Congrats!! You are running a rapidly growing business. That takes hard work, determination, and reliable partners. Unfortunately, some of the needs you have as you scale are different than the needs you had when you were just getting started.
When it comes to selecting a communications provider the level of control, transparency and reliability exposed to customers can vary greatly. It is important to understand the capabilities that your provider can offer and the impact they will have on your business. Below are the top 5 criteria our customers pivoted on when selecting a new communications provider.
1. Control is key.
The control that your providers online portal and APIs give you is a key element in your ability to scale. As the number of customers you are onboarding increases the ability to add phone numbers (DIDs), modify services and control your routing in real time will be important for rapid growth. Spend some time in their online portal to ensure you find it easy to use. The features and usability of the online capabilities your communications provider gives you will greatly impact your ability to quickly make changes for customers or offices experiencing issues.
2. Invest in reliability.
How does your provider ensure reliable service? As your business scales, any weakness on their part will cause you to lose customers and money. Understand the capabilities your provider has for designating failover routes, network resiliency and the transparency they provide into services affecting issues.
3. Test the support team.
First things first, not all support teams are created equal. Create a checklist of what your “must haves” and “nice to haves” are from a support perspective. For example, what is the average response time, support hours, and industry knowledge? We view our support team as an extension of your team and want to ensure they can help with simple setup and resolve broader network issues. So, don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions early on to make sure you are comfortable with the level of ongoing support you will receive.
4. Onboarding can be complex.
The process of onboarding new customers is not the same with every provider. The reality is that onboarding is unnecessarily painful, which is why you need to have a clear understanding of the porting process from start to finish before you move to a new communications provider. A few questions that need to be asked is whether the numbering and portability team is in-house, have relationships been established with major carriers and how clear is the process once a port order is submitted. The availability of a Porting API or Onboarding Platform is a game changing feature that will enable you to scale your onboarding process regardless of the size of your team.
5. Understand the cost structure as you grow.
The cost of your communications provider will increase as your business grows. However, as the number of minutes and messages you use goes up, your rates should be going down. Many companies wait to worry about scaling their costs until they receive a shockingly large bill. Be mindful of the rates and understand at what points you can take advantage of volume price breaks.
We never said it would be easy, but hopefully, this gives you a baseline on some of the criteria you should be considering. The end goal should be that you work with a communications partner who you can trust with one of your most important technology assets. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help.