So you have weighed the Pros and Cons of legacy phone systems vs newer cloud-based phone systems and decided that your company is ready for the cloud, but now what? With so many different types of cloud phone systems to choose from in the market, selecting the right service provider for your business is a challenge. While you should definitely take costs, features, and other factors into account the two most important criteria for evaluating different cloud providers are #1 Platform and # Service Level.
Platform is Paramount
It pays to really understand the underlying technology – or platform – behind your cloud service provider. The platform determines the provider’s ability to innovate rapidly and drive the biggest impact for your business.
Some cloud phone system providers base their service on freeware code that has been available for many years on the Internet. It’s great for them because it is low-cost to develop and allows them to start their businesses up quickly. Unfortunately many of these freeware-based services have issues with quality, and more worryingly, security that ultimately could cost you dearly with a fraud attack. By contrast there are some highly industrialized platforms out in the market today developed by specialized vendors. They deliver superior features and functionality, reliability and a proven track record.
At Altus we rely on the BroadSoft platform. BroadSoft is used by hundreds of service providers worldwide and supports more than 10M users deployed. Make sure your service provider is using enterprise-grade technology and you won’t be left out in the cold when you move to the cloud.
What is the service provider’s approach to customer service? There are some big differences out there. Some cloud phone providers deliver their solution 100% remotely via the phone, web demos, and emails with no salesperson, voice engineer, or support technician ever setting foot on the customer site. These providers often rely exclusively on self-help videos or online quick reference guides, and to the extent there is any live human support it is strictly from off-shore call centers. Other providers take a more hands-on approach, allocating more resources to in-person support from experienced people.
Call flows within a business can often be complicated, with multiple auto-attendants, hunt groups, and call trees frequently required within the same corporate environment, particularly as you move toward the enterprise. Make sure that your service provider has expertise in these areas and will provide you with the hands-on support you require. Some cloud providers have experienced teams and will set all of these things up in person as part of a white glove implementation. Other providers will ship you the phones and leave you to install them. Make sure you know what you’re buying.