Blog

5 Events Signaling it is Time to Change Phone Providers

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 4, 2018 9:50:00 AM

Changing phone providers isn't (and shouldn't be) top of mind for most businesses.  Investing in and managing the core business is always the priority, with infrastructure investments left to wait for the right time.  So, when is the right time?  There are some advantages from a strategic and efficiency standpoint that could make sense to implement at any time, but there are also some clear events that signal that it is time to change phone service providers and move to a VoIP phone system.

My_Phone_System_Crashed.jpgMy Phone System is Failing.  As phone systems age, businesses spend more and more time and resources on keeping it working.  This is an expense that is often overlooked when evaluating a system change.  The clearest signal that it is time to change is when the contractor used to maintain the system no longer supports the model.  Many times, parts are no longer available through normal distribution channels or are no longer being manufactured.  If your phone system parts are only available on eBay, then it's definitely time to make a move!

A great alternative to on-site phone systems is moving to a Hosted VoIP solution.  The problems cited above will not recur as it is the responsibility of the hosted VoIP provider to maintain and advance the phone system and service.  The business only purchases the VoIP phones, thus the only expense down the road will be for the occasional phone addition or replacement.

My Business is Moving.  This is a great time for businesses to evaluate their current phone system and provider.  Instead of spending the money on moving an old phone system, invest in a Hosted VoIP system.  The investment costs in Hosted VoIP are low because only VoIP phones are purchased.  The money saved on moving a system and potentially selling that system will more than likely offset the cost of the new VoIP phones.  Additionally, moving to a Hosted VoIP platform will provide additional flexibility to the business, as phones can be deployed anywhere there's access to high-speed internet.

Term_Contacts_bad_for_Phone_Service.jpgMy Telecom Contract is Expiring.  This is an obvious time to evaluate options, both on the phone service and phone system.  It is an opportunity to potentially save money on the monthly expenditure and remove the potential for non-budgeted expenses on phone system maintenance and obsolescence.  As stated earlier, the phone system and service are not necessarily top of mind for business executives.  Take a moment to review your current telecom contract to find the expiration date.  Your current provider will not likely remind you that your contract is expiring and you will find yourself auto-renewed.

You will find the telecom landscape has changed since you last signed your contract.  Most Hosted VoIP providers do not require contracts.  If they do, evaluate providers who do not, as there is no value in a term contract, except for the provider.  If the term contract is to secure pricing or concessions, you will find other providers have similar price advantages without requiring a term contract.

Phone Bill Rate Increase.jpgMy Provider Raised My Rates...Again!  One of the biggest complaints we hear about traditional phone service providers is that they raise their rates routinely.  There's typically fine print in any contract signed that allows for rates to be adjusted mid-term.  Moreover, rate increases are hidden in mysterious new surcharges that somehow appear on the bill.  They always sound "official" like "Recovery Fee".  The fact of the matter is that traditional telecommunication companies are losing traditional land lines in droves, and they're trying desperately to maintain margins by increasing their rates.

Get out of the cycle of absorbing rate increases and evaluate your options, as there are plenty out there!  At sipVine, we have never increased prices.  If fact, we have only lowered our prices since our inception in 2005.  Moreover, our published rates include any real surcharge costs we incur and we only add sales tax to our invoice.  Clearly, there are great alternatives to your current situation!

SIP_5ptchecklist_300x400.pngMy Competition has a Communication Advantage.  It may not be easily identified, but if your competition has moved to a Hosted VoIP platform, there are a number of advantages they have when it comes to their communication strategy.  Many areas can be made to be more efficient with direct inward dialing, call flow decisions, heightened remote or key contact availability, auto attendant features, and many more advanced communication features.  Where the previous four events are not high mindshare activities of business executives, leveraging infrastructure to create a competitive cost, efficiency, and communication advantage should be.  This is a great reason to evaluate a Hosted VoIP solution today!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: Hosted VoIP, Moving Phone Service, Telecom Term Agreements, Phone System Replacement

My Phone Company Loves Me....Not!

