Blog UK Challenger ISP? Monster the Trustpilot lottery with Cyber Assurance

UK Challenger ISP? Monster the Trustpilot lottery with Cyber Assurance

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As an ISP, implementing Cyber Assurance will help you capture market share by supporting your differentiated value. It will build value into your headline feature set/marketing but also it will reinforce your operational excellence to help you monster the Trustpilot lottery. If you can't make the Internet simple and therefore safe for your customer, you will not win market share.

Helping broadband services to stand out from the crowd

This is the big question for challenger ISPs seeking to capture market share. Speed is no longer the differentiator. Larger providers have volume pricing - so price is not a differentiator. The alt-nets - local fibre providers - wholesale services nationally to anyone - so geography is not a differentiator.

So, from the multitude of offers how does a customer select you as their provider?

Are you going to decide on a level of investment in network capacity based on the vagaries of Trustpilot algorithms/the impact of one angry customer who couldn't be satisfied if the Internet was entirely uploaded into a massive edge compute datacenter in their living room?

Consumption of video via streaming services as the new norm. The new reality of working from home. The move of home automation/home IoT from novelty through niche to emerging “PC World” mainstream. This means that customers are even more demanding. The ISP is always going to be the first point of call for the residential broadband user. For everything “WiFi” related.

This more demanding customer base is increasing their reliance on the Internet and increasing their cyber attack surface in equal measure. An increasingly cyber-vulnerable customer is a threat not only to themselves but to the serving ISPs profit margin and Trustpilot rating. Arguably, the Network Operators that the serving ISP takes service from is also threatened. History shows that the air-gap provided by the serving ISP is not a 100% guarantee of insulation for the Network Operator from reputational damage caused by poor customer service experience.

Changing demand creates opportunity

These challenging market conditions are offset somewhat by some positive changes in market demand that the alternative (alternative to the “big 5”) UK ISPs can seek to exploit.

Internet (or “WiFi”) is now a basic staple. See some of the commentary from unfortunate Ukranians caught up in the war of Russian aggression. They mention food, water, shelter and Internet access in the same sentence, in every interview. In the UK and other developed markets, Covid has accelerated this move from luxury/nice-to-have to now considering Internet access as a basic staple of life.

As this new basic staple - Fibre has now penetrated the customer consciousness as the Internet product to have. In the UK - the lack of fibre availability/uptake means that alongside Germany - the UK represents the best market opportunity in Europe for fibre broadband providers. BT at Broadband World Forum 2021 estimated that EU fibre rollout will double, and UK multiply by 4 times by 2025. Investment in Fibre access networks is massive and shows no signs of slowing down. Lots of residential customers will be changing Internet technologies and could be very open to sales/marketing approaches from a new provider. Lack of triple play service “bundles” for new or challenger providers may not be an issue. Customers are increasingly changing their buying habits - they are more resistant to built in or in their terms hidden benefits that they don't need. The economic situation will amplify this trend. This allows challenger ISPs to captise on the fact that they don't have those built in video services…

Customers also want a more transparent, immediate relationship with their ISP. They don't want to wait ages on a telephone support line - to be told basic information. Innovation in localised, self service, automated, fully transparent and support relationships with effective real-time communications are an opportunity for the challenger ISP. SeeGiffGaff’s user feedback.

So how does cyber assurance help the challenger ISP and their Network Provider?

Working with Paul Hague at Black Dice I think we have both moved from our initial thoughts on simply adding an important new cybersecurity feature to the challenger ISP service offer.

I first met Paul at the NCSCs Cyber Security Accelerator at Cheltenham. The feature set of Black Dice really resonated with me as a parent of Internet-using teenage children. Since then the addition of device fingerprinting/home network security etc has been something I’ve kept a close eye on.

While these cyber security features are important to end users, I believe the cyber monitoring functionality from Black Dice also has an important part to play in customer support.

As we move to further automate customer service delivery and to further enable customer self service, actionable information is key. Cyber Assurance data from Black Dice empowers customers to self service in terms of their own individual cyber security. It has a wealth of cyber security features that are documented here. But it also provides a wealth of information about customer experience and the customer home network environment. When added to things like the TR069 data model, cyber assurance data massively helps the ISP to troubleshoot complex home environment issues. Ultimately - we will automate this troubleshooting to further reduce the reliance of the end user on the ISP help desk.

Differentiate your residential broadband services with Cyber Assurance

If you are a challenger ISP I hope that this article has given you some ideas about how cyber assurance not only adds a vital service for you end users but also underpins your efforts to differentiate your brand from your competitors.

If you’d like to explore the topics introduced in this article, reach out to either Paul Hague or myself (or indeed both of us!) and we’d gladly discuss these issues further with you.

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