This month our Mystery Caller is looking to get a Unified Communications solution installed in his business and he is wondering if there is any reason why he shouldn’t go for Office 365. His small team are already using native Microsoft products and it seems like a logical step, however there are several options out there which he doesn’t really know a lot about. He doesn’t want to go with Microsoft just because he is familiar with the brand if there is something better out there which will do the job. He needs some advice; see how he got on below.
After a minor tussle with the T2K telephone option system I was put through to Lindsey who listened to my requests. She started asking me questions about numbers of users and the current set up of the office. She explained they offered Mitel systems and also had a hosted offering from Gamma.
Lindsey was interested in which features I was after and so I rattled off a list of things I thought the business needed. It was a basic list which included ‘one-number’, ‘presence info’ and ‘video conferencing’. As soon as I started mentioning high bandwidth features Lindsey started asking about the connectivity we were currently using and what we had in the area. She took a postcode to look it up but said our connectivity would determine what we can and can’t have.
Lindsey said she would go away and construct a few quotes based on our requirements which would tell us a little bit more about what we would be getting and how that would differ from a Office 365 offering. She wasn’t overly familiar with Office 365 but some of her team were so she would need to go away and ask what the major pros and cons were for each option. Lindsey took my contact details and said she would be in touch.
Total 18/30 –Ok. Lindsey did a fairly good job but didn’t really have enough information to hand to really make this an outstanding call. To her credit, she was very direct and honest with what she did know. She was quick to get all my details and pull a quote together so I would have some options to look over. I liked this approach a lot.
After listening to my initial request the operator put me on hold while she tried to contact the relevant sales person. After a few minutes on hold I was told the right people (ie. the sales team) were all occupied but she would get one of them to call me back. Just as I was about to hang up there was some commotion in the background and I was told one of the technical guys would happily try and answer any questions I had.
Ian picked up the phone and seemed interested in what I was after. He told me there were few differences between going down the Microsoft vs another vendor route but we should really be deciding based on what our requirements are.
I was taken through what we could expect in terms of equipment and software between various options and that as a company they tend to sell a lot of Avaya and Mitel. In terms of moving to a hosted environment it would come down to the connectivity available to us but if that was available then it would open up a new world for us.
Ian said if we were to go down the hosted route as a guideline we could expect to pay around £10 per month per user plus there would be some upfront cost if we still wanted hardware on the desks. He said a lot of new companies were going down this route because they preferred the opex model and it was easy to scale up and down. At that point I was curious what system they were using in house because the line seemed very choppy. It was an Avaya IP product, in fact it was so bad I had to call back only to get the same rubbish line.
We ended the conversation with Ian telling me he would pass my information onto the sales guys who would call me back in the morning.
I actually got a call back about twenty minutes later from a member of their sales team who reiterated most of what Ian had said. I didn’t catch his name but he was happy to come into the office to discuss our set up if we wanted more information. Again, he said we really needed to define what our requirements were to get the right solution to fit rather than trying to pick a solution and then make that fit our requirements.
Total 26/30 – Superb score! This was a great call from a company that really seemed to care about their customers. Not only did a technical guy over hear my initial conversation and rather than let the office hang up on me he decided to take up the mantle, but also I got a call back almost straight away from his sales representative. Added to the fact they gave me so much detail and explained we needed to consider all options in the context of our requirement this was simply an excellent call.
Two fairly decent calls this month. The stand out call was icom just because of the way I was handled. A member of the technical team went above and beyond to speak to me just from overhearing my conversation with the receptionist and gave me a really great run down of what they could offer me as an alternative to Office 365. I even got a call back from a member of the right team to reaffirm the options available to me and try and organise a meeting. I thought this approach was excellent and gives a lot of meaning to the adage that EVERYONE in a company is in the sales team, regardless of their role. I got a good feeling from the company as a whole and from my experiences I would guess they treat their customers very well. Lindsey from T2K also had a good call with a rather direct approach. She had some knowledge but really mapped out how the relationship would progress from that point. Lindsey said she would create some quotes and explain, with the help of some colleagues, what the advantages would be for going with a non-Microsoft option. It was short, sharp and to the point. Unfortunately the lack of knowledge to hand meant her score didn’t come close to icom. What can I say about Kaptec Telecom? Not much unfortunately!
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