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2018 Winners in PBX Customer Satisfaction

Xorcom, RingCentral, and Vertical Communications are the 2018 Winners in PBX Overall Satisfaction, according to customers in a new Eastern Management Group global study of several thousand IT managers.
In the market research study, Eastern Management Group evaluated 16 PBX providers of hosted PBX (cloud), hybrid PBX (cloud and premises), IP PBX, traditional PBX, and server virtualization. It evaluated 10 measures of customer satisfaction, covering product, vendor experience, and customer delight. The findings are in a new Eastern Management Group report, “Premises and Hosted PBX Customer Satisfaction.”
The PBX contenders in the customer satisfaction study account for the majority of all business communications systems sold worldwide. They include 3CX, 8x8, Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Digium, Huawei, Mitel, NEC, NetFortris, Nextiva, Panasonic, RingCentral, Unify, Vertical Communications, and Xorcom.
According to Eastern Management Group analysts, achieving leadership in overall satisfaction is a great challenge. Customers both use and judge their phone systems each day. While quality of service is crucial, so is the portfolio of productivity features. According to Eastern Management Group research, customer requirements vary by vertical market.
PBX Leaders in Customer Satisfaction
In the study, customers evaluated their PBX vendor on 10 customer satisfaction measurements, including product, purchase experience, value, support, and overall satisfaction. Xorcom, RingCentral, and Vertical Communications all won in two or more categories.
Xorcom -- PBX Wildcard
Xorcom scored highest in four of 10 customer satisfaction measurements.
When I first met Xorcom a decade ago, the company made a richly engineered open source PBX. It now makes a richly engineered product portfolio. Today’s lineup includes phone system appliances, a virtual PBX, and a multitenant PBX for hosted PBX providers and multibranch enterprises. Since Xorcom is in 100 countries, it’s reasonable that Xorcom’s largest untapped local prospect base may exist in emerging markets. Here’s where thousands of telecom system providers and mobile network operators (MNO) need communications platform-as-a-service suppliers like Xorcom to quickly provision and turn up affordable hosted PBX solutions for small businesses, small office/home office (SOHO), and occasionally mid-market customers.
RingCentral -- Nimble and Operationally Sensible
RingCentral is a case study out of business school. Prophetically, as if expecting an onslaught of hundreds of cloud competitors (which did materialize), RingCentral spent wisely erecting a fortress to assure business longevity. RingCentral built its cloud software, business support systems, and operations support systems. RingCentral signed thousands of agents and added channel partners like Westcon-Comstor, TechData, CDW, Jenne, Intelisys, Ingram, and ScanSource.
For 2017 (2018 financials release date is Feb. 11) RingCentral had a gross margin of 76%, and a 1.96 (196%) quick ratio. Research and development was 15% of revenue, significantly higher than many well-known competitors.
RingCentral is not the cheapest hosted PBX when compared to other providers in our hosted PBX vendor pricing analysis, but the company is a vivid illustration of you-get-what-you-pay-for, and worth the money, according to our customer satisfaction survey.
Vertical Communications -- Hands-Down Winner over Time
The survey showed that customers think well of this flexible provider of communications platforms and applications. After acquiring Comdial and Vodavi, and partnering with Ericsson LG, Vertical went on to become a Mitel reseller, a cloud partner with Ericsson, and an 8x8 channel partner.
For customers, Vertical’s portfolio is sensible, and it creates a well-rounded set of choices. Vertical is a single vendor for customers, selling service, support, and operations. The company claims to focus on the specific solution tailored to each customer's needs. Our survey respondents seem to concur with this value proposition.
Vertical is the hands-down winner in three of what we refer to as life-cycle customer satisfaction measurements. In our opinion, it’s worth a look for purchasers.
In the next piece, I’ll present customer satisfaction measurement scores achieved by the largest PBX providers.
More information about the "Premises and Hosted PBX Customer Satisfaction Report" is available from Eastern Management Group or by contacting [email protected] directly.