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Open Letter to Vlad Shmunis, CEO, RingCentral

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ringcentral-logoAs a RingCentral (RC) customer since May of 2010, we have enjoyed your service and its capabilities. After my initial 40-50 hours of working with your Philippines-based support folks (yes, it was that painful to setup), we finally got everything up and functioning with our two lines (using Cisco analog telephone adapters), our 800#, fax line, and extensions. It has worked quite well ever since and we’ve evangelized RC to many clients and friends, many of whom have signed up with your service.

But man…is it ever hard to upgrade! Though we have had few issues with RC and little need to contact tech support, dealing with your folks in the Philippines is virtually impossible when it comes to upgrading our service or buying new phones!

yealinkCase in point: A few weeks ago I get a marketing email from William Yu at RC. We had already decided to upgrade from the Cisco ATAs to the Yealink W52P cordless phone system which you offer, so this email spurred me to action. Buying a new phone system like this simple one should be a quick and easy transaction, right? Not if you’re dealing with your folks in the Philippines who seem to have the hardest time conceptualizing what all this magic VoIP stuff does apparently, and RC specifically.

After a pre-sale discussion I had with RCs Celina Conde on June 23rd, she started a help ticket (Case 02739365) since she, nor anyone above her in support, had any clue about the Yealink. All I wanted to know was this:

  • Initial Call: Will this phone accommodate our two lines? Celina, her “training manager”, and a Level III tech support person she connected me to had no idea, even though:
    • Your RC website says that it will allow “Up to 4 simultaneous calls per base” but no one knew what this meant. Is that 4 lines? No one knew.
    • While on with your folks I went to the Yealink website and learned that the user guide (please see page 18-19 of the PDF) spelled out that the phone can have up to 5 lines in 1 base. Didn’t matter, nobody could tell me how it worked or what to do.
  • Response 1: Joy Catan in your support adds this to the case: “For your issue, in order for the phone to use 2 line, you need to have 2 digital lines assigned on the 2 lines of the phone.” GREAT! This means it works, right? I update the case on June 28th via the web but, for some reason, my responses are not recorded. (yes, I’m suspicious they were deleted)
  • Response 2: The case moves through a resolution phase while I’m traveling over the 4th of July holiday week. I receive a call this morning from RCs Ryan Portillo. Clearly wanting to drive this case to resolution, he tells me in no uncertain terms that, “That phone system cannot do more than one line.”
    • I tell Portillo, “NO…that is NOT correct and this case should NOT be closed.”

What do I receive via email a few minutes later from Portillo?

As per discussion, you have informed me that your concern on this ticket cannot be set up because of the limitation of the system. You also mentioned that you deal with the support over the phones but then it did not answer your questions. I review your account, and it shows that we advised you that we cannot provide to you this settings on the Yealink phones.

Adding in, I also consulted the support team and I get the same advise. I sincerely apologize if we cannot set it up for you. As our agreement we can close the case for you. Your case will now be set to the closed status.

Vlad Shmunis CEO at RingCentral, Inc.

Vlad Shmunis
CEO, RingCentral, Inc.

WTF? That is not what I told Mr. Portillo, that is not what support said about the “settings on the Yealink phones”, and Portillo having “consulted the support team” means that either he is lying or your support people are totally and completely clueless about the Yealink phones (or can’t read documentation).

Going through your community forum shows that there are A LOT of people quite unhappy about your support services. So while you should be congratulated on your Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year nomination, I’d suggest paying some attention to your attrition rate…since it is likely to spike with this sort of experience being more common than I’d have expected.

Would be interested in your thoughts and comments below. Thanks.

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

Comments

  1. alan geeves says:

    Phone systems are my trade and although I don’t know this system in particular and can’t do anything to actually help I can make the following observations.

    The following is from the front page of the Yealink website:

    • Exceptional HD sound with wideband technology
    • Up to 4 simultaneous external calls
    • Up to 5 DECT cordless handsets
    • Up to 5 VoIP accounts
    • 1.8″ color display with intuitive user interface
    • 10 hours talk time, 100 hours standby time
    • Integrated PoE (Class 1

    Desktop or wall mountable
    Also it quotes that it is based on the following open source sip based voip technology: Broadsoft, Asterisk, 3CX

    What this means is that the Yealink works much like a traditional PBX system except that its incoming trunks are supplied via voip SIP accounts. The Telco (in this case FC) only has to supply to the system installer the line and authorisation info which allows the system to connect to up to 5 SIP accounts and map these to the up to 5 phones. There is a traffic limitation only allowing 4 calls which may be sip line to outside world or sip line to sip line. If a 5 call was attempted it would most probably receive congestion.

    In a normal situation the system installer would get the customer to obtain the sip info from the Telco and programme the system and all would work. When the installer is also the Telco it should make everything 10 times easier.

    Obviously this isn’t what’s happening.

    When the long standing Telco in New Zealand had 2 other companies start trading in direct competition they would go out of there way to prove they were better than the others and of course the other 2 did likewise. Result was excellent service for all. Nowdays though what I see seems to suggest that instead of trying to outdo each other they are looking over each others shoulder to see what the others are getting away with. Your blog shows this situation is not unique to New Zealand.

  2. I am disappointed by ring central tech support and their service. I was with Verizon and moved tomRing Central. It’s more than 9 months. My out going caller ID is not working. At least 5 times we contacted. Not resolved. It was perfectly alright with Verizon. I like ring central service. Is there any person can resolve this issue? If not I may go back to Verizon

  3. Steve Borsch says:

    RingCentral’s tech support is in the Philippines. Unfortunately the support folks don’t really understand what’s going on with the service and what a customer is trying to achieve.

    The CallerID thing is often a holdover from where your number was ported from and to RingCentral. If you did not port your number, they should absolutely help you.

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