A Quick Exit From Revolving-Door Telecom Salespeople

In this growing era of global interconnectivity, multinational corporations such as the ones I've worked for have more options when it comes to telecom services. It's a lesson the American

February 10, 2004

3 Min Read
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In this growing era of global interconnectivity, multinational corporations such as the ones I've worked for have more options when it comes to telecom services. It's a lesson the American Telcos seem determined to learn the hard way.

For too many suppliers, there is still a revolving door between the customer and supplier, with the customer never sure who's going to walk through the door next. How many of you actually know, right now, who you're dealing with when you sign that three-year services deal? And does that person know your business?

Currently, we have turned to an overseas supplier to provide us with a global VPN using MPLS, dedicated router support and supplier router network management for connectivity to our manufacturing plants and offices in Asia, Europe and the U.S. If there was somebody who I knew at our former U.S. supplier, I would tell them the reasons why we switched.

Unfortunately, my former supplier gave me plenty of justification to drop them. Prior to my choice to switch carriers and reject my patriotic duty to buy American, I noted that every time I called my U.S. telecommunications account manager in the past year, I got a different person with no clue who I was or what my telecom needs were.

The first time this happened, I set up a meeting with the salesperson to get to know each other. The first topic of conversation was the sad tale of the "last guy" and how "it" (the disappearance of the account manager) would not happen again. I was assured of this no less than five times within a one-year period, before I finally learned my lesson and took my P.O. elsewhere.I was desperate for a real business relationship that focused on the services I needed and the level of support I have come to expect over the years from the "Great American Telecom Companies of Yore." Alas, they are all gone now. However, looking across the ocean, I found a quickly rising telecommunications carrier who was outstanding in the area of relationship-building and offered my company unbelievable service levels for my global telecommunications requirements, all of it at a significantly lower price.

So, I did what any customer would do: I crafted a three-year deal that saved my company a huge sum of money and have had the same account manager since the signing of the contract. Since the deal was signed and implemented two years ago, I have had only two carrier outages, and they were less than five minutes each. When was the last time you could say that to your boss?

There is one year left on the contract now, and I'd like to open up the bidding on the next deal to an American firm. Is there a carrier that has the drive to oust the incumbent and offer better, faster, cheaper service? And a consistently stable contact, who knows my business? If you're not ready to offer me that, you're not going to sell me any minutes. Want to know why? Ask the last guy.

(Steve "Doc Net" Nitenson has been helping run large-scale IT operations since the early Jurassic period, including stints at Kaiser Permanente, National Semiconductor, Quantum, Visa International and NANOmetrics. Currently, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Technology Management.)

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