changes to the process internet service providers use to transfer DSL & other session initiating services from one supplier to another. This article is the old process, the new process & the impact on the industry & consumer both processes have.
Currently, service providers follow the well-known MAC process. A process that (in short), gives a customer an opportunity to call through to their current supplier to request either a better deal, or lose the business. A fundamental part of business & negotiation, a part of business that provides opportunity to form relationships on both sides of the phone.
Under Ofcom regulations, where a consumer or small business (with 10 or less employees) wishes to change broadband provider, a MAC must be issued within 5 working days of the request. Companies must offer at least two methods of providing a MAC (by email, phone or post etc).
You should then present the MAC to the ISP you want to switch to and it will then process the request to migrate and inform you of the transfer date. The service should then be transferred seamlessly and with little or no disruption of service.
However, there are some circumstances where the losing broadband supplier can refuse to provide a MAC. If the broadband supplier cannot confirm they are dealing with the named account holder. If the broadband service has already been disconnected or in the process of being disconnected. If the broadband supplier has already issued a MAC and it is still valid. If the broadband supplier is unable to obtain the MAC from their own supplier or if the broadband service is supplied through a full Local Loop Unbundling package.
The process is well established & has been for a long time. As technology changes & grows, it is absolutely vital that the industry reacts & applies processes that suit the technologies. After all, if we are looking at a gigantic shakeup in the industry with all the M&A activity happening & so on. We must then have a system that future proofs us for when the mergers & acquisitions happen. Process & regulation is an imperative part of what we do in this industry. This process & regulation is there to stop things like “slamming” & fraud. It’s also there to protect our valued customers (and businesses) from certain types of sales activity.
In light of the M&A activity & new technologies, Ofcom announced a long time ago that by the 24th of April, all providers of carrier pre-selection (CPS) and wholesale line rental (WLR) will require a valid and active reseller identity (RID) code.
From this date, a RID will be required for all the order types placed on the WLR Gateway and CPS Service Provider Gateway for the order types listed below. A RID will be required by all providers offering CPS and WLR even if they already have a CPSO ID 8xxx code or a Service Provider ID.
For WLR order types, a valid and active RID is required for: New Provide, Standard Transfer, Like-for-like transfer, Conversion, and Remote Call Forwarding when a new presence is required only. For CPS order types, a valid and active RID is required for: Set-up, WLR set-up, and Renumber set-up. This process is designed to be a more up to date process for migrations & new provides as it states above. But let’s look at the impact this could have, negative & positive.
Now, if a customer wishes to migrate away from their incumbent, they only need to inform the gaining supplier. The gaining supplier then notifies the losing supplier & the losing supplier must issue the notification of acceptance within 10 working days. This notification of acceptance must include the date of transfer & who the gaining supplier is etc. Along with the sorry to see you go message & that’s about it. However, the losing supplier will not be allowed to try and retain the customer & rescue the business. So the service in question then moves to new supplier.
Whereas before the consensus is that the MAC process gives a supplier a far greater chance to understand their customer & understand what they need to do to keep the business and grow from that experience. They will now not have those opportunities & it will inherently impact the way customer service works in many ways. I foresee this being initially an extremely frustrating process from a retention point of view. After all, what is the need for a COT team or a retention team if they aren’t allowed to retain losing services? How many people will be either out of the job, or moved internally over a period of time & pooling. That’s quite a logistical operation for any organisation regardless of size or resource. A lot of time & money goes into business transformation.
How will this affect the way businesses learn from their leaving clients? This could impact reporting & therefore effect growth strategies and customer experience. Not to mention they are actually increasing the amount of time it takes to feedback from 5 working days, to 10 working days.
If we look wider at what Ofcom really want to achieve with this which is as we’ve said above, a better more up to date secure migration process & an overall, more competitive, successful industry. Then that will take time. What this change will do is fundamentally change the way companies manage accounts, run tech support services, run customer services teams & manage expectations. In my opinion, in a positive manor.
What this will drive is a few key behaviours across sales & service as a whole. This will drive “get it right first time” attitudes. Ensuring the customer is getting what is right from them from the off. This will ensure that the initial sale is fully understood by all parties & that the customer understand the value of what they’re receiving. This will then further impact proper account management behaviours, being proactive rather than reactive. Actively growing with your customer & understanding at all times how you can help them. This will ensure that support & customer services are working to retain business at all times, rather than just at the end of a contract.
This new process will incentivise entire businesses to focus on the customer rather than the sale. Which can only be positive. I think initially this will be extremely frustrating & tough to get used too. Because it is not only a process change, but a whole new culture change. However as time progresses & this process is fully implemented & the impact of the process begins to effect business, we will begin to see higher levels of customer satisfaction across the industry. We will also start to see value based selling & not price based selling. We will stop driving down value across the industry by focusing purely on price, because there is no longer an excuse to do otherwise else you’ll lose the business. Overall I believe that this will not only benefit the customers perception of telco & give them confidence in buying, but it will also benefit suppliers/carriers as a business & help the business grow positively & honestly. I actually think it’s a very clever way of forcing change.