Choosing a supplier can be one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make for your business. In order to ensure that you pass on the best prices to your customers, coupled with excellent support, uptime and service it’s important that you choose the right one. When working with partners, if their service isn’t up to scratch, then it’s very likely that yours won’t be either.
Planning and research is the key to choosing the right partner, as it is with most things in business. You need to find a supplier which allows you to fully maximize revenue, whilst providing a service that the businesses you deal with will be happy to recommend.
#1: Does the Supplier Offer 24/7 Support?
Businesses need to be sure that in the event of a disaster, they can be up and running again in no time and this isn’t possible if nobody is manning the service desk. It reflects badly on your business if you can’t help them get communications working again and it loses the business in question both time and money.
The cost of downtime can be significant; according to technology research house Gartner, Inc
., industry surveys suggest that the cost to a business can come to well over $300,000 per hour
. This of course depends heavily on the size of the business and the industry that it’s in, but there’s no doubt that downtime is costly to every business that has a network. With that in mind, when choosing a supplier, uptime should be important but support even more so.
#2: Do They Treat You as a Partner?
This may sound inconsequential, but it’s important that your provider understand that you’re in business to make money, just like you are and as such, their business goals should align with yours
. The supplier should, ideally, offer training so that you and your team can fully familiarise themselves with the products – especially when it comes to sales staff as these are naturally not as technical as other staff such as your support engineers.
#3: Do They Offer Clear Revenue Models?
When it comes to business planning, it’s difficult to deal with financials such as profit and loss forecasting if you can’t effectively plan it out first. With this in mind, it a supplier that you have in mind is vague about the revenue that you can make based on margins, then it’s unlikely that you will be able to effectively plan.
Transparency is always desirable in a partner so if your telecoms supplier isn’t being too forthcoming then do ask yourself why.
When it comes to cost, don’t just go for the cheapest or the most expensive option either. Yes the least pricey will give you better revenue, but may not offer a decent level of support. Conversely, the most well-known suppliers may also not offer this as they are busy and as such have very busy support lines. Research your provider well and ask for testimonials and case studies before coming to a decision and remember that you want to offer your customers value
which covers price and service.
Don’t assume anything about the companies that you are looking to partner with. A low cost service doesn’t necessarily mean a low quality one and a well-known name doesn’t particularly mean that they are right for you and your business.
#4: Is the Service Highly Scalable?
Cloud services tend to be scalable in that they can grow with your business and your telecoms provider should allow the same. Ideally you should look for a supplier who offers services on a pay-as-you-go model so that you don’t pay for more than you use. This allows you to keep revenues tight and grow your telecoms business at a pace that suits you.
#5: Is Security Robust and Backed by a Recovery Plan
For cloud-based services such as hosted PBX, you should ensure that your provider has a good level of security at the data centre and a robust disaster recovery plan. Whilst it’s rare for a data centre to suffer an outage that customers will notice, it does happen and you need to know how it’s dealt with if you’re to reassure your own customers.
Ask about the level of security that’s put in place at the data centre and make sure that you read the SLA through thoroughly to ensure that you’re not liable in the event of downtime.
#6: How Much Experience Doe the Supplier Have?
Ideally, you should be looking for a supplier that’s been in the industry for a good number of years and understands it inside out.
#7: Have They Invested in Technology Fairly Recently?
Technology has come on leaps and bounds in just a few short years, so you want your supplier to have invested in the latest tech and to have continuous development of its infrastructure in place. Do they own the infrastructure or do they rent it? Can they quickly and easily add new features based on customer demand to ensure scalability?
These are the questions that you need to be asking when interviewing potential suppliers.
#8: Are They Easy to Talk to?
If there’s one thing the tech and telecoms industries love it’s jargon. But not many people outside of the industry care for it very much at all. When training your sales staff or talking directly to your customers when offering support, it’s relatively important that the supplier understands how to talk to people in plain English. Nothing irritate business people more than having to ask someone to explain what they mean as they don’t understand, so do bear that in mind.
There are plenty of considerations to take into account when choosing a telecoms provider so do ensure that you take your time and do plenty of research. As for sample SLAs and read them through thoroughly before coming to any decisions, alongside testimonials and case studies. Ask around the industry too, if a supplier has a bad reputation you’re almost certain to find out online. It’s all in the planning really – in business it might be an old cliché that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, but it holds very true all the same.
Are you looking for a hosted PBX supply partner? We offer excellent margins, unrivalled support and much more. Why not give us a call today on 0207 0999 930 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no obligation chat?