About Laura Espinosa

Laura oversees Content & Inbound Marketing, spending most of her time organizing marketing projects, editing, or immersed in Google Analytics. Her favorite part of the job is writing, so you will find her on the blog as often as time allows. Contact her at laura@bicomsystems.com

Can Your Mechanic Do An Oil Change? (Thirdlane Support)

thirdlaneWe have been working with a company that was wavering between PBXware and Thirdlane. They have demos running of each option and are testing all of the features before making a final decision.

When testing inbound faxing (fax-to-email), the company ran into an issue on the Thirdlane demo. They reached out to Thirdlane support – it is worth mentioning here that their support department is just one person – who had no idea that their system even included inbound faxing. So much for troubleshooting the issue.

Fortunately, the testers were savvy enough to resolve the issue themselves, but left with a feeling of wariness about the utility of Thirdlane support.

Our Account Manager on the case made this poignant comparison: “If you bring your car in for an oil change only to find that the mechanic didn’t even know your car had an oil filter, you will be peeling out of there faster than you can say ‘rip-off’.”

In all seriousness, no platform is perfect and you are going to need support well beyond the initial purchase and installation. Don’t settle for anything less than an experienced, knowledgeable, and dependable team of support professionals.

3 Steps to Telecom Success: Part 3 Customer Loyalty

customer loyaltyIn this series, we have been going through three indispensable goals to telecom success:

  1. Sustainable growth
  2. Increased profit
  3. Loyal customers

First we talked about scalable platforms and how to future-proof your business; then we looked at how added-value solutions are the key to increasing profit. Today we’ll cover the final goal to telecom success: earning customer loyalty.

The drawbacks of the dreaded “customer churn” are clear: loss of revenue, lost opportunities for growth, a damaged reputation, the task of re-marketing, etc. So how can we avoid these things and increase customer retention? There are a few ways.

The first step is to provide a complete solution. If you provide just one piece of your customer’s end solution, they are not wholly committed to you. They will be relying on other providers for the other pieces and could be wooed away by any of those without greatly interrupting their service.

Contrarily, if you provide all the pieces they need, your customer will commit fully to your company and solution. There will be no compatibility issues and no other providers with sales pitches or lucrative offers. Best of all, if they are getting everything from you, switching providers would be a radical and disruptive change that they will not want to make.

So what are the “pieces” we are talking about? Anything that goes beyond basic telephony. Starting with VoIP and going on to UCaaS, mobility, billing, security, etc. (See also: One More Card for Your Hand).

The biggest mistake that we see telecoms making with their customers is neglecting them after the initial sale. Once you have them committed to your complete solution, do not assume that they will glide along happily for years. Customers become partners when you invest time and energy into them. Excellent customer service must extend beyond the sale. And not just when they have problems or need technical support; by then it may already be too late. If you do nothing else in this series, this is vital to keeping your customers: Call them before they call you.

Check in with your customers on a regular basis. Ask how things are going, what their latest goals are, what issues they are seeing. By nurturing your customers before they have trouble, you are practically guaranteeing that they will remain loyal when the problems do come. No technology is perfect and issues are inevitable, but if you are a consistent source of support, advice, and inspiration, they will stick with you.

There are more strategies to earning customer loyalty, but they are too numerous to cover all of them in this series. If you would like to learn more, watch our (free) video presentation on 5 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty for ITSPs & Telcos at www.bicomsystems.com/customer-loyalty

Concluding this series on goals to telecom success, we would like to invite anyone that wants to pursue one or all of these goals to give us a call today. We are happy to chat with you – no strings attached – about your business goals and ideas and how to attain them today. Whether you have a thriving business or nothing more than a dream, we have something for you. Contact us at: www.bicomsystems.com/contact

3 Steps to Telecom Success: Part 2 How to Increase Profit

telecom profitsIn our previous post we identified three key goals to success for any modern telecom:

  1. Sustainable growth
  2. Increased profit
  3. Loyal customers

We covered the first one with ideas like using a scalable platform from the beginning, future-proofing your business, and building your own brand. Today we are moving on to number two: how to increase your profits.

Of course there are innumerable ways to increase profit, but many of them really come down to making more sales. We believe there is a way to increase your profit with just the sales you are already making, so that is our focus today.

