Telecomms managers are still wasting money on inappropriate products because operators are too concerned with bombarding the market with leading edge technology to the detriment of quality of service.
According to the 1998 annual survey of the Telecommunication Managers? Association (TMA), 80 per cent of respondents believed they are throwing money down the drain by buying the wrong products and services. This represented an increase of 8 per cent from last year?s figure.
Said Albert Lee, director of quality at the TMA: ?You can only purchase what?s out there and many of these products are inappropriate. These are only short-term products. We want longer term, integrated solutions.?
Only 30 per cent of the 400 respondents polled believed their suppliers provided long-term solutions.
Also, 78 per cent said their main suppliers failed in the quality of service stakes: users did not reckon it was their key strength. One of the major service quality criteria managers thought their suppliers could improve is billing. They are not yet clear or concise enough, continued Lee. Other areas for improvements include account management and keeping customers informed.
?There is still a long way to go,? commented Lee. ?But at least suppliers seem to be aware of this. Around 69 per cent of respondents believe suppliers understand quality of service is very important to customers,? he added.
The survey raises concern for BT whose quality of service rating among users slid by five per cent. This year BT scored 6.38 out of 10, compared with 6.72 last year. BT is the main supplier for 65 per cent of respondents -- a drop of almost 10 per cent from 1997.
A BT spokesperson said: ?We are conscious there are some [service quality] concerns from users,? adding that the telco has just embarked on a programme to improve the quality of its account management, as well as its networks. However the spokesperson did not specify whether billing would also be improved.
It is the regional players that have scored highly on service levels. The top three operators are Colt, Worldcom, Kingston which scored 7.24, 7.00, and 6.85 respectively. They also kept their positions from last year?s results. This year Energis (6.70) overtook BT, with AT&T (6.18), and Cable & Wireless Communications (6.11) pushing up the rear.
The results for Cable & Wireless are also worrying since it serves 13 per cent of TMA members as users -- the second largest number after BT.
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