Choosing a Good VoIP Provider

The VoIP business is booming currently, and for proof of that, you don’t need to look any further than to check on the number of providers competing to offer service to businesses. While it’s great to have a number of options when you’re looking for a provider, it can also be a little bit daunting trying to choose from among them. Don’t be rushed into a decision by any one provider that you’re negotiating with, because it’s always best to take your time and consider the possibilities.

Almost all businesses have a long list of requirements that they need from their phone service, so by doing some solid research at the outset, you should end up with a provider who suits your needs. To help with the decision-making process, the following factors should be considered, when you’re trying to narrow down the field to create a short list of potential providers.

Tech Support and Customer Support

Before making your final choice, you should always consider the support options available to you from any given provider. If you’ve ever had something go wrong at your business with a service that you’re paying for, you’ll understand just how important it is to have support when you need it. Make sure that you can easily get in touch with your provider for the support you need, and you should also be sure of how they provide support.

For instance, is support only available via telephone calls? It’s also good to know how many channels of customer support they provide, what their average response time is, and what their available hours for support are. You can find out a lot about a provider’s tech support and customer support by reading online reviews about the provider. You can also contact other businesses who may be working with the same provider, and inquire about their level of satisfaction.

Service Quality

One very important thing you need to know about any candidate provider is the types of features they offer in their VoIP service package. You’ll want to know about any enhanced features they offer, and whether these are all packaged features, or whether they are available à la carte.

Try to find out what level of service they can provide in terms of a Service Level Agreement. Do some research into the quality of their audio, the number of dropped calls you can expect, the reliability of their service, and the latency of their system. Your own internal infrastructure may also have to be upgraded in order to manage the increased voice traffic which is sure to come with VoIP.

Pricing

This is usually the first thing that any business will look at when evaluating a VoIP provider, although it should by no means be the only factor. While there’s a lot to be said for staying on budget, bargain-hunting is not the best way to proceed when looking for a high-quality VoIP service provider. By choosing the cheapest service on the market, you could be opening up your business to some major headaches later on, and you could end up paying a lot more for extra features your business really needs.

The main thing to remember about pricing is to be certain of which features and what hardware is included in any quote you are given by a service provider. Remember that all VoIP packages are likely to be different across providers, so you have to be very sure of any features you’re getting for the amount you’re paying.

Emergency Calls

When VoIP service was originally offered, it was not possible for businesses to place 911 calls, because VoIP phone numbers have no geographical association such as land lines too. However, this limitation has been overcome by technology enhancements and changes in legislation.

In most countries now, vendors are required to provide emergency calling service for all clients. You should verify with your potential VoIP provider that they do offer E911 service, because chances are at some point in time, you’ll need to make an emergency call.

Special Features

All businesses are looking for different features from their VoIP phone system, and what is a necessity for one business may be considered a nice luxury to have for another. Before you begin considering VoIP providers, you should have a list of all the features and services your business requires. From this point forward, it should be easy to compile a list of providers which do offer the specific services and features you need.

This will save you a lot of time, because there’s really no point in negotiating with providers who don’t have the kinds of services you want from your VoIP system. Another consideration in the same area is whether or not the features your business really requires are included in a package that you’re interested in, or whether you have to pay extra to get them.

If you do have to pay individually for essential services, your monthly fee can quickly rise to a higher level than you anticipated. The good thing is that even in situations like this, your monthly VoIP subscription service will still probably cost less than your old land line service did.

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