10 Essential Questions to Ask Before Buying VoIP Services
Since its invention, Voice over IP (VoIP) technology has been an effective tool for businesses to gain a competitive edge and retain a strong market position. Even retail voice services offered by VoIP providers bring many benefits for small businesses and individual users looking to use advanced calling features with global coverage.
The VoIP industry seems to be moving faster than ever in revenue, market share, and usage of A-Z retail voice and wholesale termination services. Besides its ability to maximize your return on investment and communication efforts, VoIP’s continuous growth can be credited to the telecommunication trends gearing toward 5G adoption, Unified Communications, and increased AI usage.
The surveys reveal that new businesses can achieve up to 90% reductions in startup costs. The studies also reveal that VoIP can lower the cost of local and long-distance calls by 40% and video conferencing by 30%. However, you must ensure that you’re making an informed decision when you buy retail voice or wholesale voice termination services.
Here are some essential questions you must ask before buying VoIP services to make the right choice to harness the full potential of VoIP technology.
10 Essential Questions You Must Ask Before Buying VoIP Services
Which Type Do You Prefer – Onsite or Hosted VoIP?
The first question you must answer is whether you'd want your phone system to be hosted online or if you want to install VoIP phones at your office. The choice often depends on your preference and which setup best suits your business needs. When you go for an onsite VoIP, you’ll require a dedicated area to house the hardware, but you’ll also retain more control over reliability, service and quality issues.
You don’t need to purchase and maintain equipment with cloud-based, hosted VoIP arrangements. Here you’re likely to go through training on software-based VoIP administration and call management before your system goes live.
Can the VoIP Provider Customize Services for Your Needs?
Each business is unique, and its requirements would also be different. For this reason, it's wise to look for a VoIP provider who can customize services by combining essential features with some advanced value-added features to satisfy your business needs. For example, suppose you’re an individual wanting to work while on the go from a foreign location. In that case, the provider should be able to curate an economic plan with a blend of premium routes for A-Z retail voice services.
Does the VoIP provider Offer a Unified Communications Platform?
A VoIP provider can be a one-stop-shop for all your communication needs if they have implemented a Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) platform. Unified communications integrate various media channels within one app, like chat functionality, emails, conference calls, video calls, and voicemails.
This approach enhances team collaboration as the integration makes it convenient to organize and share text messages, documents, voice clips, and transcriptions. Besides, integrating third-party collaboration apps enables rich capabilities like smart meeting spaces and shared tasks.
Does Your VoIP Provider Offer Third-party Integrations?
Third-party integration is one of the key aspects of building a high-end VoIP system. When you buy retail voice or wholesale services from certain vendors, they offer a healthy dose of pre-built integrations, including Dropbox, Desk.com, etc. Businesses can build custom workflows using these extensions to work more efficiently.
For example, when a service rep takes the call, they fill out a trouble ticket stored in Dropbox as a document file linked to the ticket number registered in the Desk.com database. Similarly, CRM software can help track KPIs and performance metrics so businesses can identify and work on areas of improvement.
Which Countries Does Your Provider Cover for Long-distance Calls?
Long-distance calls may cost you a fortune if your VoIP provider doesn’t have partnerships and exclusive arrangements with tier-1 carriers. A secure wholesale ring with network monitoring and a softswitch with an anti-fraud mechanism is a must for ensuring high-quality international calls. If your business is operating only in certain countries, then the VoIP provider should be able to offer affordable fixed-rate plans. On the other hand, if you require global coverage, you must go for a provider that offers pay-as-you-go plans with competitive rates for A-Z international calls.
Is the Call Management Interface Insightful and User-friendly?
The VoIP system’s interface will be your dashboard for all business communications. The call management interface must be handy when you alter configurations, customize call flows, and set working hours or voicemail. Apart from these, the VoIP system can be insightful while running a marketing or ad campaign, as it can help you track KPIs and sales metrics. Besides, a user-friendly VoIP dashboard can better the agent experience with AI-powered real-time notes, like next-best-step and contextual recommendations based on the history of interactions and sentiment analysis using machine learning.
How Long Will Be Your Contract with the Provider?
VoIP costs have been dropping relatively quickly over recent times. You would want to ask your potential provider the minimum length of their contract or tie-in. Your business committing to any plan over 12 months would mean you may miss taking advantage of savings and technical enhancements going forward.
What Is Provider’s Attitude toward Network Security?
It would help if you did not skimp on security because any cloud-based application connected to the internet needs careful attention. Since the VoIP system serves as a hub of your communications, comprehensive security measures are even more crucial. Do your due diligence on providers to know where the responsibility lies in case of fraudulent activities, like data breaches or overbilling. In the case of on-premise VoIP systems, the networking hardware is VoIP-aware, and business-grade security features like VLAN-based VoIP traffic segregation are available.
How Much Will It Cost?
It wouldn’t be wise to choose VoIP services with all bells and whistles if it’s out of your budget. Some VoIP providers have a fantastic selection of features in their enterprise tier plan for $30 per user per month and basic tier plan with a more palatable price of $20 per user per month. In contrast, the premium tier may offer extensions that you may require at higher prices.
An entry-level service is a great option for businesses operating everything from their laptops or tablets. However, companies that handle high volumes of incoming and outgoing calls must map out what features they will need. Once you know what your bare minimum voice platform needs for support, it’s just comparison shopping from there.
Do Their Customer Support Match Your Business Standards?
The customer support you receive is crucial to ensuring your VoIP functions well. Some providers offer 24/7 support to customers with plans for two or more users. If you run a global business with round-the-clock needs, you must opt for a service provider that guarantees that your queries will be answered almost immediately.
Choose the Right Provider to Retain the Full Potential of VoIP Technology
VoIP brings tangible benefits to businesses of all sizes. It provides small businesses with a cost-effective alternative to traditional phones while optimizing how large corporations handle business communication. VoIP providers are gearing up to adopt disruptive technologies like AI, automation, WebRTC, and Unified Communications. It leads to more intelligent A-Z retail voice services and highly secure, anti-fraud wholesale VoIP networks. Having to choose from highly varied combinations of features and services, it becomes important for you to choose the right provider that aligns with your business goals.
BridgeVoice Pluto offers an automated carrier platform allowing VoIP service providers to generate new revenue opportunities by offering their customers high-end, feature-rich, and customizable VoIP services.