Taking it to the streets to find new clients

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 July, 2007, 12:00am

Over the past decade, telephone hotlines have served as major sales and communication channels for internet service providers, but growing competition has seen them fall out of favour.

Service providers have increasingly opened sales booths on the streets in recent years in an attempt to reach new customers directly. Aimed at potential new users, these booths are mostly located in busy areas such as Mong Kok and Causeway Bay.

A spokeswoman for Hong Kong Broadband Network said sales hotlines were a 'relatively passive' means of targeting new customers.

'Setting up booths on the street is definitely more proactive and many new customers have been attracted by the decorations on the booths,' she said.

'Experience has shown it has been an effective way of attracting new customers.'

She said HK Broadband had invested a great deal in designing the booths, and hired professional speakers such as Jim Chim Sui-man to train promoters in making presentations.

'The market has been too competitive price-wise, so we promote our enhanced services to new customers, like setting up a special unit to have one operator handling designated customers and providing a more effective service,' she said.

Other internet service providers agreed that increased competition was among the reasons to create new ways to attract new customers. A Netvigator spokeswoman said it had tailor-made services to cater to customers' needs.

'Now that we offer more types of services to the customers than in the past, it is better to deal with potential customers face to face than over the telephone.'

Internet service providers are also promoting business through retail shops. 'Customers often look for different services. Some of them like to come to the shop and try them out and see exactly what they want,' she said. 'With the growth in technology and customers' needs, we need to capture all the opportunities.'

Another major player in the market, i-Cable, said sales booths were intended to maximise services for their customers. 'With the availability of [booths] in different districts, we are providing additional front-line assistance to the customers.'