UCaaS: The Trouble with Suzanne

Suzanne, of course, isn’t her real name. But she is a real person; a professional healthcare provider, working at a remote facility of a national healthcare operations company. She was in the middle of a large implementation of a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) service across the entire Enterprise. The corporate headquarters and regional headquarters were using the UCaaS solution in all its complexity, but for her it was just a new phone system.

She still didn’t understand what “cloud” meant… nor did she care to. She had patients to attend to and coordinate.

Two days after go-live, Suzanne called the Corporate IT Helpdesk. She was furious. This new phone system “just wasn’t working.” Regional VPs were notified, the CIO and VP of IT were engaged, and as the outsourced Telecom Department for this company, we were brought in too. No one could clearly articulate what was wrong at the time, except that Suzanne was pissed. Calls were coordinated. Calendars were cleared.

The regional VP made sure everyone knew that this was unacceptable, and borderline unprofessional, despite not having the faintest idea of what the actual problem was. But, still. Suzanne was pissed.

After a round of intros and assurance that we would get to the bottom of this, we found the issue: Suzanne could not “park” a call and the previous system had been fully capable of call parking. How could this new technology not have the ability to park a call? Did we go backwards? How could this cloud technology, deployed by high-end consultants and carriers and Cary (Cary is with Corporate IT) not be able to park a call???

“Suzanne, did you attend either of the two trainings we provided for your site before turn-up?” Interestingly enough, she had… or at least she was in the room. She must have missed the part where they trained how to park calls on the new system.

After the call, the Client asked a question. “Can we just go back to premise-based phone systems?” Several iterations of Suzanne had occurred, just in the previous week. They were frustrated with end-users complaints, calls from regional VPs, and a VP of IT that was at his wits’ end. “We don’t get these types of complaints with premise-based phone systems.”

We actually spent a day looking at premise-based options, all the while getting threats from IT Operations that if we took away the standardization that UCaaS brought them in troubleshooting, that they’d shoot us. So… we asked a very valuable question back to the VP of IT. “What did you get from prem-based that made for fewer complaints?” The answer: On-site training. The issue? Corporate IT had rejected the cost of on-site training when we began implementation — a fact we pointed out. We also pointed out that prem-based almost always included fees for on-site training.

We mandated (as much as a third party can) that all future deployments include a day of on-site training. We’ve had no complaints since.

In fairness, the “Suzannes of the world have patients to attend to. We could try to get them to attend webinars and conference calls for training, or we could accept that we won’t be able to change their habits.

On-site training worked for Suzanne. Corporate IT felt that the multiple benefits of a cloud-based UCaaS included a “plug-and-play” approach that included the ease and low cost of remote training. The moral of the story: DO WHAT WORKS.