Mystery Caller 2016

mystery-caller-2016

In the last issue of 2016 we take a look back at the last 12 months of Mystery Caller articles to seek out the best calls of the year. Take a look below to find out the who’s, the what’s and the why’s.

Icom (July)

After listening to my initial request the operator put me on hold while she tried to contact the relevant sales person. After a few minutes on hold I was told the right people (ie. the sales team) were all occupied but she would get one of them to call me back. Just as I was about to hang up there was some commotion in the background and I was told one of the technical guys would happily try and answer any questions I had.

Ian picked up the phone and seemed interested in what I was after. He told me there were few differences between going down the Microsoft vs another vendor route but we should really be deciding based on what our requirements are.

I was taken through what we could expect in terms of equipment and software between various options and that as a company they tend to sell a lot of Avaya and Mitel. In terms of moving to a hosted environment it would come down to the connectivity available to us but if that was available then it would open up a new world for us.

Ian said if we were to go down the hosted route as a guideline we could expect to pay around £10 per month per user plus there would be some upfront cost if we still wanted hardware on the desks. He said a lot of new companies were going down this route because they preferred the opex model and it was easy to scale up and down. At that point I was curious what system they were using in house because the line seemed very choppy. It was an Avaya IP product, in fact it was so bad I had to call back only to get the same rubbish line.

We ended the conversation with Ian telling me he would pass my information onto the sales guys who would call me back in the morning.

I actually got a call back about twenty minutes later from a member of their sales team who reiterated most of what Ian had said. I didn’t catch his name but he was happy to come into the office to discuss our set up if we wanted more information. Again, he said we really needed to define what our requirements were to get the right solution to fit rather than trying to pick a solution and then make that fit our requirements.

Scores
Helpfulness – 4/5
Manner – 4/5
Knowledge – 5/5
Understanding – 5/5
Sales Technique – 3/5
Clarity –4/5

Total 26/ 30 – Superb score! This was a great call from a company that really seemed to care about their customers. Not only did a technical guy over hear my initial conversation and rather than let the office hang up on me he decided to take up the mantle, but also I got a call back almost straight away from his sales representative. Added to the fact they gave me so much detail and explained we needed to consider all options in the context of our requirement this was simply an excellent call.

Mirus (April)

I got a call back from Peter just half an hour after I had left a message with the receptionist which is pretty good going in my book. Peter told me he could offer a few different services depending on my requirements. Mirus provided 8×8, Horizon and Vodafone’s OneNet. He said your typical hosted solution would have 4000 features but most businesses would use less than 1% of those! In terms of differences between them I was told Horizon is a straight out of the box solution which is suitable for 9/10 businesses, developed on Broadsoft, whereas 8×8 have developed their platform themselves and have more flexibility to make changes etc. Vodafone would be suitable if we were looking to get rid of desk phones completely and centre everything on mobile. Peter did mention OneNet has experienced a few issues at the start of its existence but Vodafone has since poured a lot of money into developing the product.

Peter explained by going down one of these routes we would be saying goodbye to our traditional Capex model and could potentially save ourselves money on the service. Plus the new system would not only suit us now but could grow with us as we expand in numbers. We could also bespoke features for specific users depending on job function. In essence, the systems are designed to be used across the lifetime of a business and can do pretty much anything we need.

Peter asked me a little about the access in the area and what we already had in terms of PBX and lines coming into the building. He said they would tailor the right system for our business but really he would need to come and take a look at how we operate to see which solution was best for us. He also said the connectivity would be the starting point for everything as if we can’t get that right there is little point deploying a hosted solution as it would just not be fit for purpose.

Peter mentioned they had an open day at their Milton Keynes office coming up which we could come along to if we wanted. They would be talking about the various hosted solutions they sell and how they can help businesses. The day would be geared towards the 8×8 solution but they may be the right fit for us.

Scores
Helpfulness – 4/5
Manner – 4/5
Knowledge – 5/5
Understanding – 5/5
Sales Technique – 3/5
Clarity –4/5

Total 25/30 – Excellent call! I really felt Peter left no stone unturned. He had three systems to talk about and said he would need to learn more about the business and how we operate before going one way or the other. Peter also spoke about the industry and how BT are turning off the PSTN network in 2025 and even gave me a bit of history behind 8×8 getting into the UK market.

Round up

The Channel is going through a bit of a revolution right now. Disruptive technologies are coming into the market and are challenging traditional ways of working. It has never been so important to keep abreast of what your competitors are doing, how they are handling their business and the areas of the market they are targeting. This year there was one clear winner, and that had to go to Icom. You can find the call which took place on this spread. Congratulations to Icom, but there were a few other companies which also came close to clinching the top spot. Mirus and Rainbow Telecom came in with equal points just behind Icom so well done to you both. The Mirus call has been featured here because of the two calls I felt it was more deserving due to handler’s excellent knowledge. 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. The bottom of the table is littered with companies this year who all failed to live up to any sort of reasonable expectation. If you find yourself in the mid or bottom of the table there is some work to do. We hope you enjoyed the feature this year, we will be changing the format of the mystery caller next year so make sure you look out for it in 2017.