If you’ve spent time on our site, you’d know that we take pride in providing expert guidance and tutorials on selecting a VoIP provider. This past week I came across an article on Inc.com titled “What a 14-Year-Old Can Teach You About Management” – while reading the article I couldn’t help but relate 3 of the mentioned techniques to VoIP shoppers in search for that perfect provider. Lily is a 14 year old working her first job as a Christmas elf, the article was composed by her mother, Margaret Heffernan. Without further ado, I present to you Lily’s elf experience tips correlated to selecting a VoIP provider.
1. “People need to know what you offer. - She told her boss they needed a bigger sign, which they got the next weekend. Children piled in.”
When it comes to VoIP, this concept is an absolute must. Some business VoIP providers brand themselves using lingo such as Hosted, Cloud, Virtual, PBX, and others. KNOW exactly what a provider has to offer you. Don’t just take their fancy wording for it. Know what it means, and what you’re getting yourself into. If the “sign” doesn’t make sense or is too small, be sure to ask as many questions as you need. If it still doesn’t make sense, then perhaps its best to miss the sign and keep looking for another provider.
2. “It's more fun being busy. - No matter how thrilling or dull a job, it is always more fun being busy than sitting around. If you have employees who aren't busy, find something for them to do. Down time breeds discontent.”
When shopping for a provider, call up the provider’s tech, and customer support departments, surprise them with your set of questions. Ask them what they typically would do during low call volume and slow times. Would they sit around looking at their screen waiting for a call, or take that time to further familiarize themselves with their company’s products and services, and how to better address customer needs. You want to go with a provider that has their team constantly working on improving their knowledge base, especially during down time.
3. “Colleagues make or break the experience. - Her last day, Lily had a cold and didn't feel like working. I did not suggest she stay home; I just asked if she was up to it. She bridled, insisting that, however she felt, she couldn't let Ross--the Santa Claus--down. She'd instantly absorbed the fact that people in a business aren't loyal to the company but to each other.”
This point entails a deeper factor to consider when it comes to VoIP providers. In Lily’s scenario, I must say that was quite commendable character. However, when it comes to provider/subscriber relationships – it’s all up to the provider to make or break the experience. You want to be sure that the provider’s top concern is YOU. If you have an issue with your phone, how would the provider handle it? Would they put you on long hold times? Would they follow up? Would they immediately reply to your emails/trouble tickets? Do you have a personal rep? All these aspects can contribute to making or breaking the experience and (in result) the relationship.
Selecting a VoIP provider is a huge deal. Make sure to conduct thorough research on the potential provider, as signing up with the wrong provider can be detrimental, and extremely costly. While there are many guides floating around the web to help you, be sure to read consumer reviews and commentary.