In many instances, we get to choose who we want to be in a relationship with―in both our personal lives and in business. But establishing a relationship of any kind is a commitment―even more so if we sign on the dotted line through a marriage or contract.
It’s important to review all facets of the relationship before a commitment is made in order to avoid the headache, heartache and expense that can come with a breakup.
In today’s world of increasing competition and digital transformation, one important relationship businesses must form is with their unified communications provider.
When weighing your options, it’s crucial to do your homework first. It costs time and money to implement a new provider, and it can be an even bigger hassle to switch vendors if you discover you made a poor choice.
How can you be confident you’re making a smart investment? As with most relationships, there are early warning signs that tell you when things probably won’t work out. You just need to know how to recognize them.
We recently identified four positive signs that indicate a unified communications vendor is a good choice, but it’s equally important to consider the flip side. Be on the lookout for these three red flags, which should make you stop and think before solidifying your relationship with any UC vendor.
Red Flag #1: They’re Self-Centred
Keep an eye out for providers who look after “Number 1”. They can be unreliable and difficult to work with. When things don’t go as planned, they may even be defensive and look to place blame on anyone but themselves. There’s no room for these qualities in a successful operation or relationship.
Your business needs the peace of mind that your unified communications provider will consistently perform high-quality work and is invested in your success. Both parties should come together and agree on what’s achievable.
A reliable vendor should maintain open communications with you through the whole relationship, protecting you and knowing when to gently push to help you remain competitive. A two-way dynamic allows both parties to succeed today, take calculated risks for the future and achieve targets together.
The collaboration and integration that go along with any partnership can also drive the need to switch gears, take a step back or course correct.
A good vendor should be open to constructive feedback―never defensive―and willing to work with you to realign and get in better sync with your business goals. Being able to have frank, candid discussions about what works and doesn’t work makes all the difference in a successful long-term business relationship.
Red Flag #2: They’re Inflexible
A major red flag is a vendor who takes a standardized, one-size-fits-all approach or seems to underestimate the level of complexity required to meet your needs. While some tech products don’t require customization, this doesn’t tend to be true for unified communications.
A business can benefit greatly from a unique solution tailored precisely to their needs.
If a vendor seems very rigid, run! Circumstances often change during the implementation or delivery of a product, and it makes life a lot easier if your business partner has a nimble approach and can pivot as needed.
It’s a joy to partner with someone who is easy to work with. Companies with this type of culture tend to be flexible and adaptable. They look to understand what their counterpart needs to be successful, and they align to where the strategy is headed.
They strive to make their partners “look good” to their customers, and they’re happy to operate either behind the scenes or on the front lines, depending on what their customers are looking for. They also understand each business has a unique starting point, infrastructure and work cadence, and they let you grow at your pace.
Consider the cloud, for example. Is your business already there? Are you just thinking about it? The path to the cloud isn’t the same for every organization. A trustworthy provider has your back, taking the time to learn where you are, where you want to be and the best way to get there.
Mitel on-site solutions, for example, are primed for OTT cloud applications and hybrid capabilities, so you can transition to the cloud when you’re ready. You get a customized solution with communications technology to support your evolving needs.
If a provider isn’t interested in hearing about your comfort level with the cloud or whether you want to leverage existing systems, it’s a definite sign they’re more focused on making a sale than on helping you succeed.
Red Flag #3: They’re Reactive
We all know too well how quickly things can change, and this is, perhaps, truest when it comes to technology. A unified communications provider who is complacent and focused only on today isn’t going to be able to support your long-term needs.
An experienced provider is constantly looking to the future, staying one step ahead when it comes to the latest innovations and developments. They’ll anticipate your needs (and where the industry is heading) and be ready with the latest and greatest before you even ask for it.
A proactive vendor puts your business one step ahead of the competition, so you’re ready to handle the unpredictable issues that may come your way. Mitel, for instance has always prided itself on being a trendsetter in the communications industry, being the first to virtualize voice and the first to go to the cloud.
A provider who is happy with the status quo or stuck in the present may meet your current needs, but they won’t be ready to help you navigate unforeseen challenges and changes in the months and years ahead.
Take the time to get to know a potential vendor so you avoid committing to a partner who may be self-centred, inflexible, reactive or―worse yet―all three. These three red flags can help steer you towards making the best choice from the start, so you never have to deal with a messy breakup.