By Marc Dyman, EVP Kinetic Wholesale
The wholesale carrier space can sometimes feel like a small club where everyone knows each other. Many carriers seem to have always done things a certain way, and the rate of change can seem glacial. While that status quo may be comfortable, it’s also dangerous.
Let’s face it: wholesale carriers are one step removed from the end user of the service, but we live and die by their experience. In a world of rapidly changing expectations, where Amazon can get me a new barbecue grill by tomorrow, and I can make a deposit in my bank account by taking a picture of a check, the old status quo is no longer good enough. Businesses and consumers demand service that is fast, reliable, and easy. Ironically, the connectivity and networking services that enable these amazing digital experiences don’t always live up to these standards.
For a service provider to deliver a high throughput business network or a blazing-fast broadband customer experience, they need every partner to step up and deliver a consistently impressive experience. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
I believe we must be brutally honest with ourselves and transparent with our customers. This means holding ourselves accountable, keeping open lines of communication – even when things don’t go to plan -- and never hiding or making excuses. While this approach may not always be convenient, the ‘same old’ way of doing business is too risky for anyone who embraces it. It may sound like hyperbole, but with new market entrants emerging, other providers transforming themselves, and consolidation looming large over the industry; to say we must adapt, or die is not an exaggeration.
As a network provider community, we must expect more of each other, challenge our own norms, and continuously innovate. Some will survive, others will exit, but we will be better off collectively.
And this should have you thinking… what should I look for in a wholesale partner? I believe it comes down to four things: Experience, Investment, Connection, and People.
Wholesale fiber and broadband infrastructure is a specialized space. While wholesale and enterprise services may look the same on the surface, our wholesale customers order and use them very differently. That’s why the people working behind the scenes make such a big difference. It can take years to understand the unique needs of a wholesale customer. Eventually, you develop a ‘second sense’ that saves buyers time and effort by picking the right solution the first time. When looking for an ideal partner, depth of experience in catering to the unique needs of a wholesale buyer is critical: find out how many years of wholesale experience the provider you’re considering has. How long have they been with the company? Do they “get it”?
If you’re not growing, you’re losing. Investment is the lifeblood of your wholesale partner’s network expansion plans. Whether adding new locations, modernizing network technology to the latest standard, or building automation and orchestration into delivery and management processes (or all of the above), choose a partner investing in sustained growth – and growth where it matters to YOU. Ask them how much they are investing in their infrastructure. Are they willing to invest where you need to? Or are they just keeping the lights on? Those answers matter.
Your experience often comes down to having on-net connectivity where you need it from a provider who owns and operates their network. Accountability and ownership go hand-in-hand Your ability to exceed your customers’ expectations depends on your ability to act quickly; multiple intermediaries can cause lengthy delays and sometime result in finger-pointing. Does your wholesale provider’s network reach your customers’ premises directly, or are they reselling from someone else? Are they facilities-based or just a middleman who adds delay to the activation and escalation path?
At its heart, ours is very much a people business. This means putting caring at the center of everything and working collaboratively with customers to build solutions centered on their goals. It also means focusing on making it easy to do business. Ironically, this includes automation—to improve processes, enable self-service and empower your people to deliver a superior customer experience. Does getting a quote feel like you’re pulling teeth? Do you have self-service management capabilities? Does your escalation list fit on one page, or does it take an advanced degree to figure it out? Can you simply pick up the phone and call?
At Kinetic Wholesale, we are determined to do everything we can to earn the right to be your strategic partner and deliver on all four pillars: Experience, Expansion, Connection, People. Let’s talk soon about your needs and change your status quo.