Historically, ISPs did not have a distinct business model and borrowed heavily from the models and services of traditional telecommunications companies. This led to ISPs adopting a similar appearance and offering similar services to telcos. However, as ISPs have evolved and moved beyond this transitional phase, they now face the challenge of defining their own future and relevance to a technologically savvy customer base.
Implementing the practices discussed in this article will create a solid foundation for your ISP business to grow in 2023. Take advantage of this opportunity to set your business up for success!
In order to be successful in today’s overcrowded and highly competitive market ISPs must adopt these 9 habits:
1. Analyzing market trends and aligning offerings with customer expectations
It is important to constantly analyze market trends and align your offerings with customer expectations in order to remain attractive to customers. This is especially crucial in a rapidly changing market with the development of new technologies and increased competition. Failing to do so can lead to falling behind in the market.
Here are a few key points to consider when analyzing market trends and aligning your offerings with customer expectations:
- Speed: One of the primary factors that customers consider when choosing an ISP is the internet speed. With the increasing reliance on the internet for various activities, customers expect high-speed internet that can handle multiple devices and bandwidth-intensive tasks such as streaming and online gaming.
- Reliability: In today’s connected world, customers expect their internet to be reliable and consistently available. An unreliable internet connection can be frustrating for customers and can lead to lost productivity and revenue for businesses. As an ISP, it is essential to invest in infrastructure and technology to ensure that your internet service is reliable.
- Data allowance: With the increasing use of streaming services and online gaming, customers are consuming more data than ever before. As an ISP, it is essential to offer data plans that cater to the needs of different customer segments. For example, you may want to offer unlimited data plans for heavy users and smaller data allowances for lighter users.
- Providing value-added services such as Wi-Fi, Cybersecurity, Hotspots, etc
As the demand for internet services increases, ISPs are constantly looking for ways to differentiate themselves and provide additional value to their customers. One way to do this is by offering value-added services (VAS) such as Wi-Fi, cybersecurity, and hotspots.
According to Parks Associates research, around 50% of all US broadband households receive a value-added service from their service provider. Anti-virus service is the most popular VAS among consumers, while other VASs show promise among specific consumer segments. These services allow ISPs to enhance the customer experience and increase customer loyalty.
ISPs can set up Wi-Fi hotspots in high-traffic areas such as malls, libraries, movie theaters, airports, and commercial buildings. These services can be offered on a subscription or short-term prepaid basis, allowing users to purchase access for a specific period of time. However, many mobile operators prefer to partner with existing ISPs rather than setting up their own Wi-Fi hotspots due to the high cost and resources required to establish and maintain these hotspots in various locations. Mobile operators may sell their bandwidth to ISPs, who can then handle the maintenance and quality of service for the Wi-Fi hotspots. This can provide ISPs with the opportunity to increase their business and revenue in the current market.
If you want to offer the in-demand anti-virus service to your target audience, consider using the Cybersecurity solution for ISPs offered by Splynx.
2. Prioritizing customer experience and ensuring consistent, high-quality service
In a business-to-consumer (B2C) model where Internet connectivity is critical, it is important for businesses to prioritize creating a superior customer experience. This includes ensuring consistent, high-quality service and broadband speeds, especially during peak hours. To be successful in this sector, ISPs must become customer-centric.
Improving customer experience can help reduce churn (customers canceling their service) and increase referrals. A positive customer experience includes effective after-sale support, technical assistance, and minimal downtime on the network. When customers feel that they are getting value for their money and trust the company, they are less likely to churn and more likely to recommend the service to others, leading to an increase in customer base and revenue.
It is common for people to become annoyed or frustrated when things do not go as planned. For example, when the internet is not working, a customer may call a company for assistance and expect a quick resolution. If the issue is not promptly addressed, the customer may become angry. Dealing with an angry customer can be challenging, but it is important for customer service agents to be able to empathize with the customer and show understanding. One effective way to do this is by actively listening to the customer and making them feel heard.
Metaphorically, being a “human, not a bot” means providing personalized, human-to-human interactions with customers. When a customer contacts the ISP with questions or issues, they expect to speak with a person who can fully understand and address their concerns. Automated responses or pre-written information found on the internet are often insufficient and do not provide the level of detail and personalized assistance that customers desire. Thus, establishing a professional support team always ready to help your subscribers is crucial for your success.
3. Equipping and training front-end staff with the right tools and skills to interact with customers effectively
To provide excellent customer service, it is essential to equip and train front-end staff with the right tools and skills to interact with customers effectively. As customer needs and requirements often change, it is important to have flexible and responsive back-end processes in place to stay updated and communicate these changes to front-end staff. This helps ensure that customers receive consistent, high-quality service.
It is beneficial for small ISPs to provide training sessions and workshops for their employees to help them improve their skills and stay up-to-date on new strategies and techniques. These types of training can also help employees develop their interpersonal skills, which can enable them to more effectively communicate with and assist customers. Providing ongoing training and development opportunities for employees can help to ensure that they are able to effectively and efficiently serve your customers. Ultimately, your professional personnel can give you a competitive advantage over telcos.
4. Applying the right technology solutions that meet current and future needs
To streamline processes and make them more efficient, it is important to apply the right technology solutions. These solutions should not only meet current needs, but also be able to adapt to future needs. It is vital to thoroughly understand your requirements and the purpose of the technology before making a selection, as choosing the wrong solution can hinder efficiency and potentially even undermine the effectiveness of the business model.
By implementing a robust billing and network management system like Splynx, ISPs can improve the efficiency of their operations and provide a better experience to their customers. It can also help ISPs to reduce costs and improve their bottom line.
