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Top 10 Leaders in SIP Trunking Customer Satisfaction

In a new SIP trunk customer satisfaction survey, the Eastern Management Group has found that small, often young, SIP trunk providers are receiving the majority of accolades from IT managers globally. Twilio, for example, ranked higher than the competition, landing among other Top 10 Leaders such as 8x8, BroadSoft, Flowroute, and Onvoy (now Inteliquent).

We gathered customer satisfaction data from more than 2,000 IT managers, who evaluated 31 vendors based on SIP trunk usage. We asked respondents to judge SIP trunk companies on 10 customer satisfaction measurements, as shown below.

The Eastern Management Group global report, "2017 SIP Trunking Customer Satisfaction," has the survey findings. It shows that no SIP trunk vendor swept all 10 customer satisfaction categories. Flowroute, for example, scored highest in the category of contact center experience. Twilio led in the management tools category. Meantime, 100% of XO Communications customers surveyed said they would recommend the company to a friend. (Note: Verizon recently acquired XO.)

To make it into the Top 10 Leaders group, a provider needed to receive high ratings in three or more customer satisfaction measurements.

By and large, most of the thousands of IT managers we surveyed are satisfied with the quality of their SIP trunks, as mentioned in two previous No Jitter posts, "SIP Market Growth Strong to 2020" and "Beefing up SIP Distribution Channels." Ninety-two percent of IT managers who participated in the customer satisfaction study said they would favorably recommend their SIP trunk vendor to a friend. While not among the Top 10 Leaders, two incumbent telcos, Telefonica and Orange, are more likely to be recommended to a friend than three of the Top 10 Leaders.

Incumbent Telcos and SIP Trunking

Other incumbent telcos may have work to do in this area, our study shows. When looking at the other telcos as a group, on average more than 20% of customers expressed unwillingness to refer their vendors to a friend.

Incumbent telcos on average ranked lower in the total customer satisfaction measurement score than the entire cohort of SIP trunk providers studied. This is the sum of all 10 customer satisfaction measurements each on which IT managers rated providers. Of the nine incumbent carriers studied, T-Systems ranked best here.

While Eastern Management Group did not interview the telcos for this customer satisfaction study, each one has the resources to score well in all 10 satisfaction measurements. So why don't they? This is our opinion. Incumbent carriers have large PSTN investments. Although several have already announced end-of-life dates for their PSTN (e.g., Deutsche Telecom, AT&T, and NTT) none want to walk away from that revenue just yet. Telcos often charge a premium for PSTN service. The accompanying chart from the Eastern Management Group's "SIP Global Market Analysis and Forecast 2016-2020" report compares PSTN and SIP prices for a telco and a SIP trunk vendor. The distinction in prices is clear.

So it's entirely plausible that a service provider might want to extend the life of its PSTN investment for as long as possible, given that transitioning customers to SIP trunks from high-priced PSTN circuits may hasten the service to unprofitability. And while all major carriers offer SIP trunks, they may have little incentive to sell and support them more than necessary.

Turning around their SIP customer satisfaction scores would not be difficult for telcos given the resources each can marshal. And while the companies are large, and may be slower in their movements than the smaller, young SIP providers, each has the aptitude and ability to fix its own SIP customer satisfaction issues.

Here's an example. While not being an incumbent telco, Sprint, with its massive network and large network operation centers, is quite like a telco. IT managers who use Sprint for SIP trunking rank the carrier third in the category of overall satisfaction, right up there with Twilio and Flowroute. And not a single Sprint customer interviewed for the study said it would not recommend Sprint SIP trunking to a friend. Sprint is a benchmark for what large telcos can do to improve their own SIP trunking customer satisfaction.

The time will come when incumbent telcos will need SIP customers. SIP is the key to significant pull-through revenue that telcos badly need and which many SIP trunk Top 10 Leaders have been successfully leveraging for years.

The SIP trunk industry has reached a point where vendors have benchmark companies to emulate when deciding to build best-in-class businesses. The total SIP trunking market size is, and will continue to be, large -- so providers should have good incentive to improve, as well as the time to do so. For questions about our customer satisfaction study and report please ask our researchers at the Eastern Management Group.