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Wholesale VoIP Feature Article

Lost on Who to Choose? VoIP Innovations Softens the Toughest Aspects of Selecting a DID Origination Provider

November 13, 2012
By Allison Boccamazzo, Managing Content Producer

It’s always fun and games until you have to start talking logistics. Thankfully, VoIP Innovations (News - Alert) president Jason Tapolci presents simple solutions to such things as selecting a solid vendor, customer support, number porting and billing in a newly released company whitepaper. Securing your business’ operations is critical to avoiding riding between the “make or break” line. VoIP Innovations leaves no stone unturned, addressing every single question and detail imaginable when it comes to the final – and toughest – aspects of selecting a DID origination provider.

“It’s the same old story,” Tapolci insists, “a team develops a product, marketing and sales teams secure the customers, and operations drops the ball on service. All the goodwill earned to this point is right out the window.” Needless to say, investing in a partner who struggles with these same, very real issues can be just as devastating to your organization, which is exactly why VoIP Innovations provides easy tips and tricks to help companies make the significant investment and real dedication needed to provide exceptional operational services.

“In the technological industry it comes down to three operational functions; support, number porting, and billing,” Tapolci explains.

Customer Support:

“A company’s support defines what an organization is all about and you can learn how important support is to them by the people they hire…How an organization deals with an issue defines who they truly are,” says Tapolci, adding that great support stems from two things: Great communication and engaged employees. Another tip he offers is that your provider should boast three things: Fanatical support, stellar communication and an enthusiastic staff. “A good organization understands that support is the heart and these employees are what make it beat,” he says.

One management technique that could come in handy concerning customer support is “Top Grading,” which essentially grades candidates, ultimately promoting the hiring of “A” players for ensuring success. Ask VoIP Innovations yourself, who, upon adopting the “Top Grading” technique, saw tremendous growth in both their support employees and processes.

Questions to Consider When Researching Potential Providers:

  1. Do they offer 24x7 support?
  2. Do they operate using a ticketing system, or simply e-mails? (“Using a ticketing system instead of emails allows your team to track, assess, and manage issues in real-time,” Tapolci explains)
  3. Does their BackOffice provide the tools necessary to troubleshoot issues?
  4. What is their outage and escalation process?

Finding the answers to these questions could be the only thing between you and a so-so provider and you and a superior provider.

Number Porting:

Number porting is equally as important as customer service. “A company that can master number porting will have an advantage over the rest of the industry…Miss the boat with number porting and not only is your customer without service but they are extremely unhappy too,” Tapolci says. Number porting unfortunately isn’t as simple with VoIP as it is in the wireless cell phone industry, such as carriers like Verizon (News - Alert), AT&T and Sprint.

With VoIP, there are thousands of carriers, and all of them are doing things their way, therefore, finding one who can perform this task with the least amount of errors is not the easiest thing to do, Tapolci cautions. “All carriers claim they can perform this critical task but in reality, most cannot. Some experienced providers, such as VoIP Innovations, have dedicated many resources towards mastering the VoIP number porting process. What did they do? The answer is simple; they built automation and processes, which in turn produced quick number ports and fewer errors.”

Questions to Consider When Researching Number Porting:

  1. Does the company have a dedicated number porting department?
  2. What is the average length for a number to port?
  3. Do they offer an online letter of authorization (LOA), or do they still use paper forms?
  4. Can I track my number ports through their BackOffice?

Perhaps the Most Exciting Aspect (News - Alert) – Billing

That is, if you can’t detect heavy sarcasm! “Billing sounds straightforward and something a company should be able to do if they are in this business, right? Wrong. This continues to be the Achilles heel for the VoIP industry,” he explains, stressing the importance of looking at each bill in-depth until you fully understand what and when you are being charged. After a few months of dedication and patience, you’ll begin to notice patterns of spending, which will then help you more easily notice when these metrics are outside the acceptable variance, says Tapolci. This will help you dig deeper to find an explanation or cause.

Questions to Consider When Researching Billing:

  1. Will my invoices be available online?
  2. Can I retrieve my CDRs online and in real-time?(“ In order to proficiently audit your carrier invoices you will want a provider to have your invoices, transactions, and CDRs available online and in real-time,” Tapolci writes in the whitepaper)
  3. Will I be able to make payments online? (“You will want your carrier to provide online payments (one-time and recurring) and send account alerts informing you of critical account actions,” he notes)
  4. Does their system provide notification alerts?

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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