4 Questions You MUST Ask Before Switching Your Current Hosted Telecommunication Provider

Many times in our professional and personal lives, we believe that the “grass is greener on the other side” — only to discover after making a change, that the grass isn’t greener at all. In fact, sometimes it’s not even grass, but the painted carpet stuff that they use in some baseball stadiums.

The reason we bring this up, is because some schools, businesses, and government agencies that are quite happy with their reliable and affordable hosted telecommunications provider, get seduced by a competitor that promises all kinds of benefits and extras — and for an “amazing low, low price.”

Yet in many cases, these promises never materialize. It’s all sizzle, and no steak. How do we know? Because we’ve been in the hosted telecommunications space for nearly 20 years, which is an eternity in this industry where the lifespan for most companies a few years — and in some cases, a few months!

And throughout this time, we’ve lost track of how many new players have entered the marketplace, created a whole bunch of flashy hype, and then disappeared — but only after leaving a trail of very angry ex-customers in their wake. Trust us on this, because we’re the ones they call to get them back on track, and get the advanced and affordable hosted telecommunications system they needed in the first place (and of course, we make it happen!).

And so, if you’re currently happy with your hosted telecommunication system provider — i.e. they’ve delivered on their promises and continuously demonstrated how much they value your business — but are nevertheless being “headhunted” by competitors, here are 4 questions you MUST ask to save yourself a great deal of money, time and regret:

1. Are you really getting a better deal?

On the surface, it make look like switching providers will lead to cost savings. But you really need to dig deeper and crunch the numbers to see if all that glitters is really gold. For example, many providers promise all kinds of free services, but in reality it’s not free forever. Often, it’s free for 1 year on licenses with a limited number of simultaneous calls.

Plus, there are always setup and support costs that need to be factored into the analysis. And speaking of support costs: many of the aggressive providers in the marketplace have regularly raised their support costs over the years. Many customers are very unhappy to realize that when they first signed up annual support costs were about 20 percent of the initial purchase price, but have since risen to 30 percent or more.

2. Do they specialize in hosted deployments?

The importance of this question cannot be underestimated! Many providers offer both on-premises and hosted deployments, but this doesn’t mean they support them equally. In most cases, the bulk of their resources are allocated towards their (much more profitable) on-premises product.

And don’t be fooled by promises like “oh don’t worry, you can use the on-premises product remotely”. This compatibility is NOT out-of-the-box. On the contrary, it is much more complex and requires excessive setup time, and it likely doesn’t support a Windows environment — which is what most organizations use.

3. How are internal class classified?

Some providers make a really big deal about how you’ll enjoy “affordable calling. But what they typically DON’T make explicit is that they count internal calls as part of simultaneous calls. For example, if you can have up to 16 simultaneous calls and 20 internal staff members are having a conversation (which equals 10 internal calls), then you will only be able to make 6 more internal or external calls. Any more, and — yes, you guessed it — you’ll have to pay more.

4. What is the support?

Where all (so-called) low cost providers make their money is on support, which they charge by the hour — and it’s not cheap! Furthermore, these providers typically don’t offer geo-redundancy support, which means that in the event of a local power outage due to inclement weather, natural disaster, or any other factor the entire system will go offline for minutes, hours — or maybe even days.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is clear and straightforward: do your homework, ask tough questions, and absolutely refuse to settle for fuzzy “marketing spin” answers. Because sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Isn’t it wiser to figure this out before making a switch vs. after?

Thinking of a “DIY” VoIP Phone System for Your Business? Think Again!

Don't DIY a Business VoIP Phone SystemThe strongest and most successful businesses aren’t those that out-spend their competitors. Rather, they out-smart them by knowing when taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach makes strategic and financial sense — and when it’s a really bad idea.

What does this have to do with VoIP phone systems? It’s this: there are some mass market VoIP vendors in the marketplace that want businesses to think that a DIY VoIP business phone system is easy, smart and cost-effective.

However, if you ask an overwhelming number of businesses that have been misled by this hype, you’ll discover that the experience is tedious, disappointing and expensive; the latter because within weeks (or sometimes days) of implementation, businesses are forced to call a VoIP Solutions Provider to come to the rescue, and put in place the phone system that they believed they were getting to begin with!

Still not convinced? That’s good: because here at DigitalPhone.io, we deal in facts instead of myths, and believe that an educated customer is the best customer. With this in mind, here are the three reasons why a DIY VoIP Phone System will soon have you sending out an SOS:

1. If something goes wrong, you’ll be on your own — unless you’re willing to pay.

You can completely ignore any service promises that mass market VoIP vendors make, because WHEN (not if!) you have an issue or need to reconfigure your system, you’ll be told that your only option is to purchase a ridiculously expensive maintenance plan, or pay through the nose for a technician to provide on-site service.

