Cogeco Business Solutions
In the constantly evolving world of telecommunications, innovation cannot be overstated as a key fundamental requirement for corporate success. This dynamic holds true for most industries, but is magnified exponentially with technology distribution.
Cogeco Business Solutions is a unit within Cogeco Cable and since its inception in 2003 has fast become a trusted and highly efficient telecommunications answer for thousands of enterprises throughout Ontario and Quebec. Additionally, it is the fastest growing sector within Cogeco Cable, averaging double digit annual growth over the past seven years and the trend is anticipated to proceed for at least the next few years.
Cogeco Business Solutions includes: Internet, telephone, television cable services and web hosting all offered using Cogeco’s fibre optics network spanning more than 11,000 km, which is perhaps not known to many business executives. Cogeco provides an all-encompassing resolution for the business customer from small to large, equipped with the necessary infrastructure and qualified personnel to meet the daily requirements that today’s businesses have come to expect.
No matter what the product, a team of dedicated consultants will work with you to tailor a connectivity solution that will help deliver your organization’s key strategic initiatives. This is all available on a 24/7 customer service basis.
Products and Services
Dimitri Stathis is Sr. Director, Marketing and Sales, Business Solutions with Cogeco, working out of the corporate head office in Montreal. It is Stathis who is responsible for the entire B2B sector for Cogeco Cable throughout Ontario and Quebec including marketing and sales, customer service and product strategy deployment while leading a team of about 70 skilled employees.
The core products within the realm of Cogeco Business Solutions are high-speed Internet and telephone with television being considered more of a value-added product for companies who may have monitors in their boardrooms or the front entrance lobby.
“Business Solutions is focused on the core products that are needed by the business to operate and our focus is really on the small to medium-sized business market in Ontario and Quebec,” Stathis notes.
A plethora of options are available for Business High-Speed Internet including: Business Starter; Business Standard; Business Ultimate30; Enterprise; and Business Ultimate55 with lightning fast data transfer speeds between 10 Mbps and 55 Mbps. Most of the time companies will combine their Internet service with Cogeco’s Business Phone Services.
Voice over IP (VoIP) continues to grow at a rapid pace and refers to transmission techniques used in the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions. While Business Phone is a big part of Cogeco Business Solutions, he clarifies a common misconception many people have.
“It’s a term that causes confusion in the market because people think that it’s a service that goes over the Internet, where it doesn’t at all,” Stathis reveals.
“It’s 100 per cent on our network. On the business side, because we only launched this service about three years ago, it’s our fastest growing product.”
The Target Market
In a very competitive telecommunications sector, Stathis and his team at Cogeco Business Solutions realize that going the extra mile for their customers to provide excellent products and services is what helps separate them from the competition. They also have a very clear plan of what they want to do to ensure 100 per cent customer satisfaction and a commitment to helping all companies, big or small. So what would be a main benefit in choosing Cogeco rather than a competitor?
“It’s our focus on the small business market,” Stathis proudly states. “Our competitors have not addressed this market and tend to either lump it together with the residential sector or they talk primarily about the large business market. We really focus on small businesses. Our average customer is somewhere in the 10 to 20 employee range.”
Competitors in the telecom industry each may have tremendous products and services, but the key to ultimate success and being a consistent frontrunner is to ensure the public is aware of your existence, and that’s where branding strategies take the forefront.
“Last year we changed our branding significantly,” Stathis says. “We are now using the ‘How can we help you?’ tag, which is essentially meant to express our differentiation between how we offer our services versus our competitors. We really want to talk about how we’re there to help our customers.”
In addition to the ‘How can we help you?’ tagline, Cogeco Business Solutions also has something they call their stamp – and actually looks like a stamp – with the words ‘Made for your business.’
Furthermore, Stathis and his team have developed products and services with those very companies in mind, because as many financial economists will readily agree, small business is the engine that drives our nation’s economy and so it makes perfect sense to want to service that all-important sector with the utmost effort and respect it deserves. With such an iron-clad fundamental strategy, Cogeco Business Solutions has been incredibly successful.
Advantages with Cogeco
If you are a company considering a switch in telecom providers, Cogeco Business Solutions has the ability to port your existing phone numbers, so it’s a seamless transition causing no disruptions in everyday business communications for you and your staff. It all happens behind the scenes, handled by Cogeco. Additionally, there are never any hidden costs or fees. What you see on the Cogeco Business Solutions website is what you’ll pay.
“We guarantee our pricing for up to 36 months if you choose to commit to an engagement with us,” Stathis says. “Our Complete Business Phone line service also includes unlimited North American long distance so your bill on the first month will be the same as your bill on the 36-month no matter how much North American long distance you consume.” By extension, installation fees are waived.
There are numerous untapped communications possibilities that have Stathis and his team excited about moving forward, and he says they’ve just begun to scratch the surface.
“One of the areas I’d like to focus on is how our network and the services we deliver run on a state-of-the-art fibre-optic network across both provinces,” Stathis reveals. “The services are what we call our Broadband Business Internet Service and our Telephony Services run on a core fibre-optic network with practically unlimited capacity.”
