Chief Executives statement
live in an era of greater customer choice than we have ever seen before. This
choice is good for customers and good for our industry.
Changes in technology
are leading to changes in peoples behaviour. People are, for example,
spending more time on the internet and sending information by e-mail, where
they would have used the phone or fax.
transformation is putting converged services at the heart of our offering, enabling
our customers to communicate wherever they happen to be.
we move from a narrowband to a broadband world, we are offering a new mix of
products and services in new markets ICT, broadband, mobility and managed
also having a significant impact in our traditional voice markets, where fixed-to-fixed
voice revenues were down in both the consumer
and business markets.
is both a challenge and an opportunity. We have to respond to those changes
in technology, the market and behaviour, at the same time as working to accelerate
have to be absolutely focused on defending and reinventing our traditional markets,
through imaginative sales and marketing, through delivering the right products
at the right prices. And we have to follow our customers where they want to
go, offering them new, flexible services that match their changing personal
and business needs.
Our passion for customers
is at the heart of everything we do.
year ago we launched our brand promise to make every customer experience “simple
and complete.” This
is essential to driving down customer dissatisfaction, which remains a critical
goal for us. In the 2004 financial year, we reduced
dissatisfaction by 22%.
customer dissatisfaction is driven down, so is the cost of failure. A great
customer experience and cost savings really can be two sides of
the same coin. Getting things right for customers the first time keeps them
loyal, contributes to cost effectiveness, and boosts our reputation.
ICT used to be an
aspiration; its now a reality. We had a superb year with ICT orders worth
more than £7 billion up 59% on just a year ago. The three deals
we signed with the NHS, for example expected to be worth more than £2.1
billion indicate our strength in this market.
believe that we have something very special to offer the ability to
act as “the
telco inside” our
We offer our customers businesses and other large organisations, including
local and national government the chance to enhance their productivity,
through expert management of their information systems, desktop to desktop.
we have a full range of network-centric ICT solutions depending on what our
customers want from full service assurance across their ICT infrastructure,
through monitoring levels of service throughout their operations, to validation
of their networks, data centres and desktops.
Its been a tremendous
year for broadband as well. People were sceptical when we said wed reach
two million DSL wholesale lines by the summer of 2004. What nobody expected
was that we would achieve two million in February 2004. As at 14 May 2004, we
had 2.45 million and climbing. The UK is now moving towards the top of
the broadband league.
our programme for upgrading our exchanges to broadband has been extremely effective
in bringing the benefits of this amazing technology to some of the remoter parts
of the UK. In April 2004, we announced a roll-out plan that will bring broadband
to 99.6% of the UKs homes and businesses.
announcement, in May 2004, that we will redesign and reduce the cost of our
local loop unbundling product, should encourage investment in broadband infrastructure
and promote innovation. Its a major move towards the telecommunications
market of the future.
the consumer broadband market weve teamed up with Yahoo! to offer compelling,
world-class content and launched a suite of new products that will enable customers
to get the most from broadband. A couple of years ago we were among the first
to offer a broadband connection for less than £30 a month. This year weve
broken the £20 barrier, with an entry-level broadband product for just
£19.99 a month.
We also stepped back into the
consumer mobility market with BT Mobile Home Plan and we established
the high street presence that will enable us to offer converged products
and services in the future.
our goal is to offer communications flexibility, enabling our customers
to communicate the information they choose, in the way that they choose,
using whatever communications device they choose.
May 2004, we announced that we will be working with Vodafone UK to dismantle
the barriers between fixed and mobile services, by offering fully converged,
fixed/mobile services in the business and consumer mobile markets. Our
customers will benefit from being able to communicate and access the
same information and services however and wherever they want; whether
they are connected to a fixed network or on the move.
our larger business customers we also offer convergence, managing their
fixed and mobile communications seamlessly.
And the growth of Wi-Fi (wireless broadband)
suggests that it could well be one of those technologies which rapidly
becomes a part of our customers lives. Once theyve experienced
it, they find it hard to imagine life without it.
Given the impact of new technology and increasing competition, voice
call volumes may no longer be the absolute guide to the health of the
company that they once were, but they remain a fundamental part of our
business and we are bringing an innovative approach to product development,
sales and marketing in the voice calls business. Robust defence doesnt
mean retreat, it means seizing new opportunities.
BT Together, for
example, has been a major success with around nine million customers.
During the year, we announced that we will be abolishing the standard
rate for our existing customers from 1 July 2004, and launched an enhanced
range of option packages. In the business calls market BT Business Plan
has had similar success customer numbers were up from 20,000
to 175,000 in the year. And BT Local Business is demonstrating that
getting close to our customers can deliver significant revenue benefits.
Cost leadership is vital to the accelerating transformation
We can and must operate as
efficiently and effectively as possible, benchmarking our costs against
those of other European telecommunications companies. Most recently,
these comparisons showed that our costs are better than average for
companies but that we still have some way to go to achieve best-in-class
costs. In the last three years, weve made major reductions in
the costs of our operations and weve identified a further £1
billion that can be achieved.
Our Hands Off Access Network (HOAN)
project, for example, is helping to improve network efficiency by minimising
manual network intervention and reducing the need for exchange visits.
This is not about cutting
corners or compromising on service, but about finding innovative, cost-effective
new ways to meet customers needs.
And, over the next few years, well be
creating the 21st century network. We are transforming our networks,
converging them on to a modern, single, multi-purpose platform that
will enable us to reduce costs, meet customers changing needs
and improve customer satisfaction. The 21st century network will offer
higher performance in return for lower operating costs.
Of course, without the commitment and hard work of BT people,
our strategy would be nothing more than words on the page.
A year ago, we introduced
our new values trustworthy, helpful, inspiring, straightforward,
heart. Since then, our people have translated those values into action,
driving down customer dissatisfaction, defending the traditional business
and winning business in new markets.
Were very proud of
what theyve done and of what they are continuing to do.
19 May 2004