Telecom service provider Unicom, which specialises in business-to-business connections, has signed up its 100,000th small business, a five-fold increase in 36 months.
The 100,000th customer of Manchester-based Unicom is Browntex Limited of Steeple Road Industrial Estate, Antrim, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland.
Unicom credits its growth and success to a call centre with a difference
– a ‘normal’ 0161 phone number, and UK-based people answering incoming calls in around six seconds.
“Why are we performing so well? Well, we provide our customers with highly competitive prices, which we fix for three years, and we ensure that all customers genuinely receive the highest possible levels of customer service,” said Chris Earle, Unicom’s Operations Director.
“We’re a relatively small business with a small, closely-knit and efficient management team – and we are absolutely clear in our minds about what makes the difference to our customers: a UK call centre with real people answering the telephone, 98% of calls answered within six seconds, and managers and directors who are hands-on and accessible.
“Our customer retention level is currently running at 86% against a sector average of around 70%. Of the 14% we lose, only a third go to competitors, the remainder being businesses that close or move premises for one reason or another, which is obviously beyond our control.”
Unicom saw 2005-2006 turnover increase from £21.3 million to £31.0 million, with pre-tax profits at £4.5 million compared to £2.3 million to the end of April 2005. Turnover is on target to hit £40 million in the current financial year.
Unicom’s customers are primarily small or owner-managed businesses with telephone bills of approximately £1,000 a year. The specialised nature of the telephony and broadband products offered by Unicom provides significant savings for its business users.
“We’ve not actually had a price increase since we started offering our telecom services in 2001,” said Chris Earle.