Hosted telephony provider, TelcoSwitch, may have only just celebrated their first birthday but they have recently announced that they have already signed over 28,000 hosted seats. The business is headed up by CEO Russell Lux who first appeared in Comms Business back in 2006 and who has since had a chain of successful Telecoms and IT businesses. In TelcoSwitch, Lux has blended his IT and Telecoms background, insisting they are a software business first and have used their expertise to deliver, what they refer to as, a viable alternative to the channel for hosted telephony. Here, Lux shares his vision.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): The hosted market is very competitive, how are you planning to compete against some of the more established vendors out there?
Russell Lux (RL): There are a couple of hosted vendors who have had a head start on us and an easy time in terms of lack of competition; this year is going to be different. Firstly, our proposition and presence in the channel is gaining momentum and we are seeing a growing number of migrations from the market leaders into our environment and we are also acquiring resellers new to the hosted telephony space. Secondly and in general, there are a growing number of hosted telephony vendors and competition is getting fierce unless vendors are constantly innovating and evolving they will fail or fall behind. I think some are too large and cumbersome to respond nimbly to this change.
CBM: How is the CallSwitch solution helping partners differentiate themselves?
RL: We increasingly hear that resellers are sat in new business sales meetings delivering a proposal which the buyer has already heard several times before. We are here to make our partners stand out and we have worked hard to ensure the adoption of our services in their business, from sales through to service and billing is as easy as possible.
We have worked hard on our on-boarding process; we saw this as a real area in which we can differentiate ourselves. There is more to wholesale than a cheap rate and a do-it-yourself platform especially if you are expecting your partners to move their customers onto an entirely different infrastructure. For some vendors, the first interaction they have with a new client is sending them a bill, at TelcoSwitch we feel this is totally unacceptable. We have spent time understanding what training and tools our partners need to maximise on the opportunity our CallSwitch solution offers. We also take it back to basics and give new partners their own demo kit so they can show prospective customers exactly what they are getting.
CBM: Demo kit?! That sounds a bit retro!
RL: There is a massive community of sales people out there who are still primarily focused on PBX, they may be specialists in Mitel, Avaya or Alcatel and we want to help train up these people on our services. If it means sending out a demo kit because that is what they are used to then I think it is a no brainer.
Everything we do has been with the end user in mind, we obviously supply resellers but unless we understand their challenges we won’t be delivering a service that is timely or appropriate. Wholesale has to be so much more than a commodity sold at a lower price, Resellers need a Partner who is willing to understand the demands of their customers and in turn give them an end–to-end solution to make them stand out. Our customers tell us we do this very well.
CBM: At the end of 2016 you announced several big migrations onto the TelcoSwitch Platform from reseller partners. How are you planning to continue this success into 2017?
RL: We have watched the competition, we have watched the market, and we have learned how businesses are choosing to source solutions. We are constantly assessing what we are doing and adapting and improving where necessary. The entire TelcoSwitch team is wired to look for buying signals and problem areas and everything is brought back to the boardroom table for constant assessment and evaluation. We are listening all the time and learning all the time, I believe this is the reason our rapid growth will continue.