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UCaaS-Hosted Telephony Spotlight: 10 Issues Partners Need to Address

Changing customer preferences are impacting the need for quality of service.

Edward Gately

December 23, 2019

10 Slides

Fully addressing end customers’ unified communications (UC) needs can be tricky business for partners.

In the second of our three-part series, “UCaaS/Hosted Telephony Spotlight,” we look at 10 issues partners need to keep in mind to ensure their customers are fully satisfied with their UC, UCaaS and contact center solutions. They range from knowing exactly where a customer’s data resides, to providing services like billing without mistakes.

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Sandler Partners’ Eric Beller

Changing customer preferences are impacting the need for quality of service (QoS), said Eric Beller, Sandler Partners‘ senior vice president of sales and complex solutions.

“Workforces are more mobile than they used to be and that is changing the game,” he said. “Mobility is one of the biggest drivers for PBXs going by the wayside, that along with slow pace or lack of feature development. There’s so much more competition now than ever before and that has made it very hard for the premises-based vendors to keep up.”

The fact that many of the premises-based vendors have gone bankrupt or don’t exist also has changed the game for clients, Beller said.

“I’m seeing lots of movement away from premises-based to cloud-based PBXs for larger customers of 200-plus seats,” he said. “The pricing is crazy competitive for those customers to move to the cloud. Contact center also is a big driver for cloud-based systems. Customer service departments are now using chat, email, [text] and social media to interact and service clients. CRMs are tied into the communication system to improve support. This is why so many companies are moving to CCaaS.”

Jon Arnold, principal analyst at J Arnold & Associates, said QoS in voice communications is always a high expectation, including uptime and a quality experience with little or no interference or degradation.

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Arnold & Associates’ Jon Arnold

“Expectations are higher in the sense that as companies use these technologies to become more customer facing, they need to make sure that that voice quality isn’t compromised,” he said. “If you’re thinking of UC strictly for internal purposes, it’s not so important, but if you are a company that is trying to become more customer-centric where touch points with the customer aren’t restricted to the contact center, and your sales departments and marketing teams may all have reasons to communicate externally with end customers, that’s where those expectations get a little higher and that quality of service is important.”

It’s also an issue for businesses that are becoming more distributed, with operations across different geographies, and telephony partners that provide the dial tone and the actual VoIP service may have to partner with three or four carriers to provide a truly global service, Arnold said.

“And another part of that QoS is that we’re relying more and more on our mobile phones … and cellphone quality has never been good and I don’t think it’s ever going to be as good as landline,” he said. “And because we’re relying more on mobile phones, there might be an unrealistic expectation that that quality should be the same, and maybe that will come with 5G. So it’s going to be harder to maintain expectations that you had before with landline phones.”

Rick Beckers, CEO of XaaS1, said it’s important to offer reliable service uptime with QoS considerations that are built in and can be diagnosed by the partner via a performance console.

“This lets the partner see and diagnose things on behalf of their customers as a component of their own help desk,” he said. “[An] out-of-the-box solution should be reliable. And in those instances where there are issues, let a partner see behind the curtain to try to isolate and diagnose the problem without always having to rely upon the vendor to fix the problem in a vacuum. It creates a higher level of confidence for the partner and the customer.”

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Telarus’ Andrew Griffiths

Andrew Griffiths, Telarus‘ vice president of CC/UC business development, said it’s always a good idea to take a tour of the site and ask people about their jobs.

“Most businesses don’t realize they have CCaaS type needs even though they actually have multiple informal contact centers,” he said. “Ask about remote workers and check for other locations on their website, making sure all user groups are covered.”

Scroll through our list of 10 UC issues. Then, check out part one on game-changing innovations, and part two on sales does and don’ts.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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