Rating the Performance of your VoIP ProviderPosted on: 2016-12-09 | Categories: VoIP Services
If you are trying to select a VoIP provider for your organization, there are plenty of resources online that can help. There are articles, forums and entire websites dedicated to helping enterprises make VoIP related decisions. There are independent reviewers and companies who have lists of the best vendors in the VoIP industry and many of them are updated annually.
In most of these reviews, providers are given a rating to indicate how good they are. All of these resources are helpful before you actually commit to a single provider. But what about the post implementation period? After you have selected a vendor, implemented the VoIP service and have used it for a few months or years, do you know how well the vendor is doing relative to your expectations? It is not just about paying the bills every month and making sure the phones are working. You need to periodically assess the performance of your VoIP vendor.
Do I Need to Rate My Provider?
Organizations tend to view vendors who provide basic services – such as Internet connections or VoIP phones – more or less like utilities. As individuals, we don’t think twice about the gas or electric company as long as we have power or heat in the house. We pay our bills every month and that’s that. The same sort of thinking spills over within the organization.
But your VoIP service provider is much more than a basic utility. Any vendor who supplies a service or product that is crucial for keeping your business running is also a critical part of your organization. This is why business continuity plans often include service agreements with vendors and contractors. A problem with a vendor will have adverse effects on your company too.
Without periodic assessments – be it quarterly or annually – you have no idea whether the VoIP provider is living up to your initial expectations or not. You cannot be sure if you are getting your money’s worth or missing out on new features that the competition is offering. Another reason to rate your provider is it allows you to bring up issues so the vendor can fix them if needed. If you don’t know what problems you’ve had in the past, how will you stop them from happening in the future?
After the performance assessment, you may want to compare your existing service (and its accompanying issues) with other competitors and switch if necessary.
How to Rate The Performance of Your VoIP Vendor
There are many criteria you can use to rate the performance of your vendor. First of all, there is a basic requirement of actually providing the service that you’re paying for. VoIP phone service is not like traditional inventory systems that record deliveries by suppliers. You need to know if you experienced any downtime – scheduled or unscheduled – during the last year (if you are doing the assessment on an annual basis). You have to compare this downtime against the promises and guarantees included in the service level agreement. If the provider has not reached the required performance level, you will need to talk to them about compensation or other measures of restitution.
Another criterion is the level of tech support and customer service that has been provided to you over the past year. If you have had any problems, where they resolved in a timely manner? Were you able to reach the vendor whenever an issue had to be resolved? If your employees found it difficult to use the new phone system, were they able to access help easily? Answering these questions will give you a fair idea about issues that may need to be resolved going forward.
When assessing the performance, you should also consider the features which you are actually using versus the features you are paying for. Initially, you may have thought that a particular feature would be very useful for your business. But a year later, you realize that no one uses it. The reasons for this can be very – it may be too difficult, it may not work the way users expect it to work etc. This will give you an opportunity to change to a lower level plan or upgrade as necessary.
You can even solicit feedback through surveys or questionnaires from your employees on how happy they are with the new phone system. While it may not be the definitive indicator of vendor performance, it should give you a fair idea about any difficulties that users are facing.
Periodic assessments give you the chance to reevaluate your requirements and current systems. This way you know what needs to change or improve. You can then communicate with the vendor and work together to solve problems. Catching potential issues early makes it easier to solve them. It’s a much better option than having to change vendors because you found major problems too late.