Looking for a new telecoms provider can be confusing if you’re not sure where to start - especially if you’ve been working with your current provider for quite some time. So here are our tips on what to do when looking to hire a new provider.
Whether you have friends or business partners who are able to recommend a communications partner to you, or if you’re looking for one independently, it’s important that you research different companies to ensure you choose one that best meets your needs. So what do you need to look for?
Where are they based?
When deciding on a new provider, you might want to consider where they’re based in relation to your business, and how easy it is to travel from one location to the other. If your offices are in a fairly remote location, for example, you may need to ask potential telecoms partners if they are able to work in your area.
However, it’s also important to remember that whilst some companies may not be based in your area, they may be able to travel and work across the country efficiently. If you’re unsure about the areas your chosen providers cover, it may be worth getting in touch with them to find out.
Are they clear about their services?
Making sure you choose a provider who is able to offer the services you require is of the utmost importance. This means that, when browsing their website, you may want to take into account how much information they provide about their services.
Whether you are looking for a traditional phone system, broadband or mobile services from your provider, you need to know exactly which services they offer to avoid having to hire multiple partners. If you’d like to learn more about why only hiring one provider is typically the best option, read our previous guide on how using one provider will save money.
Which brands do they work with?
If a telecoms provider is a partner of large, reputable brands, then this is often a clear indicator of high quality service and expertise. They should state who they work with on their website, but if you’re unsure, any reputable provider will be happy to discuss who their customers are before you hire them - so don’t be afraid to ask.
Large equipment providers or service carriers such as Samsung, Panasonic or BT will only work with telecoms companies they know and trust, so this is a strong indicator of a reputable brand.
How easily can you contact them?
When making the initial contact with a prospective telecoms provider, consider how easy it was to get in touch with them. Whilst not a sure fire indicator of quality, if there are limited contact options for you with a new business enquiry, there may be limited options for existing clients too.
How easy will it be to contact them if you’re having a telecoms emergency?
Make note of the different options for contacting them - did they have a contact form on their website or an email address you could send a quick enquiry to, or was there only a phone number?
How quickly they respond to your initial enquiry should also be kept in mind when deciding on a new provider - you need the assurance that you will be able to talk to someone straight away if you encounter any problems with your telecoms further down the line.
Do they care about your business?
When speaking to a telecoms provider, they should be keen to learn about different aspects of your business, such as the day to day tasks that your staff carry out, where your team are all located, and any growth plans you may have that might influence your telecoms needs in the future.
Whilst you may have an idea of what you need your telecoms to do to help your business, they will have more in-depth knowledge and insight into how different aspects (that you probably didn’t even think about) will affect your system requirements.
If you don’t feel like they’re too interested in what you have to say about your business, or if they don’t seem to have any suggestions about how different systems might help improve your operations, they may not be the right provider for your business.
Why Are You Leaving Your Current Provider?
It may seem obvious, but when looking to hire a new telecoms provider, keep in mind why you decided to leave your current provider. When you’re listening to a list of positives, it can be easy to forget (or completely overlook) the negatives that were the reason you started looking for new companies in the first place. What are some common problems and how can they be addressed?
You can't reach them for support
If your main problem with your current provider is that you’re ofen unable to reach them for support, then this should be at the front of your mind when talking to new potential providers. Be sure to ask if they have a dedicated support team inhouse that you can get in touch with directly if you ever run into any problems.
Make sure you also find out how they can be contacted (do they prefer email to phone calls?) and the hours they work - if you work until 6pm, but their team leaves at 4pm, is there someone you can call out of hours?
If your current provider charges you an extortionate amount for an out of date phone system, then cost might be something you want to keep in mind when hiring a new provider. While prices will always differ from company to company (and cheapest isn’t always best), if you’re able to gauge an average price for a particular system (and then factor in any additional features you require) then this may be helpful in your decision making.
If you’re ever unsure about the price of a service, always feel free to ask the provider exactly what you are being charged for - that way, you can better understand where your money’s going.
They don't offer solutions to your problems
If when you contact your current provider about a problem with your system they’re slow to offer solutions, or seem defensive when you raise an issue, then discussing support processes with your new provider should be your first priority.
It’s likely that they will ask about your current system and any issues you’ve run into with it anyway. This will give you the perfect opportunity to ask about how they assess different system problems, and the steps they will take before deciding if they need to assess the issue on-site.
Choosing a New Provider
Having a clear vision of the direction your business is heading, and being able to communicate this to your provider, will help to ensure that you make the best decision for your organisation. And when you and your provider have a shared view of the best way to work and communicate, you can rest assured that you will hire the right provider for you.
If you would like to learn more about what to look for, read our previous guide to hiring a telecoms provider, or if you would like to find out more about how we can help your business grow, get in touch.