Connectivity problems not enough to make SMBs switch Internet

Even though most SMBs have embraced the internet as an integral part of business strategy in the last five years, they are often let down by service providers

Despite connectivity problems and performance issues with their ISPs affecting one in three small or medium sized businesses (SMBs) across the UK , only a tenth of such firms would consider switching providers.

This situation, revealed in a new study carried out by analyst firm Quocirca on behalf of Easynet Connect, contrasts dramatically with the consumer market, where customers switch between providers far more frequently.

The survey said that even though most SMBs have embraced the internet as an integral part of business strategy in the last five years, they often lack the internal knowledge, time and resources to understand the complexities of products they increasingly depend upon and the real business value they can bring.  

More than three quarters (77%) of SMBs experienced internet connection failure at some point and almost one in three (29%) stated that their internet connection occasionally dropped below performance levels they expect. Yet despite this, the vast majority of SMBs remain reluctant to switch to another provider, with nine out of ten (88%) stating that they would not be changing providers in the near future.

In evaluating a service provider business reliability (72%) and technical abilities (48%) were cited as the most important attributes. In general, just over half (53%) of SMBs expecting a small increase in expenditure; 39% expected spending to stay at the present level.

Despite the worries about service interruptions, almost three quarters (71%) of the interviewees acknowledged that their business could not cope any longer than a day without the Internet. Two thirds (66%) of businesses have been online for over five years, with only 3% connecting in the last year. In turn, over one third (36%) of SMBs are selling online, more then a quarter (26%) are using IP telephony and 39% use the network for remote backup and disaster recovery.

Commenting on the key finding in the research, Chris Stening, managing director of Easynet Connect said, “The internet is now at the heart of making a business a success but poor service levels and lack of support are currently being tolerated - this should not be the case. SMBs should be as demanding as consumers in ensuring that they are getting the right kind of service coupled with flexibility and reliability so that they are able to focus their attention on their individual business challenges."

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