Audio Productions: “It’s All About CX”
We talk about resellers and Customer Experience with Audio Productions
Audio Productions are a music-on-hold and customer engagement business committed to helping companies deliver a more comprehensive satisfaction strategy in the age of customer experience. As an organisation committed to helping their resellers thrive in today’s changing business environment, Audio Productions has plenty of insights to offer into what the future might hold for channel partners.
I caught up with Andrew Jones, the Director for Audio Productions UK, to talk about how we can expect reseller strategies to evolve in 2019.
What Was 2018 Like for Audio Productions?
The first thing that Andrew told me was that 2018 had been a positive year for Audio Productions, which allowed the company to learn more about their network.
“By the end of 2017, our priorities had shifted. We were going out and doing more face-to-face visits with our partners so that we could get a better feel for what they needed to stand out in the current marketplace.”
Jones noted that Audio Productions had quickly realised that everyone in their community seemed to approach the market in their own unique way. While many resellers offered the same products and solutions to their clients, the way that they went to market with those strategies was often unique, with some embracing aggressive, outgoing sales approaches, and others relying on inbound opportunities.
“We found that trying to create a single product to suit everyone didn’t really work. We needed to go out and find out how we could help our resellers on a more individual level, rather than just throwing another product into the mix for them.”
How Has the Drive for Better Customer Experience Affected Resellers?
Jones told me that he had thought their research teams would have spotted a trend of people moving to the cloud or embracing specific technology. However, the truth was that the only key trend in the marketplace seemed to be the pervading need for better customer experiences. That’s a positive thing for Audio Productions, as engagement is at the core of their offering.
“We’re giving resellers the first thing that customers hear when a business answers a phone. Our services offer companies professionalism and fantastic initial interactions between brands and their customers.”
Last year, Audio Productions also launched a “music on hold as a service” solution to give their resellers more freedom over how they welcomed new customers. “We saw a lot of popularity for this service among smaller resellers and new entrants to the Comms market, although bigger resellers seem to prefer sticking with the pay-as-you-go model for now.”
Is the Move to as-a-service Models Difficult for Resellers?
In some ways, it’s no surprise that Audio Productions are seeing some reluctance from larger resellers to switch to a cloud model. It’s difficult for today’s companies to move from an environment where they were continually being paid on commission, to a complex as-a-service model where commissions are hard to work out and often don’t allow for juicy up-front commission payments.
“The confusion that resellers are facing right now doesn’t just apply to music-on-hold either. It’s human nature for resellers to want to sell things up front and make money as quickly as possible. That’s why the move towards the cloud is more of a slow-and-steady curve than an explosion.”
Jones noted that he believes the as-a-service option is definitely “one to watch” going forward, as it’s a model that has been proven to work for many resellers. However, it’s going to take time to convert everyone.
“Again, it’s going to be all about listening to our resellers and finding out what they need.”
What are Your Predictions for 2019?
For Audio Productions, 2019 will be a time devoted to delivering greater support for partners. Andrew told me that the company had begun this initiative in 2018 and that they’ll be continuing through constant dialogue with resellers, and an evolving selection of tools “There’ll also be changes to our ordering portal online.”
From a wider perspective, Jones feels that we’ll see a lot of transformation in the reseller environment going forward. “We’ve already seen a lot of new providers entering the market with unique platforms and experiences to offer. I think we’re even seeing more people setting up their own small telecoms companies thanks to the incredible support they can get from vendors.”
Audio Productions also noticed that more IT and Comms companies merged last year. “I think this year, as AI and other emerging technologies enter the communication space, we’ll see more Telecoms resellers acquiring IT companies and skills, so that they can widen the net with new services for their customers. Success in this area will depend on a reseller’s ability to make sure that they know what their end-users want out of a telecoms provider.”
One thing is for sure, customer experience will continue to be a priority for all companies seeking differentiation.