Written by Elisabeth Vanderveldt, SBSC PAL for Eastern Canada

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You’re mobile, agile, and quick to respond to your client’s every needs. Basically you are a “super partner”. But while you’re working to make your clients business number one, who’s helping you taking care of yours? Well for me that little helper is the new Response Point system from Microsoft. In its first iteration, RP has been surprisingly easy to install and configure (I did it in one afternoon between several interruptions for annoying telemarketers. Hmm, I know RP can help me with that too with the pop up display on my desktop screen). I love the automated receptionist and the pre-recorded messaging. Alas “Bienvenue Chez Conamex” is not possible, as RP is not as yet multilingual (but rumour is it’s coming very soon), so I was forced to record my own message. My only other concern right now is the fact that it can’t pronounce French names, so Jean Leblanc (pronounced “Leblan”, short “a” and silent “e”) comes out sounding like Jean as in a girl, and Leblanc is pronounced Leblank, and even my last name sounded like Vangerveldt instead of Vanderveldt. A little disconcerting as no one likes their name mangled, but was easily corrected when I did the recordings myself.

That said, what really turned my head was the ability to allow callers to bypass the receptionist by putting their numbers into a list which then directs them to the extension of the person they really want to reach (someone in development was obviously thinking like a customer). It was also so simple to direct all my voice messages to my inbox in Outlook. All this for a lot less than your clients would ever imagine. What was probably one of the smartest moves and protects consumers and partners is that Microsoft made it mandatory for each manufacturer’s phone components to work with all others. So if I prefer the Syspine phones, the Aastra base unit, and the D-Link gateway, I can easily mix and match to let everyone have the option of the phone of their own choice, while being able to quickly set up other offices with whatever equipment is available in their region.

This baby is really well loaded with enough features that make it quick to get up and running, while agile enough to make a small business appear to be much larger and just as savvy as its larger competitors down the road. SP1 is out and I suspect the next one is close to release and will be focused on delivering more of exactly what many partners are coming to expect of Microsoft, products that not only are great for our customers and present numerous opportunities to grow our business, but finally give us a something we can love as well. Thanks Bill! (This was one of his personal pet projects.)

Elisabeth Vanderveldt

Side note from SBSC

Microsoft Response Point is picking up a lot of attention in the Canadian marketplace from all fronts – partners, customers, and manufacturers. In fact, a majority of the RP specialists here are actually SBSCs! If you aren’t already on the customer search list, make sure you review the requirements.

There were many more of you that also attended the RP training tour across 4-cities in August and September. This tells me that you are starting to understand the business value for you to provide RP, as well as the clear value proposition for your customers. As a result, we will start working closer with all of the stakeholders to support you in growing this portion of your business.

If you haven’t already, review the on-demand training, sales/marketing materials, and technical resources available on our partner portal page. There is also an interesting case study from Lypp in Vancouver, BC.

As Elisabeth put it, thanks Bill!

Cheers,

Satish

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