Flipping Your Voice Infrastructure & Going Hosted
For communications infrastructure, decreasing churn is going to be a hosted or managed service provider's challenge.
Most any homebuyer looking for a lasting investment knows that purchasing a house that doesn't have good "bones" is a risky proposition -- unless you're looking to flip the house after a few quick repairs. The same principle equates to the corporate world relative to moving from a premises to hosted communications infrastructure.
As a case in point, let me tell you about the experience a nonprofit had being tied to a voice system and desk phones that were difficult to operate. In this case, some of the "bones" of the communications solution are the buttons on the organization's phones. Button functionality and placement are such rudimentary considerations of business phones that you would hope that provider would understand their importance, but that wasn't the case here. Rather, the provider glazed over functionality requirements in favor of cheaper phones.
For voice-reliant organizations such as this nonprofit, the right mix of buttons and functionality means easier call handling. Many businesspeople are comfortable with the traditions tied with using desk phones and aren't looking for any changes. They want a button for everything, and they want to see line status.
Besides having phones that weren't easy to operate, the nonprofit faced high costs associated with conference calling. It looked around and learned that it could negate its $500 monthly cost to support conference calls by going with a hosted voice provider offering a bridge with a dedicated DID number and phone features to support its needs at no additional cost.
With the money saved by going to the hosted service, the firm decided to replace a shared Internet connection with a dedicated fiber link. This didn't save it any money, but it now has better Internet service and is able to provide an improved user experience. What's more, the IP phones have intuitive interfaces that make them easier to use than the ones they replaced.
Even though the dedicated fiber washed out the hosted voice savings, users are happier with the ease of use of having the right-sized IP phones and feature sets in the cloud.
Replacing an on-premises PBX isn't just about plugging in a SIP phone that may or may not get a best route. A little more thought into what the users do, how they manage calls and perform call handling, and what they will or won't tolerate with desk phones or soft clients still prevail. Do it right and win the customer, do it haphazardly and expect the customer to flip again.
Decreasing churn is going to be a hosted or managed service provider's challenge. This isn't the only issue that customers cite as a reason for moving on to another provider. In this case, getting a better user experience and trading off an expense for a feature included in the new service to pay for better bandwidth tells that businesses want improvement and are willing to pay for it.