This Week in Differentiation

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

Zimbra-Comcast. Funambol-EarthLink. M5-SimulScribe. Intelliverse-Webex-Jabra-Creative.

Yep, providers are finally getting that if you have to get beyond basic, you have to be customer-centric. You have to show true benefit.

For the VoIP Providers like M5 and Intelliverse, these moves mean that they take a nice big step to side of the rest of the VoIP field. At ISPCON this week, a couple of other VoIP Providers yawn about this news. “We can do that.”

Yeah? Do you tell anybody? Do you package it for ease of use for the customer? Do you help your agents sell this benefit? The answer is a resounding NO.

There are so many cool Voice 3.0 apps that can be added to the mix for VoIP providers to stand out, differentiate themselves from the pack.

This is the part of the equation that almost all CLEC’s and resellers forget. How do you differentiate an integrated T1? Cbeyond did it with mobile lines. Most try to do it with price, but that just doesn’t work.

AstroTel, a small CLEC in Tampa Bay, Fla., does it with PRI’s, by giving the customer a portal to use to put in back-up numbers in the unlikely event that the PRI fails calls will still go through. (Yeah, many hosted PBX vendors sell this too but how many TDM guys?)

And resellers – the new resurgent vendors for the telecom agents – need to look at ways to position themselves. You have a network operations center? So? How exactly is a trouble ticket handled? What’s your time to repair? How about giving out a tech cell number to the bigger customers? Simple billing or did you import the Bellcore billing system like many CLEC’s?

The customer doesn’t care about the technology. He cares about reliability and ROI and productivity. When he can’t determine that, he uses price to choose.

One last thought to the VoIP guys: If Mary, who has worked at Acme for 15 years, has to change the way she uses her desk phone with your system, Mary will not use it. She will be less productive and eat up your tech support desk time – costing you money. Customer-centric.

Peter Radizeski is president of


. He can be reached at


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