Routing voice traffic over IP makes remote and mobile working much easier and more cost-efficient. IP sweeps away geographic boundaries and enables you to use voice across Internet, connecting remotely-located individuals and workgroups just as effectively as if they were in the same office. And wherever they are working, employees will always be available on their normal extension line. There is an important cost-saving here – previously, remote workers would have most likely used company mobile phones or their own ‘home’ business line.
As VoIP is a pure digital technology, it enables companies to take control of their resources and manage them more effectively. Call patterns can be accurately recorded, making more detailed job costing and time management possible. Call routing is managed faster and more efficient so, as well as productivity gains, the business can be more responsive and available to customers. Low-cost virtual call centres suddenly become a very real possibility even for relatively small organisations.
As yet, only a handful of service providers offer VoIP business solutions resellers need to make sure the choose the right partner for their needs – and one they can work with in the long-term. Here are some of the criteria which we believe resellers should apply when looking to team up with a VoIP supplier.
Are they one step ahead of you? – you need a service provider that is forward-thinking and ready to deliver so that, when your customers want to try VoIP, you can oblige them without delay.
Are they listening? – VoIP is not a one-size fits all solution, it’s about delivering a service that will help your customer become more efficient, flexible and responsive. Every customer needs will be different. Your service provider needs to recognise this and be capable of responding to their requirements and yours.
Do they have number selection ? – most customers will want their VoIP solution to be a straight replacement of their PSTN network. Many will prefer to continue using standard dialling codes (01, 02 etc) rather than non-specific numbers (0845, 0870…etc.).
Do they have good virtual coverage? – does the service provider have a virtual presence throughout the UK and can they provide an international service? Being able to provide a localised service may be critical to efficient operation and customer retention.
Will they protect customer investments? – no one wants to throw away their current PBX and all their investment with it. Your service provider needs to understand that and should provide a service that will work with existing infrastructure, keep capital investment down to a minimum, and allow the customer to grow and enhance their VoIP capability at their own pace.
Are they established and reliable? – your VoIP partner is going to be a strategic partner for your business and needs to be committed, financially stable and able to deliver good levels of support.
What else can they offer? – if it will very useful if your service provider can also provide you with a range of Internet and other connectivity solutions. With expertise in all of these areas they will be best-placed to support complete VoIP solutions. Having only one back-side to kick when things go wrong – and knowing that they will respond – will save you a lot of time, energy and hassle.
VoIP represents a massive opportunity for communications resellers. It delivers something new and valuable to your customers today. It delivers incremental business and will ensure that you retain your existing customers – and as we all know, it is much easier to introduce a new service to existing customers than it is to find and win new customers. This is very important because VoIP is really just the first step towards the full integration of the worlds of IT, the Internet and telecoms.
The opportunities to cross-sell and to develop and enhance services will escalate over the coming years and the time to start talking to customers and educating them about the benefits of VoIP is NOW. Although we can’t be certain of exactly when the big switch will come, one thing you can be sure of is that, if you don’t start taking the message to your customers soon, somebody else will.
Elsa Chen, MSc in Marketing Management, MBA in International Business Management, General Manager of Entacall Telecommunications Ltd., Entagroup.
Entacall provides white-label reseller program on full range of telecom services to UK reseller network.
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