Hosted VoIP companies are making their mark at delivering customer service, taking advantage of their unique position with their customers. Everyone has experienced the low standard setting level of support and service from large, traditional telecommunication carriers and even some of the larger VoIP providers. There are many Hosted VoIP providers who have taken the opportunity to create a higher standard of customer service and reset the expectations of the business community.
With more and more businesses moving to a VoIP service from non-traditional telecom providers, the concept of a rising tide lifts all boats doesn't apply here. With declining business landlines, telecom providers have continued to outsource, offshore, or cut back their customer service resources, which simply has accelerated the trend.
Certainly, there's more at play than customer service. The technology itself is a driving factor, as businesses are investing in the new technology to improve their own communication practices. Additionally, VoIP represents a new "bundle" when compared to the former approach of bundling transport (voice, data, video) or bundling features within each area of transport. With Hosted VoIP, the new bundle is that of your phone system and phone service under the same provider. How does this make a difference? Well, good Hosted VoIP companies provide consultation and custom programming of the system. In doing so, they get to know their customers very well. As changes are required and other opportunities for providing service arise, they actually know the customer and can service the business from that context.
Not all Hosted VoIP companies leverage this opportunity. Some provide self servicing portals and/or deploy a call center approach to their technical support. Others, like sipVine, customize all of the system builds to meet the customer's unique communication needs and have built their support processes to direct customers to the specific team of support personnel with who are familiar with the customer. Imagine a phone company who really knows you when you call. Further, what if that same company provided you an extension that will funnel directly into a support team with whom you have worked with before? That's what I'm talking about as standard setting customer service!
sipVine's Chief Technology Officer, Colin Wells, explains how sipVine has positioned the technical support organization to place the focus on customer service: "Where the VoIP technology is fantastic in breadth and flexibility, we believe that the best approach is to take a consultative approach with the customer from the outset. Our VoIP Solutions Specialists work with the business to understand their unique call flow and communications needs, and provide the design guides to the technical team. The technical team assigned to the system build for the customer also takes on-going service and administrative changes for that customer. Therefore, they are familiar with the customer when they call and drive home an experience that they never have had before with other providers."
If that type of relationship is what you are looking for in your phone service provider, fully research potential VoIP providers with an eye for how they approach their system builds and handle customer service. Getting a quote from a sales rep is only one area of measurement. Find out their next steps and speak to a person who will be servicing your account in the future. If that person is one of many in a call center, you may not receive the customer service you are looking for, and certainly not what is possible to be delivered.