I came across a very interesting blog post this evening called ITSPA announces best VoIP service finalists

I made a few comments on it, but I do think Charles Chance of Cloudnet UK raises some valid points:

It is my opinion that for awards like these to mean anything, we need to see a more rigorous testing process including the engagement of ‘mystery shopper’ services, gathering feedback from existing customers and the assessment of financial standing/profitability. We need to ensure that the post-sales support is as good as the sales pitch and that our chosen provider will still be around in 6 months time.

Let’s address the first point? How do you implement a “Mystery Shopper” for services? What do other sectors do? It’s not like just buying a physical product online, or is it? I suppose a shopper could purchase a hosted VoIP account or set of hosted VoIP accounts or SIP trunks and test but who pays for that? ITSPA with membership money?  Is that the best use of the membership income versus working with Ofcom?

How do you contact customers and get a good overview if the company picks the customers? Surely they’ll only pass over good ones? As a potential customer choosing a business service supplier, should you credit check that company? Isn’t the supplier being a member of ITSPA supposed to save you that hassle? We credit check a new customer before we let them on to our systems so that we don’t get abused and our existing customers then suffer. Being a member of ITSPA carries certain fees and as I’ve always said the best companies join ITSPA.

Post-sales support is a good requirement though and some set of tests would need to be developed. Like what though? Does the shopper break things or does this mean sitting in a support queue? We have live support chat facilities which helps with this, although new it is working very well.

The truth is that anyone can go for any of the ITSPA Awards categories like we did and anyone can go for the ITSPA Quality Mark like we did, but yet not enough companies do. Why?

The VoIP industry really does need a body like ITSPA and I promote it when ever I can. When in London next week for the awards I’ll mention all Charles’ points and hopefully it will be tougher next year!

I would ask Charles though, did Cloudnet UK enter any categories? Do Cloudnet UK re-brand the services of larger, wholesale providers? Are his comments bitter? I don’t think so as you’ll see above that I think he’s raised some very good points.

To be honest all business VoIP providers will have wholesale suppliers in the mix as well as direct interconnects with the likes of BT as that’s how it works! BT for example use Tata Communications for their international traffic.




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