However, if you purchase your system from a legitimate VoIP Solutions Provider, then you’ll get exceptional and responsive technical support without paying an extra cent. What’s more, your VoIP phone system will include a managed router, which enables technical experts to perform a wide range of maintenance, troubleshooting and configuration tasks remotely — which means they can be taken care of rapidly; often within minutes or hours of identifying an issue or submitting a request

2. Don’t count on the help resources being all that helpful.

You may have some talented technicians in your business who can solve all kinds of challenges. But even these DIY wizards are going to fly the white flag of surrender when they see what kind of “helpful resources” are in store for them when it comes to dealing with VoIP configurations and issues: outdated FAQs, useless videos, and manuals that are so incomprehensible that they might as well be from IKEA.

On the other end of the spectrum, your in-house IT team won’t face any installation or support burden. Everything is handled by your VoIP Solutions Provider. That means no white flags of surrender (or angry emails saying “if I get one more end user asking me how to set up the auto attendant feature I’m going to go  @#!@*&! crazy!”)

3. Don’t expect to take the shortest path to value.

It goes without saying that you want to start reaping the rewards of your VoIP phone system ASAP, so that you can take the shortest path to value and start generating cost savings and performance gains. But none of this is going to happen with a DIY system, because it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it thing. To get the most value, you need to monitor various metrics, and optimize based on actual system usage. You may also need to resolve issues with your ISP (some ISPs are notorious for exaggerating bandwidth speeds, and a VoIP phone system is going to reveal the truth!).

Fortunately, with a VoIP Solutions Provider, you don’t have to worry about paying more for less, or taking the long and winding road to value and ROI. That’s because they — not you — will take care of all system monitoring, testing and optimization, and make sure that you’re firing on all cylinders.

The Bottom Line

There are times when doing things DIY makes sense. But then there are other times when partnering with experts is the right way to go — and switching to a VoIP phone system definitely applies! We’ll conclude with the sage advice of 19th century social thinker and philanthropist John Ruskin:

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all.

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. 

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

To learn more about getting the VoIP phone system that your business wants, needs and EXPECTS from day one, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Call us at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation is free!

Five Reasons Why a Conventional Premises-Based Phone System is So Expensive

hosted voip phone systems for businessWhen we analyze a customer’s telecommunication needs and present a customized solution, the first thing we usually hear is: “wow, I had no idea that we could be saving so much!”

Of course, there are several reasons why a hosted VoIP phone system dramatically reduces telecommunications costs — and we’ve highlighted some of the key factors in this article.

However, the other side of the coin that we want our customers to understand, is that conventional premises-based phone systems are (and always have been) excessively expensive. Here are the key reasons why:

⦁ Maintenance Fees

Maintenance fees for a conventional premises-based phone system can reach into the thousands of dollars a year. What’s more, most businesses have no choice but to pay the exorbitant fee, because they lack the in-house expertise to maintain the system on their own. It goes without saying that this profitable detail is not lost on phone companies that view maintenance agreements as cash cows.

⦁ Service Charges

Few things in this world are as frustrating as getting “dinged” by vague, unexpected and usually unjustifiable service charges. Well, phone companies take this to the next level by billing for anything and everything they can that falls outside the Service Level Agreement (which as noted above, businesses are already paying for).

And that’s not even the worst of it: fixing telecommunications-related problems isn’t cheap. A single on-site visit from a technician will cost a few hundred dollars, and all replacement parts (such as a new handset) will make the bill even bigger — and more infuriating!

⦁ Weird Monthly Fees

Phone companies are famous — or make that infamous — for charging weird monthly fees that show up on the bill. Sometimes it’s a few dollars, other times it can be $50 or more. Over a year, it can easily add up to several hundred or more than a thousand dollars. But for what!? Nobody really knows. The basis for these charges are rooted in an incomprehensibly complex agreement that even give lawyers a headache to read.

⦁ Scaling

Everyone who launches a business hopes that they’ll grow big. However, phone companies have a different dream: one in which they bill expanding businesses through the nose when they want to add new numbers.

⦁ Adding Calling Features

Last but certainly not least, businesses that want — or need —carrier-class calling features like voicemail-to-email and auto attendant will see their phone bill rise, rise and rise some more. Evidently, phone companies haven’t received the memo that voicemail, Caller ID and call forwarding are no longer “super-ultra-mega-advanced features”. They’re basic staples that all businesses expect, and so do residential customers for that matter. This isn’t 1990.

The DigitalPhone.io Advantage

At DigitalPhone.io, we don’t charge for maintenance, and we never tack on weird and inexplicable service charges or monthly fees. This not only helps our customers save money, but they get cost certainty as well, which makes budgeting easier and more predictable. Plus, our hosted VoIP phone system comes with a full range of carrier-class calling features, and scaling up to add new employees is fast, easy and remarkably affordable.

To learn more, simply call us at (336) 560-4400 today or click the Contact Button on your right. Your consultation with us is free!