Over the years I have had many, many disagreements and punch-ups with telephone companies and their agents. Admittedly, I am quite fanatical about Customer Service and when I pay for a product or service, I expect suppliers to try their hardest to deliver what they’ve promised.
At the risk of starting a Race War, and perhaps my own extradition, I suggest that the general standard of customer service in this country is decidedly average. A while ago it was the done thing for a company to display copies of their Mission Statement all over the place. The tone of the statement would generally indicate how much the jordan phone number company and staff appreciated their customers. At first I was delighted that companies would go to the trouble of producing these good-news documents. Alas, I found that in many cases they were merely paying lip-service to the concept.
Maybe my expectations are too high, but in fairness, I try my damnedest to give top-class service when I am the provider, so when I’m paying the tab, why should I settle for anything less? Anyway, rightly or wrongly, my past dealings with them have left me with a bad taste in my mouth. So when I hear of a chance to save a few quid on my phone bills, I’m there with “bells on.”
Before I started looking into VoIP, my phone conversations had been handset to handset. I have friends and family in the UK and some contacts in the US and New Zealand, and the procedure usually went something like this: – I’d dial the appropriate number, talk to whoever answered for a few minutes; they’d then pass the handset to whoever else was available and I’d ‘do the rounds’. Of course, where there was a second handset available, three-way or even 4-way conversations were possible.
One of the cute things that VoIP has enabled me to do has been to set up conference calls; recently I took part in a training seminar with over 90 people on the call. They hailed from Canada, UK, Mexico, USA, Alaska, Jordan and Germany and God knows where else.
Now I know that phone companies offer conference call facilities using just the telephone, but with VoIP, conversation is just the beginning. In my training room I can run Powerpoint presentations, use a whiteboard, swap files instantaneously and play videos. I can even share my desktop; in other words, I can open any file on my computer with the flick of a switch, it can be seen by everyone else on the call. Similarly, if they are having a problem on their computer, with their permission, I can access their machine and correct the problem for them.
If you think this technology is just a “flash in the pan”, consider this. SKYPE, one of the earliest suppliers of VoIP, was recently purchased by eBay for a staggering
Of course, the real challenge is in finding an economical way to gain access to this technology. A search for “VoIP” on Google will return “about results”. And of course, in case Uncle Bill should miss the boat, Microsoft has its version now available. It’s called Live Meeting, and judging by the hefty price tag, seems to be targeting the corporate world.
I’d like to finish by offering a word of caution to smaller players, especially exporters who can see the potential in VoIP. The old adage about “getting what you pay for” just isn’t true in this business. Some companies have a fixed monthly charge; some base their charges on time used; some base their price on the number of people on the call.