When it comes to telecommunications technology, everyone wants to know two things: What will it do for my business and what will it cost me? If you’re reading this, then you probably already know the answer to the first question. But Bitco Sales Director, Michael Colin, points out that there are a few more questions you should be asking your telecoms operator before discussing money matters, starting with these five:
- What level of uptime can you guarantee?
Outages happen, but how often depends on your service provider. All of them will claim their network is reliable, but what you want is one with adequate network diversity and redundancy, to ensure uptime even in the event of a network device or path failure… and will say so, on paper.
Many telecoms operators outline uptime guarantees in their Service Level Agreements (SLA), some for as much as 99%. These companies should be your starting block.
- What solutions do you offer and under what conditions?
If you want ultimate integration – and less admin – you’ll need to find a provider that offers a comprehensive range of telecommunications services. This means not only a variety of solutions such as fibre, wireless and VoIP, but multiple products or options for each of these solutions. Being able to choose the most suitable one for your unique business means that you’ll only pay for the value you’re actually getting. Are you beginning to see why asking these questions before considering costs is so important?
- Do you use third party suppliers?
If your network connection was a road, your infrastructure would be the system of traffic lights, and whoever controls that, controls traffic… in this case, contention. A carrier that uses third party suppliers cannot offer this.
If you want to ensure you always have the green light, to do business with the biggest bandwidth possible, a Tier 1 telecommunications operator that owns all their own Last Mile Network is your best bet.
- How much after-sales support do you provide?
What a telecoms operator will do to get you on-board isn’t as important as what they’ll do to keep you there. Get clarity on what will happen after your transition to your new service provider, especially when it comes to customer support.
Ask about support hours, timelines and procedures such as, “Will I have a direct support contact?” and “Will you dispatch someone if I need an urgent repair?” Safer is better than sorry, and sooner is better than later, so iron out all these details now. You don’t want to have to juggle them when you already have a crisis on your hands.
- How can your services better my specific business?
If your contact centre is the primary driving force of your business, then time and skills-based routing is a priority for you. Do you have a mobile workforce? Then you’ll need a service provider who can offer those employees the same level of network coverage and security as in-office employees. And if your business is likely to have a growth spurt, you had better make sure your new service provider has what’s needed to support it both today and tomorrow.
Telecommunications technology has transformative potential for your business, but only if you’re partnering with the right service provider. Make sure to ask the right questions to make sure you know what you’re walking into, before you sign on the dotted line.