What communications system is best for your customers?

How well do you know your customers’ telecommunications priorities? Are they looking for reliability and ease of management, or is their sole focus cost?

Whatever they put at the top of their list should guide your product recommendation. After all, repeat business is more likely with happy customers than those who believe that they’ve been mis-sold the wrong product.

But with so many differing concerns and niche customer requirements, it can be hard for channel partners to always give the right advice and product pitch. What are the most common telecommunications buying triggers, and which solution works best for each?

Cost

The most common impetus behind the decision to change telecoms solution is either that a current system is no longer fit for purpose, or that it is no longer cost effective. In both cases finance will be one of the most pressing concerns about moving to an alternative.

The best solution for prospects who are upgrading will either be SIP or hosted telephony. And both offer huge financial benefits, in terms of expenditure and efficiency-based savings.

Replacing traditional PBX telephony systems can yield a significant saving in itself. Add onto that a 50% line rental reduction with SIP, or competitive rates for combined mobile and fixed lines with hosted, and the deal begins to look very good indeed.

Finally, with either hosted or SIP telephony, your customers stand to benefit from greater reliability, which means no missed calls and no lost sales opportunities.

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Flexibility

If you are working with growing or seasonal businesses, then flexible communications systems will be a big part of the conversation. The need to add and remove new lines during peak trading, or times of substantial growth, is hugely important. It is the difference between having the ability to respond to demand, and regretfully having to turn business away.

Cloud-hosted telephony is the best answer for prospects with flexibility at the top of their agenda. It allows for the immediate addition and removal of new lines. And because the end user controls where calls go, new and temporary workers can take calls on their mobiles until fixed phones are available.

Location

While some of your customers need telephony that supports rapid growth, others will be looking for systems that support working across multiple locations. The telephony challenge may be the addition of a new office, for example, a retail support call centre to handle a surge in call traffic over the Christmas period. Or to ensure that home workers have the same tools as their central office colleagues.

Both SIP trunking and hosted telephony solutions can respond to the location priorities of businesses. SIP trunking providers often offer free internal calls and Skype integration, so remote employees or offices can easily connect to HQ. Whereas the ease of use and flexibility hosted telephony offers means that new office locations can be quickly set up and operational.

Management

One of the primary benefits of a next-generation communications system, such as SIP or cloud-hosting, is easier telephone and mobile management. Both of these give organisations the chance to take control of their telephone system, access information and decide where and how they want calls delivered and routed.

System choice comes down to in-house resource. Because it is an infrastructure based system, SIP needs an expert within your customer’s team (or for them to purchase a management contract from you). Hosted, on the other hand, is all in the cloud. So there is nothing on site to be maintained. Instead the person responsible for telephony can monitor performance and access reports via an online interface.

In a telecommunications environment with so many products and priorities, it is essential that channel partners match these for their prospects. Doing so is the quickest way to win contracts and build lasting customer relationships.

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11 February 2016 | Justin Coombes

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.