What Do You Need to Look For in a VoIP Consultant?
Enterprise VoIP Planet is running a series of articles on migrating your business to VoIP. Their most recent article centers around becoming a VoIP consultant, one that specifically deals with the trixbox/Fonality PBXtra solution. In the article, Carla Schroeder mentions two rules that all VoIP consultants should live by:
- Leave the Geek at Home. Sell a Solution, Not a Box.
- Talk Least, Show Most. Build yourself a sleek, attractive demo unit.
Slim advice for sure, but you might be asking yourself what this has to do with selecting a VoIP consultant.
Five Questions to Answer Before Selecting a VoIP Consultant
Most consultants know Carla’s two rules. Those rules are staples of any sales person/consultant diet. So if everyone is offering this to your business, how do you know which VoIP consultant is right for your business VoIP migration?
Let’s take a look at the five questions to answer about a VoIP consultant:
- What Amount of Time The VoIP Consultant Has Spent in the VoIP industry? I would recommend someone with three to five years of proven experience in the VoIP industry. Also, see if VoIP is their primary area of expertise or an ancillary ability. Sorry legacy, TDM, data, and networking guys, unless you have specific VoIP experience businesses should stay away from you.
- What Their Previous Customers Have to Say About Them? Ask for references. Get a list of four to six of their previous clients that they have done VoIP consultations for. Be wary of any reference that is given for other services the consultant might offer. You do not care about how he or she helped ABC company with an email solution – You want to know how they helped with the assessment, selection, and implementation of their VoIP phone system.
- What Breadth of Products/Solutions Do They Represent/Have Knowledge Of? VoIP phone systems are not one-size-fits-all. If a perspective VoIP consultant only have knowledge of one system, or if they only represent one company, beware. As a consultant, they should be advising you on all of the possible VoIP phone system options, from Asterisk to Cisco to Shoretel. This is tough to do when you only have knowledge in one area.
- Would You Hire Them Permanently? If you had to (or eventually needed to), would you hire this potential VoIP consultant permanently? Like it or not, a VoIP consultant must function as an integral part of your team during the entire phone system migration process. They must be able to understand your entire business from a process and procedural level since for most businesses, your phone system is an important part of the business. If you would not hire them permanently, look elsewhere.
- What Are Their Standard Fees? The going hourly rate for VoIP consultants is currently hovering at anywhere from $75 to $500 per hour depending on a myriad of factors. The larger the business, the more complex the solution, the more you are going to pay. Beware of VoIP consultant offering rates outside of the above range. A solid, reputable VoIP consultant should be charging $150 to $250 per hour. A typically on-site assessment and evaluation is probably going to run between $999 and $10,000 depending on the time involved. Again, make sure what you are seeing falls in between this range.
Selecting the right VoIP consultant is important because your phone system is important. Beware of anyone who is too good to be true. Hopefully these tips will help anyone looking for a VoIP consultant. If you are still at a loss, contact me and I would more then willing to send you a list of folks I recommend.