The traditional barriers that existed that prevented entering the telephony installation and support business have diminished. Telephony Software costs range from free to very inexpensive. Internet based hardware distribution by companies such as EBay and Amazon have made it possible for a new group of suppliers to enter the market place with little or no capital investment, training, or experience.
This trend began about 7 years ago. I hate to admit that I’ve lost potential customers to these telephony pretenders. One particular customer, a very large local moving company suffered through 5 years of poor equipment and even worse service. When the lease expired they remembered us and purchased a telephone system through BSB Communications, Inc. and ended their nightmare.
As bad as their experience was the trend continues, albeit with a different supplier. We recently lost another moving company to a pretender. The new supplier promised to cut communications costs in half. I have no doubt they have made good on that promise. A result of those cost cutting measures is all calls are now answered by first taking note of the caller ID. This is done so the customer can receive a call back when they get disconnected. The bottom line is they are losing customers.
In our business, as well as the data business, pretenders are getting increasing difficult to identify. I spent the early part of my adult working life in purchasing at a local aggregate supplier learning from some the best. I learned from seasoned purchasing agents on how to identify a pretender. I was pretty good at my job as evidenced by the fact that some of the processes and procedures implemented during my time are still being used and saving that company hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
Several years ago I wrote an article detailing how to form a team to select a telephony platform best suited for your company. My wisdom comes from observing the sales process from both the purchasing side and the sales end. If you are in the market for a phone system please let me know and I will send you a copy of that blueprint that will provide your company with the tools that will help you avoid doing business with a great pretender.