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Turning on an out-of-office responder that says "I'm travelling and will have limited access to emails" is as good as telling customers you don't want their business, according to a survey of over 1,000 business travellers by Australia/UK/US multi-country mobile network Tru.
The key issue highlighted (unsurprisingly) by Tru's survey is the high cost of global roaming with the big four Australian telcos -- especially data roaming charges -- which make it difficult for businesspeople to use internet-enabled smartphones as they normally would.
The study also showed that businesspeople travelling overseas make shorter phone calls, check their email less while overseas and feel that they have to stay close to a landline.
Some travellers swap over to local SIM cards while overseas, but this can lead to issues juggling multiple voicemail accounts and missing SMSes sent to their regular number (as SMSes can't be diverted from one phone to another).
The results are all no brainers, and there's no doubt the study is designed to support Tru's push to sell more SIM cards -- but nonetheless, the results ring true.
Tru drew the conclusion that businesspeople who simply put an out-of-office responder on their email and a 'travelling' voicemail message could lose sales, in an era where customers expect to be able to reach their business contacts right away (notwithstanding time zone differences).
Now that there are better global roaming options available than what Telstra, Optus and Vodafone/3 offer, it's something Australian businesses should be addressing, if only from a cost-saving perspective.
Optus charges $20 per MB for casual data roaming, Telstra $15 and Vodafone/3 $10. In comparison, Tru's data costs $0.17 per MB in the UK and $0.35 per MB in the USA.
“The monopolies that our major telcos hold here in Australia are undoubtedly forcing businesses to pay over the odds, but we also know that using your mobile less when overseas is not good for business,” Tru Australia Country Manager Ben Pullen said.
The survey received responses from 1050 travellers in June 2010.
Tru runs a mobile network that currently spans three countries -- Australia, the US and the UK. We reported on it in detail here.