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Short Term Thinking as Customers Hanging Up the Phone

Business Voice has a history, and not in a good way. The non-ILECs have made voice an ordeal for business customers. It started when CLECs were selling Integrated T1s like hotcakes. LNP issues. RESPORG/ Toll-free problems. Deployment messes. [To be fair, when BellSouth launched BIS-T1, it was a disaster as well. A huge cluster of a F!] Intermedia.net gave an interview to CRN saying that "Every business needs a voice offering, and solution providers that aren't offering VoIP to their customers today are leaving money on the table." True. But voice isn't just a copper line any more. Cellular, SIP Trunks, TDM, Hosted PBX, UC, WebRTC in apps and more are available to replace the POTS lines. This only adds to the crazy. Plus compatibility and inter-operability issues for PBXs, faxes, alarms, elevators, paging and more. Key System Emulation makes me crazy. Intermedia continues, "I've been thinking about what's stopping partners from selling voice, and they must have bad information. They must be believing something that used to be true but that isn't true anymore." Spoken like someone who hasn't been near a customer in ten years. Years of really bad implementations of voice services have resulted in horrible customer experiences. It is why many partners shy away from voice. Sure, a replacement SIP Trunk for a PRI may seem easy until you miss a Toll-free number or the call quality diminishes or the Internet pipe isn't as good as you thought! Cloud communications is more challenging than dial-tone replacement, but providers have done nothing to dispel fear. They add features, but fail to address the Customer Fear! There isn't any real Project Management. Where are the Customer Success stories? As we are in a state of turmoil due to M&A and the integrations that don't work, basic telecom is a mess. How could you trust a company that has to punt on an Ethernet Private Line, a simple point to point, with anything complex? Another reason we are finding it hard to move to UCaaS: The Industry has spent years taking any revenue instead of thinking about the lifetime customer value or the brand. Simply, never saying no to a deal - despite knowing that the customer will not have a great experience - has brought us here. Short term thinking has gotten us to commodity sales. Cable offers HPBX but sticks to selling trunks because it is easy. Partners stick to selling dial-tone replacement because frankly anything else is scary. Forklift upgrades?? No thanks. Figure out how to deliver a P2P easily. Hire a PMP. Start talking about the Deployment - and post-sales. Then we will listen. Zero touch provisioning is a pipe dream.

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