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 28, 2018 9:41:55 AM

The fact is that analog-based business phone systems and service are becoming a dying breed. Many businesses are waking up to the fact that their phone service company has given them little reason to remain a long-term and loyal customer. As businesses have made the switch to VoIP phone service throughout the last decade, traditional phone service providers have been grasping to hold onto their margins and their customers. Let's examine the evidence:

Break_Up_with_Phone_Company-5

Term contracts - Contracts are a relic of the old approach in the telecom industry. Those providers who offer term contracts indicate that it is to get the best rate on the bundle of services they offer. It is evidenced by price differences between the lengths of the contract term offered. The only real benefit goes back to the provider, as they are able to hold on to their margins with these business customers for a little while longer. There are viable alternatives to the traditional phone company. In today’s marketplace, most providers of VoIP phone service do not require a term contract to secure pricing. 

Term_Contacts_bad_for_Phone_Service

The dreaded auto renewal - Hand in hand with term contracts are auto-renewals. These are usually buried in fine print or even referenced on terms and conditions not immediately reviewable on the order, but on a website. There's nothing worse than being ready to make a switch in phone technology and service providers and finding that your contract with the current provider auto-renewed. If you are thinking about switching to a VoIP business phone service, be sure to examine the fine print of your term contracts and save the date for making the switch on your calendar.

Price increases - As more and more analog business lines are moving to a VoIP Business phone service, traditional telephone companies have raised the monthly rates on their lines. It should be noted that very little investment is taking place on the core analog technology by these providers. Raising rates is a tactic to preserve margins and not to recoup investment.

Old_Telephone_Technology

Technology stagnation - Within the VoIP phone service platforms there are numerous features and benefits to advance the communication practices of your business. Analog technology is old and systems left supporting that platform do not have the flexibility of where phones are physically deployed and do not have a robust set of features to match the technology of VoIP platforms. No one likes to be in a stagnant relationship, and traditional phone providers have all the incentive to hold on as long as possible.

Remember, it's not you, it's them!  Break up with your phone company! There are gems of VoIP service providers in the marketplace who are set to provide cutting edge features, and have raised the bar in terms of customer service. There are a few steps you can take to prepare your business to break up with your current carrier:

  1. Examine your current carrier contract. Look for your contract end date and be wary of auto-renewal provisions.
  2. Review your internal network for VoIP readiness. VoIP phones run over your office Ethernet network. If your computers are connected to your network via an Ethernet cable, you are good to go.
  3. Evaluate your bandwidth utilization. A VoIP call does not require that much bandwidth. Frankly, internet speed availability has increased dramatically over the last several years that this is not a great concern. If you haven't upgraded your internet speeds recently, you should make sure that you are not saturating your current circuit with your data usage.
  4. Research and select a VoIP Business service provider. The alternatives are many, so be sure to capture references. The best answer isn't always a known national brand, but going with a local provider requires careful research and consideration. There are great ones to work with.
  5. Work with your selected provider for porting numbers. You will want to time your install and number porting in context with your contract term expiration date. If your current provider requires notice, you will need to provide it relative to the timing of the install and port.

Isn't it time to work with a phone provider that loves your business? Experience how refreshing and different that relationship can be!

 

About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: Telecom Term Agreements, VoIP Phone Service, Changing Phone Service Providers

Reminder:  Your Telecom Term Contract is Expiring

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 18, 2016 1:55:46 PM

This is the year! You placed a reminder on your calendar that your business telecommunications term contract is expiring.  Every year, you've been burned by the dreaded auto renewal provision that is in the fine print somewhere and this is the year you are going to break from the shackles of term contracts and make a change in your phone service!

Reminder_Telecom_Contract_Expiring.jpgLet's recall why you want to make a change.  The phone service contracts seem to be very one-sided.  They auto renew "as a service" to make sure you are able to keep the "good" rates.  However, your phone bill seems to grow as each year passes.  Moreover, your current phone service ties you into your old, analog phone system.  You've seen your business peers and competitors switching to hosted VoIP phone service and have heard about all of the cool features that can benefit your company.  Time to dust off your old research and review.

