Help … my local supplier is no longer local!

Sep 17, 2021

People buy from people, don’t they? Well perhaps they do but usually people buy from people and the business they represent. Buying from the right people, in the right business is critical, and a key part of the purchase is almost always the expectation of an ongoing good working relationship with the person and company that you have chosen.

Ubi is in its 11th year during which time we have partnered with all sizes of companies, and I can categorically state that the very best partners we have, and indeed ones that we have stayed with are independent, small to medium businesses. The key reason for this is that they have always provided us with a level and continuity of support that is personal, professional and of an extremely high standard. We know them, and they know us, and we get on. And because of their support for us we are able to offer better support to our customers. The big national businesses that we work with just cannot match the support levels of smaller businesses.

” … and after a couple of years the original name will disappear, by which time the staff you know will have left.”

So, what could happen if one of your smaller supplier partners were bought by a large national enterprise with say 600+ employees? Well I suspect that initially you would be told that nothing will change, the company name will remain, your account manager will stay in their role, the support will be even better (perhaps because they are bigger and have a NOC- i.e. a National Operations Centre?), and maybe the services on offer will be enhanced.

But history shows that things will change. Staff may be disgruntled at being 1 in 600 rather than 1 in 35, new company procedures will come into play, the local office may be shut to ‘rationalise and streamline’ support, the accounts team function moved to Head Office, and after a couple of years the original name will disappear, by which time the staff you know will have left. And what are you left with? Possibly a long contract with a business that you didn’t chose (nor would have) and potentially a knock-on effect on the smooth running of your business.

National businesses buy local businesses for many reasons, often because they see opportunities to expand their reach, increase their turnover, or add to their products but also, they do so because they know they can enhance the profit margin by reducing local headcount and centralising many functions such as accounts and service support. It’s very common. There is nothing wrong with it but in my experience whenever a good quality local business has been sold to a national concern the service, empathy and support deteriorates.

I can’t recall ever hearing reports of service levels at a business really improving after a national company bought out a local one! It just doesn’t seem to happen.

If your local pub is bought by a national chain, then it could be a big disappointment but since you are unlikely to be contractually obliged to drink there it may just mean a longer walk to a pub you like. However, if you are in a long contract with you chosen local supplier for business-critical applications such as voice communications or IT support then any drop in support standards could have a direct impact on your business for a number of years. Unfortunately, the contracts in the Telecoms & IT industry can be notoriously difficult to extricate from – some last for as long as 8 years with year-on-year compounded price rises which means the negative impact may be a lengthy, costly one.

So, if your business is based in the West Country and your local telecoms or IT supplier has just been sold to a substantially sized national company then it may be worth talking to Ubi. Based in Devon and covering the South West of England (with no desire or plans to go any further) we are 100% independent, and very focussed on providing excellent support. We believe that contract flexibility is crucial in today’s business environment so that you can be comfortable that you will only be paying for exactly what you need, when you need it.

Which all means that if you feel our people are the right people to buy from you can also be happy that the business behind our people is the right business to work with.

About Ubi

If you have concerns about the level of service you’re currently receiving from your telecommunications provider, then talk to Ubi.

Since 2010 we’ve been making it easy for businesses in the south west, like yours, to talk. We give you great technology combined with great service – everything we do is about making it easier for you to operate.

Does that sound fair? Contact us today.

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