Beyond Solutions: Vetting the Provider
There are many factors to consider when your business needs a new solution that extend well beyond the solution itself. Cloud communications in particular is an industry that has exploded into the marketplace over the past decade. With exponential growth over the last several years, many smaller and less experienced cloud providers have come to market without the right expertise.
As a result, vetting the provider has become even more critical than ever before. We’ve put together an important set of criteria to consider when selecting the right provider for your business.
With so many providers to choose from, it’s vital to really delve into each provider’s individual experience and background. Longevity in the industry is a good indicator of a provider’s expertise, as well as their success rate. We highly recommend that you look for a business that has had a minimum of five or more years of continuous experience as a cloud provider.
While the cloud is known as one of the most reliable options available, issues can still arise. That’s why it’s important to find out each service providers’ uptime history over the course of the past twelve months. This history will give you an idea of how reliable and dependable their service really is. Exemplary cloud providers will report a minimum uptime performance of 99.99 percent over a 12-month period. Anything less than that is something to raise questions about.
Another critical driver to a provider’s reliability is their ability to offer geographic diversity. Since disasters can affect large geographic areas, it is vital to have a fully geo-redundant system which places mirrored systems adequate distances apart; this will ensure that during catastrophic events, such as natural disasters, your data remains safe and secure. Not all providers will offer this, but it is definitely important as downtime of any kind can be catastrophic for your business.
This may seem like a given, but not all businesses are created equal when it comes to customer service. You want to look for a provider that offers top-tier support and personalized customer service options like dedicated project managers, especially when it comes to installation. Awards are an easy and quick way to see how they are rated by others in the industry. Look to see if the provider is recognized year after year through awards for customer service and support. Another indicator of good customer service is a business’s customer engagement rating. This is something that the company actually has to pay to have measured and it measures how fond customers are of a particular business. The B2B industry benchmark for customer engagement is 43%, so be sure to look for a provider who first of all measures this, but also exceeds the standard for an even clearer indication of how satisfied their customers really are.
Having award-winning and quality customer service in place is critical, but how you are able to access support is just as important. For busy professionals, time is everything. It’s essential to find a provider whose support structure matches your work style. For instance, having accessibility to support via live online chat and through an online community forum where you can instantly find answers to questions on your own are key to have in place in today’s fast-paced world.
While we know the solution’s quality is hugely important, so is the provider’s expertise, service and performance history. Be sure that you do your due diligence and fully vet each of the providers under consideration before making your final decision. The reliability of the provider can make all the difference for your business.