Business Phone System Vendors, a Comparison of Old and New
In a continuation from my last blog, I now want to compare the legacy business telephone vendor model and the new Unified Communications /VOIP phone system Vendor partnership (as reflected in Inflow Communications model). Note that I’m only generalizing here, but those who have experienced both can understand.
The Traditional Business Phone System Vendor Model:
Don’t call them to do something simple as move a phone – they’ll charge you $200 and be here next week. Again, make due!
Don’t even think about asking them to maybe give you a couple pointers on programming the system! That will take money from their pockets. That phone system of yours is complex and mysterious – you need them to decipher the code. You need to pay them $200+ to add a custom button to a phone.
They’ll swoop in, slap the new phone system it, give you some training booklets and they’re off to take a bag of cash from the next customer. What about all the features the sales guy sold me on? How do we take advantage of those wonderful features? Can’t you read, it’s all in the administration guide? Feel free to call us, we’ll be happy to charge you to activate them. For now, be happy with being able to hold and transfer – what else do you need? Wow, why didn’t you just keep the existing system in place?
It’s a VOIP business phone system, but they don’t know anything about your network. Why would they, they’re “phone guys”. On a side note, would you have an email server vendor install an email server whom didn’t know anything about your network? Why is the VOIP phone system any different? “I’m sorry sir, it’s your network’s fault, call your IT vendor”. Oh, by the way, that was billable”.
You’re users want training? That’s ridiculous!
You’re business model has changed and you need the business phone system to change to facilitate that? No, you’ll need to mold your business model around the phone system – it doesn’t do that. Well, maybe we can get half of the way there, just cut us a check for a $50,000 software upgrade plus $150 per hour for labor. We’ll be happy to take your money.
“Call us in six years, we’ll be happy to sell you another phone system and start the process all over again.”
Yes, this sounds all too familiar. I’ve worked in the business telephone system / VOIP value added reseller (VAR) industry for a very long time. In fact, I’ve worked for these types of companies (shame on me).
Remember this, once you sign the contract, the power shifts to your vendor. Now you just want the service you were promised, but you become a nuisance to the vendor, and at their mercy.
THE VENDOR RELATIONSHIP IS IMPORTANT! Don’t get so focused on the upfront cost – an adversarial relationship with your phone system vendor will cost you much more in the long run!
The Next Generation Business Model of your Unified Communications / VOIP Business Phones System Vendor – this is Inflow Communications:
We’re maniacal about customer satisfaction. You’ll get surveyed right after the initial installation and overtime. Anything less than a perfect 100% is failure.
It’s a mutually-beneficial partnership. The customer pays a flat fee for a comprehensive set of services and the VOIP phone system vendor provides those services promptly and professionally. The old model of “nickel and diming” the customer is left to Billy Mack’s Telephone System and Transmission Repair Shop.
You need assistance in walking through the administration of the new system? No problem, we’re here to help. What do you need?
Don’t worry about an extra charge.
You’re having issues? Let’s leverage the years of networking experience all of our engineers to have to troubleshoot and resolve the issues. If we need to get your carrier and preferred IT vendor involved, we’ll do it. No, we don’t point fingers, we solve problems.
You need to move a phone to the new conference room? No problem, I’ve already programmed the system for it (remotely), just plug the phone into the data jack in the conference room. Yes, you can just plug it in; we sold you a pure VOIP PHONE SYSTEM. No old, legacy digital phones here! We would have done you a disservice to sell you 10-year old technology, where there is no research and development being invested, and that’s difficult to administer.
A charge? Don’t worry about it, it’s included in your partnership maintenance plan.
You hired a new sales rep? Congratulations! Let’s get her trained on the VOIP phone system so she can take advantage of all the great productivity features like find-me / follow-me, soft phone, voicemail-to-email, and CRM integration.
Nope, no charge! This is a partnership.
You need to upgrade and/or expand your technology to accommodate a new business direction? No problem! Let’s do a quarterly business review to make sure the technology is meeting your business requirements. If we need to enhance or expand it, we can most likely do that and keep your monthly payment the same.
Inflow Communications, Inc. partners with our clients. Call any one of them; they’ll confirm it for you. We’re only human, but we’ll do whatever it takes to make our clients rave about us.
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