There are a number of ways to undergo a transition from one business phone and internet service provider to another. One is to conduct your own shopping and then involve your phone and I.T. vendors to assist you with the service implementation. This method requires a number of meetings with telecom sales reps (at least one per company and then two or three with the finalists) then a meeting with your vendors to bring them up to speed and finally the effort required to connect all the parties involved.
If you choose this method, you’ll most likely come out of the experience worn out and knowing more about telecommunications than you ever wanted to.
Another way is to lean on your phone and I.T. vendors. Those people know your phone systems and data networks inside and out, they know what type of services will mesh with those networks. They also have experience with all the telephone and internet service providers in your area. Most importantly, they know which providers do the best job and which ones should be avoided.
Most phone and I.T. vendors have associations with telecom agencies and are compensated for referring business to those agencies.
Some vendors feel that any association with a telecom agency or service provider is a conflict of interest. Others have experienced some ugly phone and internet service installations and don’t want anything to do with that part of the process.
The vendors that maintain agency and telecom provider relationships understand that there really isn’t a conflict of interest and that the best way to prevent ugly service installations is to establish more control over the process.
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As far as any conflicts of interest, if a vendor works with a telecom agency, this should be a non-issue. Agencies represent multiple providers; when they’re presented with an opportunity, they shop it with all the relevant providers to find the best and most cost effective solution.
By being involved in the transition from the beginning, vendors can steer the telecom agency to the appropriate solutions – ones that will sync best with their client’s equipment. They can be included in all the order correspondence and schedule themselves to be available when the provider’s technicians will be onsite. I’ve been in telecom for close to twenty years and service installations that involve a customer’s phone and internet vendors from the beginning, go much smoother than the alternative.
Recently, my agency worked with a day spa that was transitioning from Paetec to CenturyLink. We were working directly with the customer and later on with their I.T. vendor. The order was placed and the installation was scheduled and only then did their vendor disclose the fact that there was a VPN connecting the customer’s two locations. We had to cancel the order and start over with a different CenturyLink offering. If we were working with the vendor from the start, this issue would have been uncovered earlier on and the customer’s service installation would not have been delayed.
If your vendor is compensated by a telecom agency, he or she has a vested interest in the performance of the phone and internet services they recommended. The compensation they receive is monthly and stops if you cancel those services. If your vendor is receiving an agency commission they typically don’t charge for all the time they’re involved in the installation process. If your vendor is not being compensated, he or she has to charge you for every minute or they would be working for free.
I’ve worked with at least one hundred vendors in my career and never had one ask about percentages or try to steer me towards a more expensive solution to maximize their compensation. They were always most concerned about providing the best solution to their client, even if it involved recommending a provider that we did not have an agency relationship with.
If I were an I.T. or phone vendor, without an agency relationship, I would look to find an agency to work with. It creates another revenue stream, but most importantly prevents network and installation issues that don’t need to occur. If my business wanted to switch telecom providers, I would hope that my vendors had an agency relationship. That way I know that everyone is on the same page and my vendors have a vested interest in the performance of my new services.