When we consult with a surgeon, while seated on the examination table we don’t expect them to try and sell us a timeshare (“you’ll love the ocean view!”). When we board an airplane, we don’t expect to hear the captain get on the intercom and invite passengers to stop by the cockpit to purchase a state-of-the-art smoothie blender. When we meet with an architect about redesigning our home, we don’t expect them to peer up from their blueprints and say: “while I’m here, perhaps we can talk about your pet insurance needs?”
In other words, when we engage a specialist, we expect them to (as the name suggests) specialize in their respective craft. We don’t want them to dabble in other areas. We need and want their focused, proven expertise.
In a similar light, across the cloud-based telephone system marketplace there are specialists, and then there are generalists. From a distance, they may appear to be the same (which is precisely what generalists hope). But on closer inspection, it’s clear that specialists offer critically important advantages that include:
1. Deeper Product Knowledge
There are many components in a cloud-based telephone system, such as switches, routers, desktop IP phones, desktop analog phones with ATAs, IP conference phones, VoIP gateways, uninterrupted power supplies, automatic failure devices, IP pagers, IP strobe lighting, and the list goes on.
Specialists have deep, updated product knowledge and work closely with your organization BEFORE you make a purchase, in order to ensure that you get exactly what you need to meet your needs and goals. Generalists, however, are typically resellers who quote chapter and verse from manufacturer websites. Like walking into a car dealership and getting stuck with the salesperson who was hired yesterday, you’ll likely know more about the technologies and options than they do (“so, what’s it going to take to get you to buy this cloud-based telephone system by 5:00pm today?”).
2. Extensive Experience
Even the most straightforward installation can run into unexpected bumps in the road. For example, your old phone provider may drag their heels when it comes to porting your numbers. Or, you may be in the process of onboarding several new team members, which means down the road you’ll need greater bandwidth on your integrated data/voice network.
When it comes to dealing with these challenges, specialists have either “been there, done that” and know exactly how to resolve the situation, or they know precisely how to get the information they need to move ahead. On the other end of the spectrum, generalists typically have limited experience — because they’re juggling a variety of business lines and revenue streams. As such, if your challenge or goal is nuanced, complex or unique, you’ll find yourself with far more questions than answers.
3. Vetted Network of Proven Vendors
While customizing or implementing your cloud-based telephone system, you may discover that you need additional solutions. For example, your ISP may advertise a bandwidth speed or capacity that is significantly lower than what they are actually delivering. Or, it may come to light that your telecommunications infrastructure lacks important cybersecurity protections.
Specialists have a vetted network of proven vendors (of course, also specialists) who can be called upon to provide targeted solutions. These are vendors who stake their reputation on doing things the right way, for the right price. Generalists, on the other hand, are usually uninformed — or just plain uninterested — in facilitating solutions to problems that aren’t related to the phone system itself. It’s not a value add that they offer customers.
4. Superior Support
When it comes to cloud-based telephone systems, the question you need to ask isn’t “will we need support?”, but rather “when will we need support?” This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily run into one problem after another (and in fact, if you choose a reputable specialist then you won’t). Rather, it simply means that you’ll invariably run into scenarios when you need answers and advice. For example, your team may fall in love with the auto attendant feature (actually, you can count on this!), and need detailed guidance on how to use it. Or, you may expand your operations and need support to scale your system.
Specialists will provide you with superior support, for the simple reason that it’s one of their core competitive advantages. It’s what they do, and how they stay in business. Generalists, though, are far less interested (and some are notoriously bad) at delivering responsive, professional and efficient after-sales support. Why? Because their primary focus is on making the sale. Once the transaction is done and the “check has been cashed,” the relationship changes dramatically — and not for the better.
5. Get More for Less
Last but certainly not least: some people believe that choosing a specialist vs. a generalist means paying more. Surprisingly however, this is typically not the case. In fact, the opposite is true.
Due to their deep product knowledge, proven experience, and strong vendor relationships, specialists help organizations save money — both now, and into the future by helping you make decisions today that reduce costs down the road. Specialists also tend to work with fewer customers at a time than generalists, which means more time can be spent identifying needs and implementation solutions.
Generalists can seem at first glance to be the lower cost option, but when all of the numbers are added up (both what you get and what you don’t), the price tag is significantly higher vs. specialists. And because generalists tend to deal with higher volumes and support multiple business lines, they don’t need to make customer satisfaction a top priority. True, it’s important to their success, but it’s not vital to their survival — and that makes a BIG difference in their customer service policies and practices.
Carolina Digital Phone: Specialists Since Day One
At Carolina Digital Phone, we have proudly specialized in cloud-based telephone systems since day one. Over the years, have we had the opportunity to add other business lines and generalize? Absolutely. Have we been tempted to go in that direction? Absolutely not!
We believe that specializing in the design, delivery, implementation, maintenance and innovation of cloud-based telephone systems is the best way to serve our customers, and ensure that we EXCEED their expectations. That’s why we continue growing after two decades. Specialization to us isn’t a sales pitch or marketing slogan. It’s who and what we are.