The Holy Grail of Network Service Quality

As the importance of network transformation becomes more recognized as a key part of the overall digital transformation strategies with which so many organizations are grappling,
providers must get the appointment of their account managers right, as they can make or break the customer-vendor relationship regardless of how an operator might be meeting its service-level-agreement (SLA) obligations.

Faith in SLAs

When asked whether having a watertight SLA guarantees a great operator experience, leaders overwhelmingly agree (84 percent) that it does. Interestingly, however, while 68 percent of all decision-makers surveyed (up to 80 percent in the US) regard them as a useful quality assurance mechanism, almost a third (30 percent) view them as a necessary formality with no tangible impact on service quality.

Mapping the performance against the SLAs as part of their quality assurance routines, almost half of the respondents said that they follow-up on their supplier SLAs on a weekly basis with 29 percent of decision-makers in the US opting for daily checks.

Getting network service quality right

As the importance of network transformation becomes more recognized as a key part of the overall digital transformation strategies with which so many organizations are grappling, it’s clear that network service quality is vitally important, and network buyers are prepared to pay for it.

That said, assessing the overall quality of experience can be a challenge. A simple desktop comparison of various KPIs isn’t sufficient, and a holistic assessment—including a review of less-tangible parameters—is necessary. From the results of our research, a number of recommendations can be made for prospective network buyers looking to secure the best possible network service quality.

Trust your instincts

In our report, we found that decision-makers trust their own research more than any other source and should use their own instincts and insights throughout the buying cycle. Additionally, previous experience of a particular vendor as well as reliable recommendations from a third party or even try-before-you buy opportunities are all beneficial tactics in selecting a network provider.

Choose wisely

Trustworthiness and transparency are overwhelming priorities for most respondents when they define network provider quality. On the flip side, repeated network failings, followed by dishonesty, have the most negative impact on the perception of operator quality. Network buyers should take extra steps to source network providers with a track record of trustworthiness and transparency, including a thorough and critical review of sales pitches, vendor references, and case studies during the procurement process itself.

The personal touch

The vast majority of network buyers want to speak to an expert on first contact, and most will replace their provider if they have a poor relationship with an account manager. Strong personal relationships with network providers should therefore be prioritized. Survey respondents felt that overall service quality is improved if there is a local network provider representative. The importance of securing a network supplier with a local, in-country sales representative or operational interface should not be underestimated.

SLA security

The majority of business leaders in the survey regard SLAs as a useful mechanism for securing network quality once they have onboarded a provider. Most believe that a watertight SLA guarantees a great operator experience, and the majority of respondents follow up on SLAs on a weekly basis. Network buyers should therefore ensure that they secure a strong SLA from the outset.

Don’t cut corners

It is generally agreed that “Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten,” and our research revealed that nearly all (93 percent) are prepared to pay a premium for a provider that delivers a high-quality network experience. Remember, it is more costly to manage poor quality in the long run—particular attention should be paid to a prospective provider’s implementation and delivery team.

Overall, there is a great deal more to quality than just SLAs, and all factors can have major implications for network buyers. In the end, speaking subjectively or objectively, it all comes down to network providers delivering quality—in its broadest sense.


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