Recently, Doug Tolley and VXSuite partner Greg Plum of Plum UC participated in a podcast titled, “Partner Adoption of Converged Bundles and Billing.” The event was hosted by Dan Baldwin, executive director of the Telecom Association.
Dan quickly jumped into a series of questions to get to the heart of the VXSuite and Plum UC stories. They talked about the shift from being simply a telecom services agent to a managed service provider. Plum UC provides partners and their customers with a comprehensive platform of unified communications and conferencing and collaboration solutions. They are also a Telarus partner and work to source the best data, voice, and cloud services for their customers.
Agent versus Managed Service Provider (aka Partner)
In the agent world, the customer is owned by the carrier. The agent sells a data, voice, or cloud service and the customer is billed by the carrier. Customer retention is typically not as great as that of a managed service provider (MSP) because the agent is not typically meeting regularly with the client or billing the client for additional services.
Dan was keenly tuned into this dilemma and asked:
- What is a definition of a managed service provider? How has the model changed?
- How can you become a key integrator as opposed to just an add-on for the customer?
- Why are agents losing to the managed service provider and interconnect?
- What is the vision in terms of converged bundles in terms of voice, data, etc.? And does the reseller need their logo on it?
Take the Next Step
Telarus is working to shift their reseller partners from being an agent to filling the role of a managed service provider. Taking ownership of the billing is the first step. Introducing other products to the customer is the next step.
Bandwidth monitoring notification is a great opener to billing the client for something new. Basic circuit monitoring starts at $10 list price. Agents make 20 percent and up. VXSuite will set up and monitor the circuit 24/7 and alert the customer and the agent when circuit status changes. This includes a circuit going down and the corresponding notification when it comes back.
Notification plus resolution management is $20 list per month and takes the notification plan one step further. VXSuite will set up and monitor the circuit 24/7 and alert the customer and broker, via email and/or text messaging, when circuit status changes. Should the circuit go down or a problem is assessed, VXSuite will open a ticket with your provider and remain the focal point for monitoring until the issue is resolved. This brings the value the agent is providing to the forefront of the conversation and changes their role from agent to managed service provider.
Not only will using the VXSuite toolset elevate the position of the agent to a managed service provider, it will stop the finger pointing between carrier, the hosted provider and the customer. The person who uses data to get to the bottom of an issue will always have a seat at the table.