Tropo’s Secret Sauce

Voxeo Labs continues to give me free reign across their customers to chat about their experiences in running their businesses on Telecom APIs; such as myaNUMBER, Crunched, TeleSmart and there are many more weblogs to come.  It’s a wonderful experience to see real businesses built on telecoms APIs and those businesses loving it.  Love is a common theme, from the interviews with Voxeo Labs’ customers, I’d go as far as to say they have a fair bit of love for what Voxeo Labs is doing for them, it’s beyond happy.  So I took the opportunity to chat with Frank Geck, Director of Tropo Sales at Voxeo Labs who’s been letting me at their customer, to better understand how they’ve made it happen.

AQ: “What does Tropo do to makes its customers so enthusiastic about Telecom APIs?”
Frank:  That’s easy, Tropo is carrier grade.  Now, it’s easy to make the claim, so let me point to the direct objective evidence to back up that claim.  Carriers worldwide have selected the Tropo platform for their developer community, such as AT&T and Deutsche Telekom.  Their requirements are exacting to say the least, and we exceed them.  Another fact, the software that manages our audio/voice/messaging processes over 80,000 concurrent conversations on a daily basis.  It’s a scale unmatched in the industry for communication APIs.  A reason you’re talking to such happy customers is many of our customer wins came to us when prompted by problems on other platforms.  We came to the rescue just as their business was ramping up and problems started to seriously impact their business’s growth.  And finally Tropo is design for best performance, it’s built by a team that brings decades of experience in cloud communications, none of our competitors can match our depth of experience.

AQ: “Support is a significant source of satisfaction with your customers, TeleSmart being a good example, how are you doing it?”
Frank: Our customers are running their business on Tropo, we have to be there 24*7.  Technical support is free to all customers because of the confidence we have in our platform, while its paid on competitors because they are not as confident.  And support is not just about problems, it’s about innovation, we have a technical account management team that helps customers do more with Tropo, Phono, Ameche and all the capabilities we’re constantly adding. When our customers are successful so are we, as TeleSmart and Crunched clearly demonstrate.

AQ: “In some of the interviews your customers mentioned Tropo has the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), can you explain what they mean?”
Frank:  Evaluating the cost of a service isn’t as simple as looking at pricing terms on a web page.  And, for many customers they are new to telecommunications applications, so it’s a challenge to evaluate their choices.  When I talk to a customer I show them what all the considerations are in their business decision.  When you consider technical support, application functionality, value of a high quality network – we typically see savings of 20-40% over anyone else in the market.  We’re not trying to be the lowest cost vendor in the market – we’re trying to be the best overall value.  For start ups, it’s even more critical.  The rule of thumb is that it takes seven times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an old one.  Start ups invest heavily in customer acquisition.  We also know that a poor experience results in losing potential customers.  So you’re a start up – you’ve had a great launch at a trade show and now a percentage of your callers don’t have a good experience.  Would you rather have selected a carrier grade platform or saved fifty dollars a monthly in fees?

If a customer has 100,000 voice minutes or more a month, we’ll put together a package that provides significant savings compared to the others in the market.  We don’t hide fees, everything is upfront.  And critically costs associated with poor quality are massive, as it impacts your brand, revenues, and distracts the organization from the prime objective of excellent customer service.  If you care about your customers’ experience, then you have to consider if saving a few hundred dollars a month is worth it.  All this comes together to deliver the lowest TCO in the industry.

AQ: “Another common theme was the confidence customer have in Tropo as a partner into the future, where is that coming from?”
Frank:  Voxeo Labs continues to be a technology leader, and that leadership gives our customers an edge.  We were first to market in web-based communications with Phono launched back in 2010, and we are an editor of the WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications) specification, that’s enabled customers like Crunched to easily add wide-band voice to their service.   We’re the only vendor who’s invested in multiple API’s for implementing applications.  We have a Web Services API just like everyone else but we also have native API’s in Ruby, PHP, Javascript, Python, and Groovy.  We’re leading the market with our innovative Ameche platform that opens up new application concepts and distribution of those applications across Telcos.  Then, combine Tropo, Phono and Ameche and you have even more solution packages that you can create.  If all you care about is long code SMS messaging, then we’re not the best vendor for you.

AQ: “Are there any other secret sauce recipes you think are important?”
Frank:  We’re truly international.  We have local telephone numbers in more than forty countries which gives us the best global coverage.  We support twenty-four speech recognition languages.  We have speech to text voices in twenty-four languages twenty-four speech recognition languages- and more options in US English than anyone else giving developers and user interface designers the most choices.  We’ve been SIP from day one.  We’re free for development to make it as easy as possible for anyone to get started.  All these features and options are important when evaluating a SaaS platform because you may not know today what you need in the future but you can rest assured that Voxeo Labs will have it for you when you need it.

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