So you’re thinking of changing phone providers? Whether you’re switching from a traditional landline system or from another VoIP provider, here are a few tips to make things easier. Committing to a contract with someone new can be daunting, and you need to be confident that your new provider is right for your business.
When is it time to switch?
Our customers tell us that the main reasons for switching are to reduce costs or to get a more flexible and reliable service, but research suggests that the reason many people don’t is that there is a perceived hassle factor in changing suppliers.
It’s true that some phone companies will try to make it difficult for you to leave – desperately offering deals and making promises to resolve any issues you’ve had with them – try not to get sucked in. Remember, you’re leaving for a reason.
Common reasons for choosing to switch providers include:
- Consistently bad service – be it slow speeds, regular downtime or poor customer service
- Misleading information – not living up to expectations, failing to communicate important communication such as hidden costs
- Change of needs – You may be a new business looking for your first Service Provider, or a business that has recently grown and looking for a more flexible option for their communications
Consider your options
The first step once you’ve decided to change networks is to do some research.
- Take advantage of forums, they’re a great source of information and advice. The two major ones are ukbusinessforums.co.uk and ukbusinesslabs.co.uk. It’s worth starting a new thread if there isn’t a similar one that was posted within the last few months – with these two forums you can expect a response within 24 hours. Beware of old feedback as a VoIP provider’s reputation can change over time much quicker than a traditional landline, particularly if it’s quite new.
- Look for free trial periods or money back guarantees, and avoid excessively long contracts. If you’re new to VoIP or are unsure if you’re making the best decision for your business then this makes the process much easier. Ask questions about small print – is the guarantee only applicable to certain services? It’s best to play it safe so you have the option to back out if things don’t go smoothly.
- Browse provider websites, looking out for awards they’ve won and case studies for examples of how they’ve helped other businesses. Gradwell has an awards page on the website with a clear link from the home page, and case studies divided into what service the customer is using with us.
- If a VoIP provider has an ITSPA Quality Mark then you can be reassured they’re up to a certain standard, as they are required to conform to various codes of best practice to ensure your telephone numbers are protected. Look out for useful diagrams and applications that might assist your decision – for example, we have a cost savings calculator to work out how much you would save with Gradwell compared to your current provider.
- If you’re interested in a certain provider then speak to their sales team for a chat – ask questions and analyse their customer service skills. Additional features for VoIP are important and easier explained over the phone, and they can tell you what features would be relevant to your business needs.
What to expect with your new contract
Once you’ve made your decision and started using your new provider’s services, it’s inevitable that you will be constantly assessing the service you’re using and comparing them to your previous provider. If you have a 30 day money back guarantee or a very short contract, then you can use these first few weeks as a trial period to judge whether your new provider does all the things you need it to do, and all the things they advertised.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Easy setup: When things don’t run smoothly it’s incredibly frustrating, however teething problems within the first week or so of a new service are common. What’s important is that any issues are dealt with efficiently. The situation is an opportunity to assess how well your new provider handles customer support.
- Meeting your expectations: Is your new provider everything you expected? Have they produced any hidden costs? Are you getting on well with your new service? Remember, it’s not too late to change your mind if your contract allows you to back out.
- Follow up call: Once you’re all set up and running smoothly, it can be disheartening to find yourself forgotten by your provider. Thorough providers will get in touch after a few weeks or months to check in and make sure you’re happy with the service – this is what we do at Gradwell. It can really boost your satisfaction, as a lot of companies will focus on bringing in new customers but not nurturing them.
We went on Twitter and asked our existing customers ‘What has been your biggest pain when switching telephone or internet providers in the past?’ Here are some responses:
@Dan_atSurveylab: Being unable to keep the same phone number. It’s not just a case of reprinting business cards!
With Gradwell, in most cases you can keep your own number when you switch to us.
@johnny_winter: Trust. ISPs make claims that they cannot deliver and then you’re locked into a long contract without the service you paid for. Service and Expectation come into it, too. If you deliver what you promise, customers won’t want to leave. Don’t mislead.
Gradwell ensures that new customers are fully informed of what to expect from our service.
If you’re interested in switching to Gradwell VoIP, speak to our sales team on 01225 800 808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.