When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many enterprises rushed to find cloud solutions so they could continue business at home. Luckily enough, during that time a lot of providers started offering their services for free. They did so in the hopes that users would stay with the provider after the free trial. However, as the pandemic starts to slow down and businesses begin to open up, many are finding themselves second-guessing their commitment to providers.
In a hasty decision, you may have overlooked many factors. Factors such as:
- Can I afford this after my free trial ends?
- If I can’t, have I considered the effort in moving my clients and employees?
- Do they provide the level of service I require when I grow?
- Is this partnership a guarantee?
- If I leave, can I still use the software, or am I bound by a contract?
If you are reading this and asking the same questions, please know that it is ok! No one knew what to do when the pandemic hit. The only thing we all agreed on was that we couldn’t be in the office anymore and must work from home.
So, what can we do about this? We compiled a list of red flags you should consider before choosing a new provider to avoid any future mistakes.
First things first, switching providers should be easy! We highlighted the word should because not all providers are skilled with transitioning new customers, only with the initial setup. A proper hosted provider would have a dedicated migration team for this process. The team will guide you through the process and be there beginning to end to help with any questions or concerns you may have.
When considering a new provider, ask them to present their migration process. If it is lengthy, confusing, and has your systems down for an extended period – Red Flag #1! 🚩
Service Level Agreements
A Service Level Agreement, also known as an SLA, is an agreement between you and your provider that defines the level of service you expect from them. An SLA is not the same as a contract! An example of something that would be found in your agreement over your contact is uptime availability. If your provider promises 99.99% uptime 24/7 365 days a year, you’re expecting that to be true. But, if the predicted level is not met, what happens on your end? Perhaps, a discount on your payment?
Situations like this arise all the time, especially when you are dealing with technology! So, if your next provider does not have an SLA or a clear understanding of your expectations – Red Flag #2! 🚩
Now that we have your Service Level Agreement, let’s look at your contract! Many providers state in their contracts that their partners must meet specific sale quotas or targets. Or they make them term-based, meaning after the agreed term, the agreed price will increase. We have even heard of some contracts stating they own the rights to YOUR customers! (🚩🚩🚩🚩)
When you are reading over the contract, do so with a fine-tooth comb! Make sure you own the software license and your customer’s private information. Unfortunately, some providers out there cut corners and input shady obligations in the fine print. You also want to ensure that the contract allows you to leave at any time without financial burdens.
Ignoring the red flags because you want to see the good in companies will cost you in the long run. When looking for a permanent provider, something to always keep in mind is to find one that works with you, not against you.
Are you looking to switch providers? Perhaps one that offers White-Label VoIP? Or maybe you are new to the industry and want to start on the right foot? Let’s chat!