[VoiceOps] Explaining router/NAT problems to customers

Carlos Alvarez carlos at televolve.com
Thu Jan 28 20:43:33 EST 2010

On 1/28/10 12:56 PM, Alex Balashov wrote:
> What I've seen good salespeople / account reps do, when met 
> noncomprehension of such issues: suggest that the customer bought 
> "cheap" and "consumer-grade" routers that do not support "premium" 
> "voice-grade" services and that they should upgrade to something more 
> "industrial-strength."  If the service provider in question happened 
> to resell hardware, it was usually a good upsell opportunity.

Yeah, I guess that's a typical sales person way.  However it's 
unfortunately not true; we see great results with a WRT54G and the most 
problems are with "enterprise" routers that have SIP-specific junk or 
hyper-aggressive security that closes ports quickly.  We do tell people 
to turn off the ALG but at some point we run out of potential fixes.  
Today's fun included explaining why two routers (double NAT) is a Bad 
Idea, and recurring issues with a supposedly high-end Juniper router.
> I could never do that because I'm not hardcore. It takes serious 
> gumption to turn an angry customer's conviction that your product is 
> inadequate and deflect it back toward them and convince them that it 
> is their purchasing decisions and ignorance that are, in fact, the 
> essence of what is inadequate here.

I thoroughly enjoy doing that but only when I believe it to be true.

We have wording in our contract about not being liable for their 
networking issues, but the non-tech users just don't get *what* the 
network is or even that we use it.  We have specifically avoided 
providing routers because we don't want to own the network and deal with 
things like companies who want inbound NAT setups and things like that.  
Maybe what I need is a separate document that customers have to sign 
off?  Dunno.

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