VOIP vs. Analog

So we need to make sure we know what's important to the client so we can establish a basis of communications. For example:

Feature Set

Hosted VOIP vs On Prem is a no-brainer. Like many other providers, we're releasing new features several times per year. Most of them are at no additional cost to the customer. Some do it more frequently than others. For example, we release new features about once per quarter. Compared to an on-premise system where you'd need to add a license, incur downtime for installation, and very likely pay a professional $125-$150/hour for installation and training of the same.

Reliability

My datacenter is more reliable than your customer's facilities…period. My 3 datacenters are likely more reliable than your single or double ISP. When you lose power I'm still sending calls. When your internet goes out I'm still sending calls. When your on-prem server has a hardware or software failure I'm still sending calls. Automatically and easily re-routed.

Scalability

I'm currently managing thousands of endpoints and more than a million minutes per month. If you want to add a new user, remove a user, change a user, it can all be done in less than 60 seconds. Very few of the on-prem systems can say that. Unlike most of the other hosted providers, if you want to keep 12 phones, but only pay for 10 that's fine. If (or when) you need to swap out a phone you can either do it yourself or call us and we'll do it. Again, less than a minute to get done, including configuration.

Flexibility

If you have an on-premise, non-open source system you are very likely tied to some sort of vendor lock in. Avaya requires Avaya. Same with NEC, Toshiba, Samsung and almost every other major provider. If you're using an open-source system it will likely support any SIP-compliant phone. But then you have the problem of provisioning and management. Even FreePBX and 3CX (the most common) only support provisioning for a limited number of manufacturers and models. For example, 3CX doesn't support the most popular Polycom VVX series, nor does it support Grandstream GXP series. That takes away almost 60% of the most commonly deployed phones. By contrast, the better hosted providers (like me) support provisioning and management for more makes and models. And we add new ones every year. If if they're one of the better providers they will also support BYOD (we do).

Support

Call your phone company or ISP. How fast do they answer? How quickly do they enter a ticket? How quickly do they have a tech start working on the ticket? Our 7 day average is 12 seconds to answer the phone and 6.22 minutes to have a tech start working on a ticket. We have a 97% first tech close rate on tickets based on a 365 day average.

Cost

COST (put it twice because it's likely to be the only part of the conversation the customer cares about)

We're going to operate under a few assumptions to make this as universal as possible.

  1. Most businesses operate under the 50% rule. That means they likely have 50% as many lines as they have extensions. This may fluctuate some. But it's a pretty fair assumption.
  2. Analog lines are expensive. In most markets across the US a business analog line is $35-$50/month + taxes and fees. Take a look at your customer's bill. If they're paying $35/line take a look to see if they're charging extra for “inside wire maintenance” or “voicemail addon”. If the line is $35 and voicemail is $5 then it's $40/line, not $35. After taxes and fees (T&F) most customers are paying $55-$75/line.

So let's apply that to our example customers.

Customer 1 - 10 users, 4 lines, 2 spare phones

  • 4 x $60/mo = $240/mo (pre T&F)
  • 10 x $24.50 = $245 (pre-tax)

Summary: We win, customer wins, we all win. Customer has the benefit of all the items above AND 10 available call paths, not 4. Note they are not paying anything for the spare phones. If they need to add it or swap it with another they can do so at a moment's notice. Again, by themselves, or by calling us (or you). ALSO In our channel program you have the full autonomy to sell seats to a client at $19.99 if you want. Keep in mind it affects your commission percentage.

Customer 2 - 65 phones, 7 lines (aka Unicorn)

  • 7 x $60/mo = $420/mo (pre T&F)
  • 65 x $18.99/mo = $1,234.35 (cool number, pre-tax)

Summary: I call them a unicorn because this completely goes against common practice. It's rare to have customers this skewed. However, it might still make sense. I have plenty of larger organizations (i.e. 100-1300 seats) still paying per user. At that size you are guaranteed that they are paying maintenance, licensing and support to a phone vendor, the manufacturer or both. They're also likely swapping a few handsets per year as a replacement. Look at the total phone cost, not just the monthly service bill. Also, it's not uncommon that systems of this size are at least a decade old.

Option 2: Keep an on-premise phone system and use sip trunks. That way they can keep with their 7 lines, but also have the resiliency of failover in case of an outage. We do support on-prem systems as well as gateways (SIP to PRI, SIP to analog, etc).