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Who you Gonna Call? Getting the Best Support for your Phone System.

Posted by Rebecca Ward on Aug 8, 2017 7:21:00 AM

Buying a new phone system normally comes down to features and price. But the quality of installation, service, and support is just as important. This starts with the project planning and implementation, but long term support is critical as well. Read on to learn about the key features of a great support team.

The Value Behind Quality and Timely Support

Choosing a phone system provider that delivers quality and timely support can make or break your investment. The truth of the matter is, all phone systems require support at some time or another. And when your phone system has a problem and you need service, quality and timely support is critical to your business. After all, without your phone system, you can’t talk to your customers or prospects, which means you’ll lose money.

The type of support that you need is dependent upon how critical your phone system is to your business. Understanding which type of phone user you are will help you determine what kind of support will be necessary for your phone usage. We’ve broken phone usage into three tiers to help you decide what type of support your business may need.

Tier 1-1

 

 CRITICAL:

Your phone usage is critical if a huge amount of your business’ transactions happen on your phones. If you have a call center, your people are on the phone all day, and your business will be negatively impacted if your phone system is down for even five minutes, your business falls into the Tier 1 Critical category.


Tier 2-1

 

IMPORTANT:

Your phone usage is important if you have a customer support team. If your customers call in throughout the day for support, have employees consistently on the phones, and your business can’t survive if your phone system is down for one hour, your business falls into the Tier 2 Important category.


Tier 3-1

 

VALUABLE:

Your phone system falls into the valuable category if is used internally and for some incoming and outgoing calls, but phones are not your company’s primary use of communication. If your company uses email or your website for most of your communications and if your phones are down for one day and it would not impact your business, then your business falls into the Tier 3 Valuable category.

Support Methodology

Many phone system providers operate on a cookie cutter methodology. Their support system is set up to turn over as many customer help tickets as possible. Providing world-class service and support, much less including on-site support, isn’t in their business model. But the fact is, your phone system is a large and valuable investment, and you deserve quality and custom support for your unique needs. After all, your phone system is pivotal to your business and any time where it isn’t working well will mean money lost. When you’re picking your phone system provider, take the time to ask them about their support methodology. They should have their methodology clearly outlined, so that you can understand exactly what you should expect when you experience a problem.

The Top Four: Service and Support Criteria Your Phone Provider Should Outline

It’s important to learn about how your phone system provider will handle support in the event an issue. Vertical Communications has broken quality and timely support into four sections, to help you understand what areas of support are most important and to see how your potential phone system provider ranks.

 team

 

Support Team Size and Location

When you’re investigating a potential phone system provider, take some time to look into the details of their support team. First, consider how many employees are on their support team. Look into the number of individuals on their team. Then ask how they will prioritize your help ticket once you submit it, ensuring that it is responded to quickly, efficiently, and with a reasonable solution. 

Next, learn what the average or total experience is for the support team. Ask your phone system provider how many members they have on their support team and how many years of experience they have. If they have 11 members on their team and a combined 20 years of experience, that means that each member has an average of less than two years of experience. That’s not much at all and probably not good enough. It is likely that these company’s support team members will lack the knowledge needed to provide adequate and sufficient support. To compare, Vertical’s support team has 70 members. They have a combined 975 years of experience, and an average of 13 years’ experience each.

Years of Experience

Finally, learn where your support team is located and what hours they are available to assist you. For instance, if the support team is in the Pacific Time zone, and your company is located in the Eastern Time zone, will they have support members on call for the hours that you’re operating? Your support team should have staff on hand for all time zones, so that no matter when you experience an issue someone will be on hand to assist.

 invoice

 

Emergency Support

While some phone providers will discuss how many support tickets they close in day/week/month, it’s more important to learn what will happen in an emergency. In the event that your phones do go down or experience some other form of issue, what can you expect in response? You phone provider should include a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which will outline what level of support you can expect, as well as penalties for the phone provider should they not make good on their agreement. Many phone providers will offer a few support packages to choose from, which will be the foundation of your SLA. At Vertical, this means that when you finalize your phone system you will select between a Basic, Premium, and Ultimate support package. The three support packages will allow you to choose a package that aligns with your support needs. They will also be clearly outlined so that you have an agreement on exactly how many hours you will receive a response in, how many hours of on-site service you can receive, and more.

When selecting your support package, consider your options carefully. Will you need 24/7 support? If you’re a Tier 1 or 2 phone user, and can’t live without your phones, it’s likely that you will. After all, what happens if your phone system goes down at 1:00 AM and you have your own customer service staff taking calls? When you’re selecting options like 24/7 support, make sure to ask how your phone system provider will adhere to the agreement. Who will be on call to help when your phone services goes out, day or night? These are questions you and your phone providers should know the answer to.

 support

 

Onsite vs. Remote Support

Today, support can be offered both onsite and remotely. Most often, support will be offered remotely, which is a benefit to phone users. This is because your issues can be resolved faster remotely, due to the fact that your support contact can log on immediately to your system and address the issue, as opposed to scheduling a time, hopping in the car, and then commuting to your location. As a rule of thumb, your phone system provider should deliver at least 60% of their support remotely. For example, Vertical delivers 92% of their support remotely. If your phone provider does provide remote support, make sure to find out if their remote staff has the tools and schedule to effectively communicate with you or your staff. This means they should offer remote support that is accessible to all time zones, as well as a variety of means of communication such as phone and email. To provide a good frame of reference of what to look for, Vertical Communications provides a nationwide remote staff that is 100% U.S. based. This means that they are available in the same time zone that you are and that they can clearly and easily communicate with you.

Even with all the benefits of remote support it’s pivotal that your phone provider also offer onsite support. This will ensure that when something can’t be handled remotely that your provider has the time and ability to come onsite and assess the situation locally.

 flow-chart

 

Service Request and Escalation Process

When you do have an issue, how will it be handled? Your phone system provider should have a clear defined process for submitting a Service Request, including communicating with you the next steps that will be taken. This process should be in writing, which will guarantee that both parties are in agreement on what this process will look like.

But that’s not enough, they should also share an Escalation Process. The Escalation Process should exist so that in the event of an emergency or unresolved problem, you have additional steps that you can take to make sure it is addressed. The Escalation Process should also extend past the Support Team, all the way up to Executive Leadership at the phone company. This will guarantee that you will be able to access help no matter what issue you run in to. To understand what an Escalation Process should look like, view Vertical’s here.

Assessing your current or potential phone system providers’ support process will help you understand how invested they really are in customer satisfaction. You will be able to leverage their process to guarantee that you get the most out of your phone system.

Are you unhappy with the quality and timeliness of your phone system? Vertical can help. Whether you would like to switch your phone systems service and support contract or move to an entirely new system, Vertical has options for you. Fill out the form below to get started. 

 

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Vertical Communications: Communications Solutions for How We Work Today

At Vertical we're inspired by the always-connected, data-driven enterprises that embrace the new way of working made possible with mobile and cloud technology. We replace traditional business phone systems with a communications platform and secure cloud services that enable powerful new workflows to ensure you are always connected to your customers. Wherever. Whenever.

Vertical has thousands of clients of all sizes in all industries and we have specific communications platforms for the retail, auto, hospitality and healthcare sectors.

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