The end of the year has finally arrived! The Mystery Caller has had another great year asking Channel folk about various products in the market. This month we take a look back at 2015 to see who the stand out companies were and why.
Charterhouse Voice and DaTA (November)
In this call our mystery caller was asking for solutions to his high bills when his employees went abroad and used their mobiles.
After being passed around a few times and getting dowsed in classical music as I waited on hold I got through to Ricky who introduced himself as the Head of Mobile at Charterhouse. Without much hesitation Ricky told me what I would probably want is one of their Corporate SIM cards which are designed for businesses with fewer than fifty employees. If we knew the countries we were going to be travelling to then we could get a SIM card which had bundles of minutes, calls and data calling to or from those locations.
Ricky sort of hit the nail on the head in the first forty five seconds but I wanted to see what else I could get out of him. He asked me lots of questions about the current set up and took me through an example of pricing and allowances to give me an idea of what I could expect to spend. In his example he told me that for £32 he could get me a tariff with unlimited calls and texts and then specifically three hours of calls to/ from the EU/US with the hardware too. If we only wanted the SIMs then they could take the subsidy they get from the network and refund that to us to make the deal really affordable. The only issue would be that employees would have to change SIMs over when they wanted to make those calls.
Ricky asked me a lot of questions about what kind of devices we had and usage etc and quite frankly told me it would probably be easier to just furnish the staff with corporate devices as well. Due to everyone having their own device at present and not really knowing what usage was like for individuals he would recommend SIMs that have a 30 day rolling contract so after the first month or two they would know exactly which plan we needed and we wouldn’t be stuck in contract if it needed adjusting.
Ricky went on to ask what kind of phone system we had in the office, I was slightly confused at first but then I was told Charterhouse sell Avaya and Mitel systems which come with lots of cool UC features. One of those features includes being able to dial into your desk phone from anywhere in the world via a mobile to make calls. Because you are connected to the phone via the cloud the charges would be the same as if you were making a call on the landline.
Total 26/30 Brilliant call! Ricky was great, which is probably why he heads the mobile division. I felt like he addressed my questions with great solutions and even went one step further by asking me about my office phone system.
Here, our mystery caller is looking to upgrade his staff laptops to tablets but he is unsure if his staff will be able to get the same work done when on the move.
Chris initially took my call at Evolve and listened to my query before passing me over to Costa (yes, like the coffee). While I was waiting for Costa to pick up the phone I was amused by the on hold music which had an automated voice telling me about all the awards Evolve had won and what a great company they were. After two minutes of that I was beginning to feel a bit brainwashed!
Costa finally picked up the phone and immediately launched into a world record attempt for the most words spoken in a phone call! He took me through the basics of why tablets are now generally preferred to laptops and how Evolve as a company has recently made the switch to tablets. Costa also took me through tethering and asked me a few questions as to ascertain whether we would need SIMs or just the tablets. He told me if they were going to be used frequently then its best to have a separate data SIM as then it won’t drain your phone battery and it can use its own antenna instead of having to share which makes it more efficient.
We got onto the tablets themselves and Costa mentioned they sell a lot of Apple products but he is constantly trying to point out to customers that there are other tablets available that do the same thing for a fraction of the price. One of his favourites is the Samsung Galaxy Note range as it has a dual app function which allows you to have two apps open side by side. They are also cheaper to repair than Apple devices.
Costa explained what Evolve could do for me, in terms of repairs and replacements they would have us covered and provide a 24 hour replacement service for any broken devices. In terms of security they use a company called SOTI which would help protect our data on devices, lock down certain parts of the tablet, could remote wipe and do all sorts of other cool things which could all be controlled via a web portal. It wouldn’t break the bank either.
He mentioned that currently he is using a Surface Pro 3 which did intrigue me as I knew these where even more expensive than some of the Apple products. He said he didn’t have a PC anymore, Costa told me he saunters into the office and plonks his Surface table into a docking station and is immediately ready to work! He also said he found it great when he needed to dive into a meeting as he could effectively bring his entire computer with him. I did query the price but Costa explained you actually get what you pay for as you aren’t limited to the apps on the Windows platform and you could install 64 – bit programs like any other PC.
Total 26/30 – This was a great call! Costa spoke to me at length (30 mins) about what Evolve could do for me and my business and I really felt like no stone was left unturned afterwards. He was polite and incredibly knowledgeable but he spoke at such a pace that I had to go a make myself a cup of tea and have a sit down in a quiet place afterwards! Saying that I can’t mark him down for being passionate about his job.
The Channel is buzzing right now, never have resellers had so much opportunity to sell products into their customers and take advantage of technology trends. This year we wanted to uncover those that were doing a cracking job at servicing businesses in the UK, and in some cases abroad too. Charterhouse Voice & Data and Evolve were our two winners this year who were very closely followed by MeetingZone, OnePoint and Paradigm Systems. Well done all, we think you are doing a great job. All the top scoring companies had similar things in common which has put them near the top. Great knowledge and understanding are just table stakes as far as I’m concerned these days. It’s those people that probe beyond the questions asked, and can offer more to really help that business reach their potential, who are the top scorers.
If you find yourself in the mid table or below there is still some work to be done, however we must acknowledge that even the best of us can have a bad day, just look at how Chelsea started the premiership season this year!
We hope you enjoyed reading the feature and look forward to progressing it next year…just remember, you never know who is calling!