“Splynx has a clear potential to make small and medium-sized ISPs play like the big players in the market, so definitely we are fully capable to compete and offer services without the limitation that billing and management software like Splynx can offer. Splynx is very advanced software. It’s giving every ISP the prestige of playing a big game”, – Dritan Vreshta, CEO & Founder of Starnet, and our loyal customer. You can read more about how Starnet gained competitiveness against big players after switching to Splynx from multiple solutions.
5. Implementing a clear vision and strategy for the company, and developing a plan to make it a reality
A well-defined vision and strategy provide a roadmap for the future, helping to guide decision-making and ensure that your ISP stays on track. However, developing a vision and strategy is just the first step – implementing it and making it a reality is where the real work begins.
This might involve conducting a thorough analysis of the market, the competition, and the needs of your customers, and using that information to identify your unique value proposition and target market. It is also important to consider your long-term goals for the business, and to establish clear, measurable key objectives that will help you track progress towards those goals.
This might involve identifying the resources that you will need to execute your plan, including personnel, funding, and technology. It is also important to consider the timeline for implementing your plan, and to establish milestones and checkpoints along the way to help you track progress.
6. Staying up-to-date on changing regulations, managing governance, risk, and compliance
As an Internet Service Provider, staying up-to-date on changing regulations can be a daunting task. Not only must you ensure compliance with laws and regulations related to your industry, but you must also manage the governance, risk, and compliance that come with operating a business in the digital age. This includes everything from lawful intercept requirements, to cyber law, to credit card processing and privacy requirements. Keeping up with these changes can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, but it is crucial for the long-term success of the business.
Managing risk is another important aspect of running an ISP. This includes identifying potential risks to the business, such as cyber threats, and implementing strategies to mitigate those risks. Finally, compliance is a key concern for ISPs. This includes not only compliance with industry regulations, but also compliance with laws and regulations related to data protection, privacy, and other issues.
To stay up-to-date on changing regulations, it is important for ISPs to have a system in place for tracking and monitoring new laws and requirements. This might involve subscribing to industry newsletters, attending conferences and workshops, or working with a legal team to stay informed. In addition, ISPs should have processes in place for regularly reviewing and updating their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with new regulations. It is important for ISPs to have a strong leadership team in place, as well as a well-defined chain of command, to ensure that decisions are made in an effective and efficient manner.
Consider having a robust cybersecurity plan in place, as well as a system for regularly reviewing and updating that plan to ensure it remains effective. To ensure compliance, ISPs should have a system in place for regularly reviewing and updating their policies and procedures, as well as for training employees on their responsibilities and obligations.
7. Ensuring strong alignment and effective communication throughout the organization
One of the key ways to ensure strong alignment and effective communication throughout an ISP is through the development of a clear and well-defined organizational structure. This structure should include clear lines of authority and communication, as well as clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all employees. By establishing a clear organizational structure, ISPs can ensure that all employees understand their roles and how they fit into the overall operation of the company.
Another important aspect of ensuring strong alignment and effective communication is the development of clear and consistent company policies and procedures. These policies and procedures should be clearly communicated to all employees and should be consistently enforced. This will help to ensure that all employees understand the expectations of the company and are able to work together effectively.
It is important to ensure that customer service agents have accurate and up-to-date information about packages, services, and pricing. If incorrect information is provided to a customer, they may feel frustrated and misled, and this can lead to a negative perception of the company. To avoid this, it is important to regularly update customer service agents on any changes or updates to packages, services, and pricing. This helps to ensure that customers receive accurate and reliable information and maintain trust in the company.
In addition, ISPs should establish regular meetings and other opportunities for employees to come together and share information and ideas. This can include weekly or monthly meetings, as well as team-building activities and other events. These opportunities for face-to-face communication can help to build stronger relationships between employees and can promote a more collaborative and cohesive team environment.
8. Managing and controlling the process of change effectively.
Managing and controlling the process of change is an important factor for small and medium-sized ISPs success. It is essential for senior management to have a clear vision for the future of the company, which should be informed by market research and customer surveys. This vision should be translated into a clear strategy, and a plan should be developed to make it a reality. Based on this plan, a product and services development plan can be created and implemented. Many companies have been successful in implementing change initiatives, but there are also many examples of companies that have struggled with this process.
Here are a few key actions that ISPs can take to manage and control the process of change effectively:
- Create a change management plan: Develop a structured process for managing and implementing change. This may involve identifying and addressing potential risks, and involving all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process.
- Continuously review and assess: Regularly review and assess your change management process to ensure that it is effective and efficient. This may involve gathering feedback from stakeholders, evaluating the impact of changes, and making adjustments as needed.
- Embrace a culture of change: Encourage a culture of change within your organization by promoting a growth mindset and encouraging open communication and collaboration. This will help your team to be more adaptable and proactive in the face of change.
9. OBS! Important note
As a small ISP, it may be tempting to try to mimic the practices of larger telcos in a bid to compete in such a competitive market. However, this can be a risky strategy as customers have shown that they do not appreciate deceptive tactics such as speculative bundling and hidden fees. Instead of trying to behave like the large telcos, small ISPs should focus on capitalizing on their size and coverage area to deliver a highly personalized and top-quality experience for their customers.
One way to do this is by actively listening to your community and their needs and wants. By engaging with your customers and gathering feedback, you can tailor your offerings to better meet their needs and differentiate yourself from the larger telcos. Being a small ISP does not have to be a disadvantage in the competitive market. Check out how Au Wireless, our customer from the USA, created a community atmosphere in their business by allowing their members to have a say in the operations of the company.
Well done for making it to the end!
In conclusion, while it is possible to adopt certain patterns for success, the key to achieving it is in the execution. Ensuring strong alignment at every level and effective communication from the top down is essential for your success.