How to Choose the Best VoIP ProviderPosted on: 2016-04-25 | Categories: VoIP VoIP Providers VoIP Technology
Choosing the best VoIP provider for your business can be an agonizing decision, not least because of the number of options available in the market. While there are some industries dominated by a handful of players, the enterprise hosted VoIP market is the exact opposite where there are hundreds!
VoIP vendors appear to come in all shapes and sizes – large, small, all in one systems, purpose built or industry specific software and everything in between. Some cater to larger companies while others focus on certain industry segments, yet others serving primarily small businesses and startups. So which one is right for you and how do you find out?
Before we dig into how to make this decision, it is important to remember that it is always possible to switch if you don’t like your provider. There are no contracts or long term commitments to break, although some vendors do offer discounts if you pay annually instead of monthly. So you can always opt for a monthly billing cycle, try it out for 6 months or so and then make your choice.
But then again, it’s easier if you make the right choice the first time round isn’t it? It saves you the hassle of moving over all your phones to another service, set up new accounting cycles and so on. It also disrupts your employees, workflows and business processes which is definitely not fun.
Selecting the best VoIP service
Even in a young industry – or may be especially in one – experience matters. Many businesses looking to adopt hosted VoIP do so because they lack the knowledge, experience and expertise to anything VoIP related. So while that hot new startup or company may offer the most innovative or brand new feature, it means nothing if they cannot implement it properly or deliver them to you effectively. Vendors like VoIPstudio have a long history in the this space and can help clients get the best VoIP experience possible.
Expertise & tech support
VoIP expertise and tech support are an important aspect that will impact your final decision. Since you are relying on the provider for maintenance, upgrades, software updates and delivering new services, they should know their systems inside out (since you don’t!). The provider should also have extensive resources available – VoIPstudio offers manuals, guides, FAQs and blog posts – for your users to learn about the new system.
Customer support is often overlooked but it becomes important when something breaks or stops working. Does your provider make it easy for you to contact them if the phones stop working? Do they provide multiple channels – email, Twitter, phone number etc. – so that you can reach them on at least one of them? Sometimes outages will take time to be fixed but how the vendor communicates with you during that time is crucial.
Voice communication is extremely important organizations, even a few hours without it can lead to significant loss of revenue. Nevertheless it is inevitable that problems will arise sooner or later, so the percentage of reliable uptime will factor into your decision. Many vendors will offer SLAs detailing uptime guarantees, consequences, compensation and other terms.
A vendor that promises to get your service back up and running quickly is much better than a provider who claims their service will never go down! VoIP studio offers reliable VoIP services for thousands of businesses around the world but not all providers offer the same level of service.
Price & service portfolio
No enterprise decision is ever made without considering the price, budget and other financial considerations. Just remember that the highest price doesn’t always guarantee quality, neither does low cost necessarily mean bare-bones service. Quite often it is difficult to compare prices for different providers as certain features may not be included in some plans and others may be personalized with value adds and premium services.
Price is also directly related to the services that the provider offers but not everybody needs all the bells and whistles. A vendor may try to sell you their premium plans but they may not have the exact features you need and are willing to pay for! So it is important to balance price, portfolio and quality to make sure you’re getting what you need and what you’re paying for. This is why VoIPstudio doesn’t offer dozens of plans with different feature sets. All 3 tiers include every required feature and clients can opt for pay as you go or unlimited minutes as per their requirements.
Finding a provider that checks all of these boxes may take some time but it will be worthwhile to get the best VoIP experience on your first attempt. As long as your current system is functioning well, it is better to research your options than rushing into a contract in a bid to get started with VoIP.