7 Effective Ways to Ensure You Choose the Right VoIP Provider
An on-site legacy phone system is a thing of the past. The world has moved on, and how!
An upward trend towards cloud-based unified communications is progressively influencing businesses to ditch traditional PBX and switch to VoIP phone systems. Because when it comes to modern-day organizations’ needs for seamless internal and external communication, outdated phone systems don’t suffice. Archaic features, siloed applications, limited mobility capabilities, and many such shortcomings become obstacles for teams and their productivity.
In contrast, switching to VoIP telephony is a popular solution among businesses, whether SMEs or enterprises, thanks to its numerous upsides like endless features, hassle-free management, cost-effectiveness, etc.
The Big Question is, How do you Choose a VoIP Service Provider?
So, is it the right time for your company to upgrade to a robust VoIP service?
If yes, and if you run a quick Google search (which you might have already done), you will find some excellent VoIP systems in the market. With so many options, the versatility of service levels, features, and prices can overwhelm business users.
While you might be enticed to select the first VoIP service provider you come across in your budget, there are enormous odds against its success. So how to strike a balance of features and pricing?
To help you solve this riddle, here are some factors you can consider while selecting a best-fit VoIP and DID service provider for your business.
What Factors Could Help You while Choosing a VoIP Provider?
To find a VoIP service provider, focus on knowing precisely what VoIP features will help you streamline your enterprise’s operations.
For instance, a business with the most distributed teams wants a platform that seamlessly combines voice, video, messaging, voicemail, etc. Or, if you are in the healthcare space, you will also need HIPAA compliance in your VoIP solution.
An in-depth analysis will ensure that you have the list of “must have,” “nice to have,” and “no need to have” features. Once you have determined the list of features, you will have a solid framework to juxtapose various virtual phone number service providers.
Almost all VoIP systems seem to have an extended list of features that can work independently or as a combination to address specific needs. Opt for the one that aligns with your unique business requirements.
Most VoIP and DID number providers offer
- Basic Plans have standard features suited for most customer profiles in general.
- Advanced Packages have advanced tools to offer features, such as call analytics, unified communication integrations, auto attendant, etc. Some service providers will charge additional fees for such features, while others will not.
- Advance Customized Packages offer advanced features a-la-carte.
When you condense the list of providers that may be a good fit for you, get detailed information from head-to-head comparative articles and the respective VoIP service sales executives.
While the affordability of the VoIP phone system draws most businesses towards it, the price remains an important consideration because not all VoIP services are created the same. Thus, having a budget in mind might help you get the best business deal.
For cloud-based VoIP systems, businesses can expect to spend around $20 to $30 per user per month and the equipment cost. If you wish to run your VoIP system at your place of business, be ready to pay a substantial initial set-up cost of around $ 10,000.
It makes sense to factor in everything that might add up to the final cost as you compare the prices of various direct inward dialing and inbound services. It includes:
- Installation charges
- Add-on features
- VoIP hardware
- Contract commitments
- Training, onboarding, and support
- Toll-free minutes
Yet, we recommend you read the best prints in the package details to avoid any unpleasant surprises because of the hidden charges.
Lastly, going for a free VoIP provider might sound like a plan if you are on a saving spree. Be ready to experience some of its downsides, like limited plans, lean users per month, no customer support, security vulnerabilities, and other issues.
Although the overall VoIP services are secure today, you must be aware of various security concerns such as denial of service, war dialing, call interception, spam, phishing, malware, and toll fraud. A reliable VoIP service provider will always follow high-level security measures to safeguard your data from potential interception or breach. Ensure that the vendor has taken the necessary security measures to comply with industry-specific security protocols.
Thus, in-depth knowledge of the security protocols followed by prospective vendors can help you select a suitable candidate from the pool of VoIP service providers.
4. Quality of Service (QoS)
Another crucial deciding factor is QoS, the overall performance of a VoIP network. Leading service providers guarantee high-quality calls by evaluating network traffic, designing sufficient bandwidth, and prioritizing your organization’s traffic.
The law of thumb is that the higher the vendor’s share in the network infrastructure, the higher its control over the technology and the better its QoS. You can even ask the prospective provider for quality assurance by running a few tests on your network.
5. Service Level Agreements (SLA)
Since most VoIP providers rely on network availability to administer their services, any network outages can potentially mean data loss. Thus, it always helps to look closely at how the service provider handles latency.
Does the vendor offer an uptime guarantee? Is there any well-documented disruption prevention strategy in place? If an outage is inevitable, how will they help you get back online?
One way to ensure that the service provider protects your interests is to negotiate the SLA, which can serve as a contract between both parties, and ensure QoS, uptime, and bandwidth guarantees are met after the implementation.
6. Customer Support
Until you run into issues with your VoIP phone system, you might not be interested in talking to customer support service. But that should not deter you from scrutinizing prospective VoIP service providers’ support quality beforehand.
It’s wise to ensure that the technical representative can be reached through different channels such as e-mail, call, social media, live chat, etc., whenever you need them. You might also want to check reviews on how fast they can resolve your problem, how slow they take to react to your inquiries, and what their standard and out-of-hours support options are, if any.
The best providers will never skimp on round-the-clock accessibility and quality support.
7. VoIP Business Experience
How long the VoIP service provider has been in the market will reveal a lot about their experience in dealing with VoIP systems. Well-established players will have quality infrastructure and teams of seasoned experts who have seen it all. Thus, choose a vendor with a long-standing history of experience and a proven track record.
Other than this, experienced service providers will have a substantial customer base you can turn to for reviews.
Look Beneath the Surface to Get the Most Out of Your VoIP Service Provider
We cannot stress enough about the significance of having a reliable and robust VoIP system to boost productivity and expand communication capabilities in your organization. Don’t hold back and ask away till all your questions are answered. Because eventually, it all boils down to knowing what questions to ask.
Now that you’ve started evaluating various VoIP service providers, we invite you to look at BridgeVoice’s VoIP and DID services for your business today!