Selling Hosted VoIP Versus Premise-Based Systems
By Arnaud Gautier, MegaPath Inc.
The business benefits of a hosted VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) solution are too great for your customers to ignore.
It's relatively easy to get customers to shift to business-hosted VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) with the promise of lower telecom prices. However, over the long haul, it’s difficult to retain those customers unless you can deliver superior products and services that increase their productivity and profits.
That's what we’re seeing with our partners and hosted VoIP solutions. Yes, you can make the case that VoIP presents superior savings options compared with traditional PBX (private branch exchange). The monthly bundled minutes pricing plans are more flexible — you can carry over minutes not just from time period to time period, but across locations. Then, there are additional savings with high-discount or even no-cost equipment. But, if lower cost of ownership is your sole selling point, you’re not maximizing the opportunities to turn a one-time sale into a residual one that grows over time.
Hosted VoIP enables customers to look larger than they actually are. In the PBX universe, for example, the phone at an auto body shop will ring endlessly if no one picks it up, or it goes to voice mail. That's a job possibly lost because the caller hung up and then went with another body shop. With hosted VoIP, customers have access to features that can route these calls to the shop manager's cell phone. From there, the manager can arrange a service stop and business keeps flowing. Also, on outgoing calls the caller has no idea that the manager is on a cell phone, because the number on the screen is the official one for the shop, thanks to remote office features.
When these businesses grow and expand, hosted VoIP ensures a smoother transition. You won't have to deal with multiple PBX-based networks for all the various locations. It's all hosted within the cloud, all on the same network. You can reconfigure services and seats as you wish and easily scale the seats up and down. Just pay for the number of seats you need at any given time.
Then there's the actual conversation experience. Quality of Service (QoS) prioritizes the flow of data, resulting in higher sound quality and fewer dropped calls. In other words, even though your connectivity is Internet-based, QoS makes sure your customers won't get cut off while closing a sale because a coworker is watching a video on YouTube. And, with the availability of high definition audio for all on net calls, conversations sound clearer and crisper than with PBX, resulting in a more professional call experience.
As for a natural disaster, like a flood? With PBX, you'll get thrown for a loop if the water is ten feet high and rising and your boxes are underwater. The only recourse is to retrieve them and hope they work after they dry up. (Like those odds? Neither do we.) Hosted VoIP, however, just requires that you go to a Web portal to forward calls, and we can reconfigure your access connection to a redundant backup location if available.
Anticipate Objections To Hosted VoIP
For VARs/MSPs to take full advantage of hosted VoIP, they really need to understand their customers. They must comprehend the organization's culture, routines, and business strategies to propose a perfect match of service options. They also must command a strong knowledge of the LAN, so they can effectively install, service, and troubleshoot the system. If problems surface that can't be addressed, users will conclude the new system is at fault.
For many customers, reservations are raised when VARs/MSPs propose the switch to VoIP. "But I'll lose control of the box," they may say. "What will I do without the PBX hardware right here in the office?"
We suggest the following reply: "You'll be able to do everything you can't do now. And you'll save more money — and make more money — in the process."