IDS has often been called in to fix improperly installed VoIP installations. “Frequently a solution re-seller, who typically has only one solution to offer, will go for the sale and provide limited options,” Peckham said. “If the organization is not well versed in voice implementation, I can almost guarantee you that a customer will not have a favourable experience.”
“We had one customer that had an aging phone system with voicemail and the normal traditional features,” he added. “They wanted to expand their old system, but were told by the provider that the service was not available and that it had a better VoIP solution. It was installed, but there was no preparation done on the network. The quality of the system was very poor. When somebody opened a large document on the network, it would cut off their call. They found out that many of the usual features were implemented differently, which resulted in changes to their business practises. This led to customer frustration – calls would not get answered properly, go to the wrong desk, and might not go to a voicemail. All the employees needed new training and it turned into a nightmare for the client. By the time they brought us in the situation was already a crisis with no easy or inexpensive way to correct it. The VoIP service was retained, but it required serious changes to meet the firm’s needs.”
Peckham recommends that those considering VoIP do their research on the service providers and speak with some of the provider’s clients. Speaking with neighbours in one’s building or in a business district can help. One should also avoid bargain basement solution providers that do not have offices within one’s city. “You should pick a reliable service provider that you can literally walk into their door if there is a problem,” he said.
A thorough understanding of the cancellation terms, guarantees and the obligations of the service provider is necessary. “The first thing I would put in the contract is a proof of concept clause,” Peckham said. “I don’t care who the provider is - every business and network is different and there should be a 90-day exit clause. This gives time for the company to identify problems and for the provider to come up with solutions.”