Your telecoms system is at the core of your business. Without reliable and effective communication with your customers and between colleagues, you will struggle to operate.
So choosing a new partner for your telecoms services is a big decision. Unreliable, costly and ineffective telecoms services can destroy a business, so you must do your due diligence. In this blog article we will discuss what you should be looking for in a telecoms partner, and how to identify them.
Reputation and customer service
Customer service is everything. There isn’t a single supplier around who can guarantee that you’ll never have to contact them, or that nothing will ever go wrong. What’s important is how your partners respond to problems. Look for a supplier with a reputation for strong customer service, honesty and integrity.
Word of mouth counts for a lot! Whether this is from someone you know personally, or comes in the form of an online review, recommendations are valuable. Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective supplier for references, they should be happy to put you in contact with a similar business so that you can ask more specific questions directly.
Positive reviews are great of course, but you’d be surprised how much you can learn from negative reviews. Or perhaps more specifically, how a business responds to negative reviews. Every business will receive negative reviews. It’s an inevitability; from time to time, mistakes do happen. One of the most important things to look for while investigating a company’s reputation is their responses to negative reviews. The best partners will apologise and make a genuine effort to make amends.
Reliability is first and foremost among your requirements for a telecoms service. As we mentioned above, no one will be able to honestly guarantee 100% service uptime, but the closer you can get to this figure, the better.
Ask providers about their uptime stats for the year. Suppliers with reliable services are always keen to talk about it! Asking this question can tell you a lot about a supplier. The best and most reputable suppliers can provide documents demonstrating their network’s reliability; you should be looking for uptime of more than 99.9%. It’s a bit of an abstract number, so to put it into context, 99.9% monthly uptime translates to less than 45 minutes of downtime per month.
Value for money
It’s important to note that value for money is not the same as cost. Of course, the headline price factors into your decision, but what do you get in return for your outlay?
Have a good close look at offerings across the market and first identify those that provide the most useful features. This should help you narrow down the field considerably. From here, making a decision as to which supplier offers the best value for money, or return on investment, can come down to your plans for the future.
Are you looking to expand in the future? Do you need a fully managed service? Scalability is a key concern for many businesses, but if you don’t have plans to employ more staff or expand to other sites, do you need a system with all the bells and whistles?
It is also vital to understand the capabilities of the phone system you invest in. Many systems will offer the world at a very attractive price point, only for you to discover that most features are locked behind additional purchases. It is always worth understanding which features are most important for you.
Range of products
Consolidating your telecoms services to be provided by one partner can bring enormous benefits to your business. Not only does it unlock new avenues for system integration, but it also guarantees supplier accountability.
It’s naturally easier to handle a relationship with one supplier than the multiple you probably have right now. With connectivity, phone systems and business mobiles provided by one supplier, for example, you’ll only ever have to make one call if something were to go wrong.
You may find suppliers that are experts in one aspect of telecoms, but only offer one or two of the services that you typically use. While you may have a fantastic experience with that supplier and the service they provide, the value they bring to your business is limited.
Partnering with a supplier that provides a broad range of products and services should be a key goal for businesses looking to improve efficiency and save money.
Culture and Values
Does your current supplier’s culture and values align with your own?
It’s often overlooked but finding a like-minded telecoms partner can bring long-term benefits that can’t otherwise be matched.
Firstly, it’s far easier to build a friendly rapport with people you get along with. Having a good relationship with your account manager, for example, can pay dividends when contract renewal time arrives. You may find it easier to negotiate with a friendly supplier, arriving at the best deal sooner and with less stress.
Perhaps more importantly is the influence that a business’ values and culture can have on product decisions. A supplier whose culture is similar to your own is more likely to have products in the pipeline that you’ll like.
For example, look for a business that shares your approach to flexibility and remote working. The chances are good that they’ll be looking to launch products that reflect their own values. If these reflect your own, you may well find your partner launching incredible new services just as you start thinking “Wouldn’t it be nice if…”!
Now, how do you identify a potential supplier’s values? Speak to them! If they’re anything like us, they’ll always be happy to have a chat about their aims and targets as a business. Similarly, have a browse through their social media feeds. These can tell you a huge amount about how a company operates and what they value.
Finding a reputable, accountable and cost-effective telecoms supplier is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Hopefully after reading this blog you’ve got a good idea of what you’re looking for and how to find it. At F One, we believe that we meet all the criteria that you should be looking for. We pride ourselves on our honesty and integrity, so why not consider us when choosing a new partner for your telecoms? Speak to the team on 0330 221 1183, or check out our website at to find out more.