When we build our hosted VoIP business, especially during the early stages, we are tempted to say yes to anything a potential customer requests. The typical question you may see will sound something like this “Can I use any phone with your service?” Maybe it’s time to rethink that answer.
It may seem the right thing to do, but telling a potential customer that it’s perfectly fine to bring any SIP phone to a hosted PBX service will bring you heartache down the road, if not immediately.
Why is this you may ask? It comes down to a few very important details that we will discuss in more detail. Yes, most modern SIP phones in the last few years adhere mostly to SIP standards and would most likely register to your service, but that is about the extent of the positive news.
- Auto Provisioning – The single feature that brought sanity to adding new phones is very important. It allows you activate a new extension and phone quickly, makes changes from any location, reboots a phone remotely and makes handy templates to save time, but adding new provisioning templates for old or non-standard phones is time-consuming and problematic. This time could be better spent developing new features on a hosted PBX platform. Why drag a new customer into a situation where they could be disappointed and have potential downtime? Suggesting its time for new phones will be the better move and they will gain better stability and new feature capabilities.
- Knowing Your Product – Technical support and customer service are the hallmarks of keeping your customers. Having your technical staff experienced on one or two popular phone models makes them experts, handle support calls quicker and appear more knowledgeable to customers. A seasoned Hosted VoIP provider understands this issue and typically selects two top brand models without wavering to their customers. It is truly best for everyone involved.
- True Compatibility – Most Hosted VoIP Platforms have nuances to SIP phone manufacturers however subtle they may be. By choosing the top brand and models which work seamlessly with your chosen VoIP Platform, you eliminate issues that may pop up later with your customers. Fewer problems mean happier customers who tend to stay with your service long term.
- Software Revisions – Most older SIP phones have firmware updates that went end of life (EOL) long ago. This means any newer features will probably not work and your customer may find issues down the road. Once again we are setting ourselves up for a customers unhappiness. It may also lead to the oldest response in VoIP history which is “It used to work somewhere else!”. This is not productive for anyone and could have been addressed from the very beginning.
We all could be the knight in shining armor by saying yes to this common question, but why set up a future battle with your hard earned customer when you are in control of your service? When explained properly and in full context, the customer always appreciates you looking out for them.