Standing Out From the Crowd at ITEXPO

Eric RIch IT EXPO 2020-2

Eric Hernaez, President and Founder of SkySwitch talks about having a unique voice in the industry.

TMC’s Rich Tehrani speaks with SkySwitch Founder and President, Eric Hernaez, at the IT EXPO #TechSuperShow 2020 in Ft. Lauderdale FL about what makes SkySwitch a unique player in the telecom industry. SkySwitch is all about helping the customers differentiate themselves and having the tools to be successful. 

Rich Tehrani interviews SkySwitch President and Founder Eric Hernaez at ITEXPO 2020.

Video Transcription:

Rich Tehrani  0:29  

We’re here at the ITEXPO Tech Super Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On our show is Eric Hernaez with SkySwitch. Eric, how are you?

Eric Hernaez  0:38  

I’m doing great, Rich. Thanks. How are you?

Rich Tehrani  0:40  

Good. Thanks. So tell us a little bit about SkySwitch for those people who may not know.

Eric Hernaez  0:43  

Sure. So SkySwitch is a channel only white label UCaaS provider, which what that really means is that our partners are able to take our UCaaS platform and sell it and brand it and build their customers under their own name. 

So we’re behind the scenes making sure that the platform is running and it’s geo diverse. So it’s always available. But it’s really our job to help our customers be successful selling you UCaaS to their customer base.

Rich Tehrani  1:10  

And there are a lot of benefits for an MSP to own the relationship. You want to go into some of those. 

Eric Hernaez  1:14  

Absolutely, sure. Well, you know, typically the way MSP’s have approached the market has been to, well, you know, they have customers and a lot of times the customers will say, “Well, you know, we’ve heard about cloud voice, we want to get into Cloud voice, what do you suggest and many msps end up being agents for some of the larger national players. And that can be good because you know, you can give the customer what they’re looking for, which is a more feature rich, absolutely, you know, platform that does not immediately obsolete it. 

The downside, of course, is that that MSP ends up losing that relationship with the customer because once they hand them over to another brand, they lose that opportunity for monthly recurring revenue. So in our model, the MSP gets to continue being the trusted visor for their customers. And but they’re also able to brand their own voice, business voice solution and maintain that relationship and keep the customer.

Rich Tehrani  2:11  

It’s really exciting. And so not only do they make more money, they keep the relationship but talk about what happens to the MSP at the time of resale when they own those relationships are not resale but acquisition.

Eric Hernaez  2:22  

So, of course, everybody’s interested in their exit for their business and today MSP’s are being rolled up by larger MSP’s and other types of investors. And of course, the way you get value for your company is based primarily on your revenue. 

And so if you are simply an agent collecting, you know, commissions from another company that counts less towards your value, as compared to owning the customer and having a contract that says you’re going to collect a certain amount of monthly recurring, revenue month in and month out for X number of years.

Rich Tehrani  3:03  

So basically you get a higher multiple on that revenue. That’s white labeled as an agent as you might get on agent revenue.

Eric Hernaez  3:10  

Absolutely. In terms of valuations, the multiples for owning the customer and having that contract are much higher.

Rich Tehrani  3:16  

Yeah, I’ve seen some significant increases in those numbers. So tell me, you guys, I’ve had a chance to write about some of the news this week. You’ve been really a flurry of activity, I think three pieces of news, at least this week. You want to talk about that? 

Eric Hernaez  3:28  

Absolutely. Well, we try and use this event as a springboard to announce new things. And the first thing that we’re really excited about is our Appointment Reminder App. 

So a lot of our customer base sells to service type companies, doctors offices, personal health care, automotive services, things where the end customer has an appointment. And so what our new feature allows us to do is it allows our resellers to sell appointment reminder services as an adjunct or an add on to their business voice services. 

And our platform ties in nicely with all the CRM. So if you create an appointment and and you can get that CRM to push it to us we’ll automatically create the reminder. And the reminders can either be telephone calls or SMS messages or both. 

You know, it’s really up to the end user how they want to promote and configure it. So we’re really very happy. It’s actually been the number one requested feature related to SMS on our platform for the past couple years. So we’ve been working on it and we’re happy to announce it here.

Rich Tehrani  4:39  

So congratulations. I mean, there’s been a race to zero in voice at least that’s what some people complain about that it’s so competitive and people undercut each other’s prices and so you can actually give your MSP’s you arm them with the ability to add revenue as opposed to dropping and they can go in with a less expensive solution, but then quickly add on, add on, add on right? 

Eric Hernaez  5:00  

You’re absolutely right. It’s all about features. And because there are so many providers out there fighting for the same customers, you really have to do something to stand apart from your competitors. 

So of course price is one way you can you can differentiate yourself. But having features that a vanilla voice provider doesn’t have is another way. So whether you add that feature in and you’re able to maintain a higher price per customer, or you sell it as an add on feature to the customer, either way, you end up with, you know, more satisfied customers that are stickier and higher revenue.

Rich Tehrani  5:34  

Awesome. And then you also have a new group, a new Association. You want to talk about that?

Eric Hernaez  5:38  

Oh, yeah. So we are the charter sponsor for the Cloud Voice Alliance. And really, the CVA as we call it, is an organization that’s designed to help the smaller telecom resellers have a voice in the industry, because today there are organizations but they’re really geared more towards the larger nationwide providers. 

There’s really no one out there that helps the little guy who is emblematic of our customer base. So I like to explain it as an outsource marketing department for a smaller MSP. A lot of MSP’s are two, four people, organizations, and they just don’t have dedicated marketing people. 

So when they need to get that marketing material or the email blast or anything done, it’s something that’s not typically in their wheelhouse. So CVA is an organization that any telecom reseller can join, and they can take advantage of shared resources to get these types of marketing things done.

Rich Tehrani  6:33  

That’s great. What’s next for the company?

Eric Hernaez  6:35  

Well, it’s all about finding more ways for our customers to be successful in the market. So we’re expanding. We’re planning to expand into Canada and perhaps some other countries, but really, it’s about just delivering the tools to our customer base that let them differentiate themselves and be successful.

Rich Tehrani  6:54  

How do people find you? 

Eric Hernaez  6:57  

www, or just google “unified communications as a service”.

Rich Tehrani  7:03  

Fantastic. Thanks for being here.

Eric Hernaez  7:05  

Yeah. Thank you, Rich.