This high-quality infrastructure ensures the services are provided to the customer on a robust, reliable system.
“In addition to that we have a dedicated fibre-optic connectivity for businesses that need more than what can be offered through our traditional cable modem delivery service. We can bring a fibre-optic cable directly into the business and provide 100 per cent dedicated connectivity either between their location and other locations anywhere in the world or in addition to that, dedicated connectivity to the Internet where their fibre-optic cable connects to our core network and then that connects them to the core of the Internet so they are really just what we call one hop away from the core.”
In the early years of the Internet connecting to the public domain back in the mid 1990s, bandwidth was one of the fundamental obstacles for all service providers to overcome. From an infrastructure standpoint, that problem has long since been resolved and is in no way an impediment.
Small business has full access to Cogeco Business Solutions lowest end product, which comes equipped with an impressive 10 Mbps download speed while the highest speed comes in at 55 Mbps over the company’s cable modem service. With a simple fibre-optic connection, that connectivity can increase to 1 Gbps or even 10 Gbps, if necessary.
“Today bandwidth is no longer a problem,” Stathis confirms. “We’ve been quite good at maintaining speed superiority and also the high quality of service that goes with it.”
Cogeco’s fibre-optic network is fully integrated and perhaps has been one of the company’s best kept secrets.
“Our fibre-optic network is quite deep in the territories we serve,” Stathis remarks. “It does not go into every business because today we use a coax cable andcable modems to deliver the majority of our services but it is available if a customer requires it because they have a higher-end bandwidth need.”
Because the fibre-optic network runs so deep within the communities they serve, Cogeco has the near immediate capability to extend that link into individual business operations, again if need be.
Commitment to Excellence
Cogeco Business Solutions, while priding itself on being able to service the small and medium-sized businesses, is also well equipped to handle the needs of larger corporations, and in fact Stathis says they do have many large corporate customers as well. The main message is that no business is too small and each is of equal importance to Stathis and his team. Having such a strong infrastructure means Cogeco can provide products and services that are second to none.
“We can compete with anyone,” Stathis confidently states. “There isn’t anyone that can provide a service bigger, better or faster more than us. We can meet anyone else’s service specifications and especially the quality.”
The combined quality and speed of the products and services along with pricing is what Stathis says puts Cogeco at the forefront when companies are making decisions on who they should use as their telecommunications provider. But with competitors often changing up pricing based on monthly promotions, the real differentiator comes down to how the companies are serviced.
“We have 24 hour, seven day technical service support and we have local representatives in our communities who understand our customers’ needs. We’re not trying to squeeze them out of their next buck. We’re very up front and don’t have any hidden fees so when you deal with Cogeco, you know what you get. The result of that is extremely good customer service satisfaction scores and very low churn rates of people leaving us for the competition. When customers leave it’s mostly because they’re moving to a territory not covered by Cogeco.”
The vast majority of companies select the bundled services option, taking Internet and telephone. The only times that doesn’t happen is if a company would be financially penalized for breaking an agreement with another telephone service provider. Stathis says customers in that predicament tell him they can’t wait for their contract to end so they can then take Cogeco’s telephone service as well. With this in mind, it can be assumed that part of the business is quite likely to show strong increases as companies don’t renew their contracts with the competitors and instead join Cogeco.
Looking into the future, Stathis believes there are exciting times ahead.
“Today we provide connectivity services. Tomorrow we’re looking at getting deeper into our customers’ operations and helping them run their businesses better and achieve their goals, whatever those may be.”
At head office in Montreal as well as the two operating divisions in Ontario and Quebec, there’s a team called Technology Development whose primary purpose is to analyze trends and determine where telecom technology is heading in the future for both the business and residential sectors. The second course of action is to begin the process of developing that technology so it’s ready when the time comes.
“They keep us abreast of what’s happening so we can use that new technology to build products and services for our customers,” Stathis replies.
As far as the business market is concerned, one of the challenges for a smaller player such as Cogeco getting the corporate message out based on the fact they have a smaller business services budget compared with some larger competitors. But a great equalizer for Cogeco is having state-of-the-art infrastructure throughout its geographic boundaries as well as properly trained employees across all divisions of the company, keeping it running smoothly on all cylinders.
“We are a very lean organization,” Stathis states. “Every one of the Business Solutions employees talks and deals with customers so we must ensure all of them project the message that we want to show and we’ve captured that quite well with our tagline ‘How can we help you?’.”
As further proof that Cogeco Business Solutions wants to do all it can to help the small business owner, Stathis says it’s important to make the customer feel they have someone working with them to take care of all the technical aspects of running a company, which can be intimidating to a number of people.
“With many of the small and even mid-sized companies, many of them cannot afford to have dedicated IT or telecom staff on-site to help them with their needs so we feel there is an opportunity to develop services around that.”
Cogeco Business Solutions stands firm on its excellent reputation within the business community and wants to be of service to all companies, large or small, providing an all-inclusive telecommunications solution for each of its clients, backed by state-of-the-art infrastructure and top-notch quality service. Making the switch to Cogeco Business Solutions can potentially represent the catalyst that ultimately launches your enterprise to the next level and beyond.