The secret to earning more is in added-value solutions. We see this happening in everyday situations. Here’s an example: You walk in to McDonalds and order a burger. The sale is initiated and they will automatically make X amount of profit. The cashier asks if you want cheese on your burger and you accept, that profit just became X + cheese. Pickles? Sure. X + cheese + pickles. What about fries and a soda? That base profit very quickly shoots up without much effort on their part. Value is being added to your burger and to their profit.

You can do the same thing with telephony. If you are offering basic voice services right now, why not add Unified Communications? Or Billing? What about Security? Some telecoms don’t even have VoIP yet – that’s your first step.

If you are a VoIP provider, you already know the benefit of value-added solutions. The transition from traditional telephony to VoIP telephony increments profit easily. If you have made that step, why not make another? VoIP is a great service and it’s not going anywhere, but frankly it’s old news. Newer, complementary technologies have emerged like UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), Mobile Apps, Integration, etc.

Today’s successful telecoms are selling not only products, but bundles and complete solutions that are worth more both up-front and on a month-to-month basis.

Not sure where to start? Partnering with a provider that offers all of these pieces is really the best option. There are so many technologies and options available today that trying to research and obtain each one individually would take all of your time. Bicom Systems has all of the pieces starting with the telephony and provisioning platforms and expanding to all of those extras that will add value to your existing solution.

Better yet, our partners are backed by a team of technical support engineers, telecom experts, and marketing professionals. From a custom-tailored solution to meet your specific needs, to engineers that achieve functionality on your behalf, to free marketing materials for your own customers, we are invested in the success of our partners.

If you would like to speak with an Account Manager about how to add value to your current profits, please contact us today: www.bicomsystems.com/contact

Stay tuned for the final post in this series: Earning customer loyalty.

3 Steps to Telecom Success: Part 1 Sustainable Growth

telecom growth15 years of conversations with partners and clients have taught us a thing or two about succeeding in the world of telecommunications. Three things, really.

In our experience, no telecom will succeed without pursuing these three goals:

  1. Sustainable growth
  2. Increased profit
  3. Loyal customers

These may sound mundane enough, but how many of us actually know how to increase our profit? We can talk about earning customer loyalty all day, but can we actually attain it?

In our next few posts we’ll tackle these issues one by one and offer realistic suggestions on how to actively pursue these goals.

Jumping right in: Sustainable Growth. Key word being sustainable. Short-term growth can be great and exciting, but if it doesn’t extend into the long-term, what was the point of it?

The first step to sustainable growth is a simple one: you need a platform that will support growth. There are too many providers out there that will give you a functional, cheap – maybe even great – platform, but once you start to grow it fails you. Before even thinking about growth, find a platform that supports scalability with unlimited extensions and tenants, great customer support, and an upgrade plan already in place (see also: How To Grow Your Telecom with a Multi-Tenant PBX).

Once your growth-friendly platform is in place, it is time to create a plan to future-proof your business. You are about to start growing, let’s make sure you know what to do next. Ideally your provider should have a working roadmap in place and offer customized support for your company specifically.

A large part of this future-proofing is following the trends: both current and future. Failure to jump aboard the latest trends will not only decelerate growth, it can throw you off the tracks entirely. Now is the time to adopt popular technologies like UCaaS, integration, or mobility (see also: One More Card for Your Hand). The benefits of add-ons like these are twofold: one, to start growing now; and two, to sustain that growth into the future.

It goes without saying that adding more technology to your offering will enable you to widen your customer base, expand to new markets, and make more sales. But the real value is that these add-ons will enable your solution to compete with newer, more modern options into the future. Partnering with a provider that researches and stays ahead of the trends (so that you don’t have to!) is simply invaluable.

A final way to extend growth beyond the temporary is to take matters into your own hands. Stop the monotonous routine of selling someone else’s solution day after day and year after year; start building and investing in your own brand. Yes, by all means partner with a great provider, but choose one that invests in your success as a company. By shifting the focus from earning sales for someone else to your own paycheck, you will be much more aware of – and in control of – your growth.

If these methods of generating sustainable growth sound like something you want for your own company, please reach out to us today. Our experienced account managers would love to chat and learn all about your unique situation. Contact us here: www.bicomsystems.com/contact

Stay tuned for the next post in this series: How to increase profit.