Reasons to Move to Hosted VoIP:

State-of-the-art technology for a small investment.  Analog phone systems are a thing of the past.  You can take advantage of the myriad of features but not break the budget in doing so.  With hosted phone service, you only need to purchase the VoIP handsets.  The phone system is managed and maintained by the hosted VoIP provider.  Additionally, you do not need to worry about the system becoming obsolete, as that again is the responsibility of the provider.  Thus, not only is your current investment cost low, you will not have to invest in a system ever again!

Monthly savings.  Many times, the monthly cost of hosted VoIP service is lower than your current phone service spend.  You are able to calculate a direct return on investment without even considering the indirect benefits driven by a hosted phone service.

Features to benefit your business.  There are many standard features that come with hosted VoIP service, such as voicemail to email.  The real benefit is driven by the opportunity to improve your internal and external communication practices.  Primarily this involves the programming of call flow, the auto attendant, and other features to delight your customers.  This can include direct dial numbers, mobility features for your sales / service teams, hunt groups or queues, and other practices that can increase the accessibility of your associates to your customers.

Virtualization.  Because the phone system is no longer on a wall in your equipment room and is accessible via the internet, your phones are not confined to the four walls of your office.  You can integrate several locations, remote employees, and mobile employees into one system.  This will improve your internal efficiencies.  Plus, the external customer can be served by the appropriate associate no matter where they are located.

Provider Selection:

No contracts.  You can start with hosted VoIP providers who do not require term contracts.  You've experienced the negatives associated with being tied to such contracts with your current telecom provider, why go down that path again?  You'll find this segment of providers to be more flexible and desirous of not being categorized with the traditional approach to telecom.

Customization.  No business is the same.  The customer service strategies, call flow, and operating principles are unique to the business and management philosophy.  Find a provider who will take on the customization of their system to match your business.  Many VoIP providers hand over an on-line portal for you to handle all of your administration and design.  Instead, look for the providers who will handle all of this for you.

Approach to customer service.  If you find a provider that offers no contracts and will handle the configuration and administration of your service, chances are they will also have the right approach to customer service.  With no contracts, they are incented to serve your business well every day.  By customizing your service, they get to know your business very well.  By performing your phone administration, they use this knowledge and this incentive to respond expeditiously and with contextual expertise. 

Check references.  It's always good to discuss their approach to service with several of their current customers.

Time to move!  Select your provider and your phones.  Discuss your requirements and set a time frame for porting your numbers.  And, don't forget to notify your previous provider that you are no longer going to be a victim of their auto-renewal practices!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: Telecom Term Agreements, Hosted VoIP

Why Sign a Term Contract for Your Business Digital Phone Service?

Posted by Mark Greim on May 19, 2010 8:28:00 AM

You don’t need to! Simply put, traditional business telephone providers want to lock you in, and term contracts in exchange for something is how they do it.  It’s all about creating a guaranteed return on their marketing and sales investment. 

Examples of methods utilized to coerce you into signing term agreements are:

1.   Special promotional or advertised pricing is only available with a term agreement

2.   Up-front installation or other “activation” fees are not waived without a term agreement 

Once you’ve signed a term agreement, you pay penalties for early termination and service downgrades. Additionally, you may face auto-renewal notice requirements that, if missed, can lock you in for another year or longer.  Finally, many of these contracts don’t provide you with price protection.  Check the fine print to see if the rates are subject to change without notice. 

sipVine is a different telecom provider

There are business phone providers out there who are willing to earn your business every day without the protection of a term contract.  At sipVine, we believe that our advertised or current price schedule should be uniformly applied and available to everyone who wants to use our service.  We also stand on the principle that customers deserve the right to change providers if the service does not meet their expectations.  It may not be a standard business practice for the telecom industry, but it is a fundamental way of doing business for sipVine. 

So, as you are evaluating a change in your phone providers, suggest that you can receive advertised prices without signing a contract with other providers and see if the providers will match that understanding.  If not, call us!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.   

Tags: Business Digital Phone Service, Telecom Term Agreements

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts