What is the difference between Tele-Data Solutions and National Providers like RingCentral or 8×8
We explain the difference between Tele-Data Solutions and National VoIP Providers.
When it comes to understanding business impact and risk associated with installing a new phone system, people want to know they’re choosing the right vendor partner.
Many times when prospective clients are evaluating their options, they will invariably ask us what makes our company and service different from a National VoIP provider they can easily find from Google or asking around.
It’s a great question, and we like to boil it down to these eight key differences when it comes to comparing our local organization in Union, NJ with National level VoIP Phone Providers.
The majority of the differences have NOTHING to do with product feature set or capabilities. Most of the phone systems available have very similar features and phone hardware; the differences are usually not even noticeable to most end users and businesses. The difference primarily have to do with the service experience you prefer. There is no right or wrong in hiring a National VoIP Provider located hundreds of miles away but there are major differences you should be educated in.
1. Location – Where is the VoIP provider physically headquartered?
When you deal with some national level providers, by the way, there are too many to list in this short article, companies like 8×8, RingCentral, Vonage, Shoretel Sky, etc., you’re likely dealing with someone in a remote sales office hundreds of miles away or possibly NYC. Depending on the provider, their support staff is typically located very distant to us away from northern NJ or even outsourced to another country like India or the Philippines. They may not have any local presence in terms of sales or support, meaning you’re going to be doing things 100% remotely. That may not seem like a big deal but there are different challenges and service experiences that can arise from hiring a national level provider.
2. Do you want to meet with a VoIP phone specialist at your office?
Like I just said, national providers are 100% remote and off-site if you are under 100 employees. It’s difficult for any sales associates to truly learn much over the phone about your business, especially with busy and fast paced New Jersey business owners and managers. If you are a scaled business with over 100 employees, a National Proivder will provide on-site attention.
either way, if there are no onsite meetings or survey conducted, there are many business & technical assumptions they have to make. This lack of familiarity and understanding of your people, office layout and technical design may cause massive headaches and problems down the road. Most importantly, the solution is usually over simplified because no one physically came to your office to understand your real communication problems.
Typically, national providers will send a quick, cookie cutter and low balled proposal, meaning nothing’s custom, and many technical and business assumptions will be made. If you’re a smaller, simpler office with less than 10 or so phones, this is not a huge issue. If you’re a larger organization w/more complexity, this will be an issue. Additionally the things you’re looking for in a new VoIP system may be different from your manager, receptionist, CEO, etc. It’s difficult to engage the entire leadership team with an “over the phone” type relationship.
With Telecloud, the sales engagement is local and on-site. This means onsite technical surveys of your current operation, as well as specifically tailoring a proposal for you company. Your account manager will interview and “get to know” key executives to understand different opinions and get a deeper understanding of your communications and how it impacts your clients. It is also critical we have a basic understanding of your call flow environment (calls in, out and across) so we can make recommendations to improve YOUR client experience.
In your organization, the leadership team will all have different perspectives on how communication impacts the business & clients, meaning it’s crucial to hear everyone out before a needs assessment, creating a proposal, or making a final decision. By engaging with a local company like Tele-Data Solutions, various employees can provide input and discuss with the account manager pain points and issues with their communication as it currently exists
3. Do you want to rely 100% on your outsourced IT company?
Simply put, with national providers, you will become extremely reliant on your outsourced, 3rd party IT vendor. This could be fine unless your IT consultant does not want to deal with IP Phones, system programming and future support issues.
While IT consultants are often extremely smart and talented, they simply don’t want to deal with phone issues and take on the risk of you the client getting pissed off at a bad experience.
Some things many IT Vendors tell us they don’t want to deal with:
- Installation and programming of IP phones and VoIP specific firewalls
- Wiring infrastructure to enable high quality VoIP service
- Providing your staff with on-site end-user training
- Ongoing support services related to the performance of the phone system
- The risk that something doesn’t work out
Most IT companies, unless they offer VoIP as a service, don’t want to deal with the challenges and risk necessary to successful install, and maintain a VoIP system. Meaning, if you go with a national provider, and have to rely on your local IT vendor, ensure that your IT vendor truly wants to handle your level 1 service calls?
Warning: You may be told afterwards to call the VoIP Provider directly (now you’re dealing with someone located in another state who has NEVER been to NJ let alone your office to understand what’s going on)
4. Do you want to consider a premised based option and with cloud based?
Some organizations may prefer premise based IP phone system (not cloud). While cloud based service has gotten better and better, many organization need to use premise based service for specific reasons. If this is the case, you can kiss a national level provider goodbye, since they can only offer cloud based VoIP solutions.
Many local level dealers, such as Telecloud, may be able to provide either premise or cloud based VoIP services. This is important because some clients don’t fit into the cloud based service, and could regret going with 100% cloud based services. If you choose a national provider here, you’re stuck, and can’t get out of your commitment easily.
Local companies, like us at Tele-Data Solutions, tend to be more flexible, and have the availability to offer two different options. Sometimes clients elect to install a premised based system if you are in a carrier agreement and can’t undo a T1 phone line agreement easily. When you deal with someone local, you’re outsourcing your telecom risks & needs to a local company that wants to deal with the VoIP system they installed because it’s their core offering, and their success depends on happy, local customers.
