How to choose the right telco for your business
Good phone services are an essential part of any business.
Your phone is an important communications channel between you and your customers (and your suppliers). It’s also often the primary way that new customers contact you, so it forms part of their first impressions of your business.
That’s why it’s important to choose the right telco for your business.
And why even though shopping around for the cheapest price can be tempting, it’s even more important to look at what you get for your money. Things like reliability, flexibility and scalability—all backed up by a solid support structure—are what you NEED if you want your business to succeed and grow.
Be Treated Like you’re Important
It’s likely that we’ve all been on the receiving end of poor customer service in the past. In our personal lives, we’ll often laugh it off while deciding never to return to the store, restaurant, or wherever it was where we had the bad experience.
In our business lives though, the stakes are higher. If you have questions, you want them to be answered quickly and accurately. If you have a problem, you want it to be addressed and resolved immediately.
That’s why it’s a good idea to “try before you buy” and see what kind of experience you have when you call a telco’s support line.
- How long does it take for them to answer the phone (and how long do you have to stay on hold before you can talk to anyone)?
- Do they take the time to listen to you and understand your questions?
- Is the person taking your call knowledgeable enough that they’re able to assist you? Or does your call get transferred (often multiple times)?
- Are they helpful and courteous? Would you be happy to call again?
Choose the Right “Fit” For Your Business
There is no “one size fits all” solution for business telecommunications needs. That’s why flexibility and scalability are important.
You need a solution that works for YOUR business today, and also allows you to add (or remove) services and features in future as your business needs change.
That means you’re looking for a provider with multiple product offerings and plans that doesn’t lock you in to long-term and inflexible contracts. Ideally you’re looking for a progression of services that grow along with your business and allow you to select appropriate price points along the way.
If the sales rep you speak to is not asking about your needs (and just trying to sell you the same services they sell to everyone else), that telco is likely not the best fit for your business.
A welcome innovation in recent years is the ability to manage your own account through a web-based portal. These account management tools typically enable you to upgrade or change services, find out answers to common questions, view historic and current billing and usage details, and more—all with just a few clicks. And you can access the tools from anywhere you have Internet access. Now that’s flexibility!
Get a Service You Can Rely On
As a business owner, ask yourself how much business you’d lose if your phone service was down for 15 minutes, an hour, or even a day.
Choosing the wrong telco provider can end up costing you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars if they’re unable to provide reliable service!
Ask for some references from existing customers—they’re the ones who will be able to give you the best insight into how reliable the service is.
It’s also a good idea to find a telco that provides 24x7 support (through live phone contact plus online tools). After all, it’s not as though problems only occur Monday to Friday during business hours.
Choosing the Right Telco
Even though price is important, it’s equally important to have a reliable and flexible service that is backed up by good customer support.
It’s also a good idea to look for a telco that has achieved TCP Code Compliance. This is an industry standard that aims to ensure the protection of consumer rights and promote good customer service and fair outcomes for customers. It tells you that you’re dealing with a compliant and transparent telco.
And just in case you make a mistake the first time around, look for a telco that offers portable services and doesn’t lock you in for long-term contracts.
Remember that your telco provider should help you to GROW your business, not to slow your business!
Alltel is a leading provider of services for Australian businesses, including 1300 Numbers, Live Answering Virtual Receptionist Services, and Hosted Business Phone (PBX) Services. We pride ourselves on providing a wide range of reliable services, flexible and scalable plans, and great customer service. But don’t just take our word about it—read what our customers have to say.