“We have however established a very good working relationship with Nottingham based hosted telephony supplier Hello Telecom. Unlike other suppliers Hello Telecom fully understands the SME market and their need to control CAPEX cost elements. For example, Hello do not over specify expensive IP telephones which suits the recession hit SME with a tight budget and an aversion to long term CAPEX lease agreements that we often face across the table.
“Hello operates their own hosted telephony platform and in the last 18 months we have supplied over 20 customers with their service. Compared to say suppliers basing their service on a Broadsoft platform we have found Hello Telecom to be a fabulous organisation in terms of flexibility. They develop their own applications such as call centre and reporting which is great as the differentiation it provides us with wins us so much more business. Another winning strategy is that Hello includes features such as call recording which is so useful at the smaller end of the market where adding third party recording applications to a CPE solution can be very expensive.
“Connectivity is key to a successful hosted telephony implementation but with Hello telecom this has never been an issue for us. In the past we have learnt that if you get the connectivity wrong hosted telephony can be a disaster so we say to customers, ‘if you allow us to engineer the solution the way we know that it works then you’ll have a great service’.
“One of the benefits of hosted telephony is the ability to add homeworkers to the company system. Whilst we supply the Hello recommended QoS enabled leased line circuits at the main site we have found that homeworkers will settle for a lower quality line and the occasional voice blip. The network arrangements Hello Telecom has means we can get from anywhere in the UK a private ADSL circuit back on to their MPLS backbone with the result we are not trying to do comms over the internet. As ever, the challenge is to educate and convince users in the differences between the types of connectivity available.
“Why are SMEs buying a hosted service? Well the vast majority buy for the functionality and flexibility – especially multisite organisations, and not for the price. We say that if you buy cheap you will not get the functionality or service levels we provide.
“With regards to our outlook for the future we are very optimistic. There is a huge opportunity to develop further what we are doing – providing more for less for our customers. I see the market staying tough for a while longer. Watching the hype developing around the cloud is fascinating but essentially hosted telephony is a cloud based voice service anyway.”
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