With a survey of its small business (SMB) customers finding 61 percent feel isolated in running their business, Optus has launched Yes Business, an online platform to connect SMB owners to each other for support and advice, as well as tips from experts.
The survey of 82 customers found 35 percent have paid more than they wanted to for an expert to solve a problem, with 22 percent stating there is not enough information available to help them run a successful business.
Matthew Ball, Head of Small and Medium Business at Optus, said the Yes Business platform aims to “alleviate” these feelings by helping business owners connect with “a like-minded and knowledgeable digital community”.
As well as a community forum, the platform comprises articles and advice from academics and successful business owners.
“We’re focused on continually improving our services to customers and it’s important to us that our customers can turn to us not only for communications advice and service, but for business. Listening to our customer base, we know SMBs want an easy-to-access online community for support, know-how and expert advice,” Ball said.
Examining why SMB owners felt isolated, 34 percent of respondents said it was because they had multiple things going wrong at the same time, 24 percent identified lack of inspiration as an issue, and not being able to ask for help and not being able to share successes with others each affected 12 percent of respondents.
As customers begin using the hub, Ball said the telco may look to usage of the platform and the “crowdrating” of articles to inform development of new SMB products.
It comes after the telco earlier this year launched Optus Loop, a cloud-based telephone system providing mobile and fixed-line services, optimised for the SMB market.
A survey of more than 600 SMB owners from Canstar in September, however, saw Vodafone pick up the Canstar Blue award for Most Satisfied Customers in the Small Business Mobile Phone Providers category for 2017.
Rating providers according to factors including network coverage, plan flexibility, customer service, and value for money, Vodafone rated highest in terms of customer service, billing information, value for money, and plan flexibility, while Optus achieved four stars for overall satisfaction and five stars for plan flexibility.
Beyond the SMB sector, Optus earlier this month announced a $16 million partnership with the Victorian Government to build 25 new mobile towers across regional Victoria, which are expected to provide 5,000 households and businesses with new mobile coverage when they are up and running by the end of 2017.
The 25 new towers will be located across 15 local government areas, with each chosen in consultation with government and with the aim of targeting areas that have not previously had dedicated mobile coverage, according to Optus.
Image: Matthew Ball, David Koch, and Rachael Finch at the Yes Business launch. Source: Supplied.