5. Do you want to “plug in” the IP Phones yourself for the installation day?
Since national providers are geographically far away, many things get overly simplified and dumbed down, including both the installation process, and the end-user training process. If you got with a national level provider, it’s likely that your IP phones will be shipped to you in a box with a router, and a link to a YouTube video to help you set it up. National providers expect you to either plug it in yourself, or hire a local IT consultant to do it. either way you have to figure it out and deal with downtime.
This is a recipe for disaster, especially if downtime matters to your business. It’s an even bigger disaster if there are more than 10 phones, due to more network complexity. You, or your IT provider, will really need to be on their A-game on the day of the port and physical hardware installation in order to get things right.
Another thing national level providers over simplify is the end-user training. This is either going to happen over a webinar, or through watching some tutorials online. In short, it can be a nightmare, and you may have no idea how to get the most out of your phones and software applications.
VoIP phone systems have a ton of new technology that comes along with it. From the actual IP phones themselves, to additional network demands, to software applications on computers & smartphones, to the online portal for the administer the system, there is a lot to take in. If you aren’t sure how to use everything correctly, you won’t be getting the most out of your system.
When clients hire Tele-Data Solutions, you’ll meet with a wonderful employee whose job it is to train you how to use the phone technology. They’ll sit with you & staff, and spend hours with you to ensure you know how to use the technology you paid for. They’ll teach you what you need to know quickly so you can start using your system correctly as soon as possible.
6. Is your current internet circuit good enough? Is there failover?
A national level provider will usually only leverage the existing internet you have. They may say the VoIP demands so little internet bandwidth or speed that you don’t need to worry about anything! For example, if you have Fios or Comcast, they’ll recommend you run your VoIP system over the existing internet connection. For small companies this might work fine under 10 or 15 phones. For larger organizations, this may be a recipe for disaster. This is a massive hurdle, and can cause problems with call quality if you’re over-taxing your internet.
When you go with a local provider, you’ll have more options on your plate. For example, we may recommend an SD-WAN appliance which is hardware installed on-site to guarantee VoIP over public internet. Additionally, we can offer an MPLS T1 or fiber line as a dedicated internet connection specifically for your VoIP phone system. These will connect your phone system directly to a data center, meaning high quality of calls & redundancy. This direct line is something national providers typically can’t and won’t offer, because it’s not physically possible due to regional data centers scattered across the country.
Here at Tele-Data Solutions, we can provide a dedicated line from your phone closest to our local data center on Broad Street in Philadelphia.
7. Is your IT hardware & current phone wiring up to snuff?
Most national providers over simplify this key component of a VoIP system and recommend to share your existing IT hardware and wiring between your computer and IP Phones. They tend to cut corners in this area to keep cost lower to get you to sign the proposal. They’ll oversimplify the installation process and IT hardware needs, which can lead to massive problems later on.
When you hire Tele-Data Solutions, we either separate wiring, run new wiring, or install hardware that would enable you to use existing wiring if possible. Our goal would be to get your system working as best as we can as economically as possible. We’d also provide the hardware you need to get your system setup correctly, such as VoIP grade firewalls and power over ethernet switches.
This is all done to completely separate phone & computer networks, which at the end of the day results in a happier client, less network issues, and better call quality for your company.
8. What happens if things go wrong? Which they can…
Remember, national level providers handle issues remotely, no matter what. When things go wrong you’re stuck hoping to get someone competent via phone or email for support. Obviously this becomes an issue if you’re having a problem with your phones or internet! Since there is no option for on-site help from your VoIP provider, you’re going to be 100% reliant on your IT vendor (who may not want to deal with your phone problems) or turning to remote support. Sometimes this is ok, sometimes this doesn’t work out too well.
With Tele-Data Solutions, we can provide on-site support services and changes as needed. We can send a truck out to service your business to make everything much easier when it is necessary. In short, if things go wrong, we’re a phone call away from sending out our technicians to address and fix your issues.
Final Thoughts on Tele-Data Solutions vs National VoIP Providers
For some companies, hiring a national level VoIP provider makes sense. Some VoIP Providers are legitimately solid and successful businesses with reliable VoIP solutions (if its set up right). There is no perfect fit for everyone out there. Some companies want a national level provider, while others are better served with a local VoIP provider who can be available locally for sales and the installation experience and provide a more tailored VoIP phone system design to avoid problems.
To learn more about Telecloud and how it differs from national level VoIP providers, you can click here to contact us online, give me a shout directly at [email protected], or touch base with me at 908-378-1218.
By Vincent Finaldi
Vice-President, Tele-Data Solutions
E-mail: [email protected] | Direct Line: (908) 378-1218
What brings me satisfaction is meeting with New Jersey–based businesses and genuinely helping them solve communication and business problems. As someone who has lived in New Jersey my entire life, I love working and playing here. I live in Morristown with my wife, Lisa, and root for the New York Giants.