Diane Smith, ChoiceTel CEO, speaks at Annual Masergy Kick-Off
Diane Smith, CEO of ChoiceTel, was asked to be a guest speaker on a panel at Masergy’s Annual Kick-Off conference. ChoiceTel has a list of Strategic Partners, which are vetted vendors who meet very stringent requirements. These vendors have the highest marks in the areas of Customer Experience, High Quality Solution Sets, Engineering Finesse, Excellent Project Management, Financial Stability, and long-term success in “over-delivering” for our clients.
For nearly two decades, Masergy has pioneered software-defined networking in ways that help predict certainty. Their groundbreaking network, cloud platform, and undaunted commitment to client-first service help global enterprises transform with certainty.
Masergy is a trusted and valued partner of ChoiceTel, and Diane was honored to be part of their ongoing transformation and straight forward approach to solving real problems with intelligence, aligning perfectly with ChoiceTel’s charter and mission.
Jim Glackin led the discussion with 4 partners, including ChoiceTel. Several questions were posed to the group. Here are some of Diane’s answers to Jim’s questions during the panel:
What customer trends are you seeing in the market recently that may be different from 1 year ago?
Diane Smith: With COVID and other global events occurring, most people are focused on 3 main areas:
1) Enabling remote workers holistically
2) Building resiliency into this new form of architecture to ensure the best experience, and lastly
3) Continuing to safeguard the business assets with healthy cyber security initiatives.
While good hygiene in Cyber Security has always been important, the sudden change in the technology landscape with remote working has rapidly changed the game for CISO’s and other security leaders. Having to adjust their approach swiftly with internal resources only, has been a challenge. Finding the right partners to enable your business to respond has never been more important. Having the right experts on your team, both inside and outside of your organization with the technical savviness, an ethical foundation, along with a highly responsive approach will help you meet your goals in the timeline needed to appropriately address the current environment.
How is your business transforming to ensure you are providing a strong and differentiated customer experience?
Diane Smith: ChoiceTel has always endeavored to be ahead of the curve, and we’re happy to say we have helped our clients through the COVID driven requirements expeditiously. One of our clients needed to enable approximately 6500 users for remote work within a few short days. The planning took place on Friday. We added a few more resources to account for the additional strain on their infrastructure and we were able to accomplish this for them with a few hours of additional work on a Saturday. Come Monday morning – their company was able to support 100% remote work from a telephony system perspective. Due to the thought leadership, collaboration, and partnership with our customer in advance of knowing anything about this upcoming disaster, we were able to respond to this collectively in an expedient manner.
Two primary items that requires additional thought relate to how these changes have impacted resiliency in the IT infrastructure and Cyber Security. We need to highly encourage our customers to take a closer look at how these changes have impacted their entire IT landscape. I’m positive there are items that need to be triaged, documented and prioritized that weren’t there before.
How would you describe best practices of a channel manager or sales rep?
Diane Smith: We have worked with 100’s of providers in the last 26 years. It’s amazing to me how many individuals skip out on the basics. We endeavor to build a true partnership with our customers AND our vendors. There are 3 things we need in a true successful partnership:
- Know your company and its products/services ins and outs
- Do what you say you’re going to do WHEN you say you’re going to do it
No secrets – especially during customer engagements. We can’t properly strategize to meet the customers’ requirements if we’re not on the same page. Transparency in collaboration is very high on the list. ChoiceTel is in this for the long run and we want to build a relationship that stands the test of time with our customers AND our vendor partners.
Be a person of your word and meet timeline expectations. Things happen – everyone knows that. Just communicate and be sure we’re all on the same page. No one likes surprises, so get things out in the open as quickly as possible -just rip the band aid off! There’s nothing worse than working with a vendor who doesn’t know their own products/services. In an effort to reduce surprises, be sure you’re correctly and clearly presenting your capabilities.
Don’t overstate and please don’t understate – there’s nothing worse than the customer not understanding your true value proposition. After this sort of session they begin to question, why we brought you in to begin with, it makes us all look badly. Lastly, make sure you know how to escalate quickly when needed inside your company. When things hit the fan, the quicker we can respond, the less pain is produced for our customer. Please don’t be the person who is afraid to do the right thing for fear of upsetting someone in your company – the customer will never forget it and neither will we. We need to know that you’ll go to the carpet for us and we’ll go to the carpet for you!