What Makes an Excellent VoIP Provider?Posted on: 2017-02-10 | Categories: VoIP Services
When VoIP first made an appearance, it was just a shiny new toy for a few people to play with. Then slowly consumers caught on to the fact that calls could get very cheap or even free with VoIP technology. Even then VoIP mostly appealed to tech savvy people who would set it up for their friends and family members. Later on, businesses also embraced VoIP phone services as an excellent upgrade from traditional landlines.
In these last few years, VoIP systems have quickly replaced older technology in practically every sphere. However, selecting a provider continues to be an issue for organizations. In spite of rapid growth – or perhaps because of it – vendors within the VoIP industry have not had a lot of time to establish themselves. There is fierce competition in various segments with new players launching services every few weeks. Some are average, others can be pretty bad. There are also some truly outstanding providers who offer the best experience to their clients.
But what makes an excellent VoIP provider in the first place? You will find plenty of reviews, lists and articles on the ‘Top 10 vendors’ online but rarely do they go in depth into each service. It’s not easy to distinguish between different providers when all you have is some arbitrary 5 star rating system. So before you dive into the world of VoIP, here are a few tips on recognizing an excellent vendor!
Experience and Track Record
VoIP is a young industry, but there are already a few players who have impressive track records in the field. Experience and expertise distinguish the merely average providers from the best ones. These vendors have been in the business of VoIP for years and know how to handle problems. They never claim to have zero issues because they know that sooner or later something will happen. What they will promise and deliver is that they will act fast to fix bugs or troubleshoot your service when things don’t go smoothly.
How long they’ve been in the industry is a good indicator of excellence since they wouldn’t still be around otherwise. You should also be able to get testimonials from past or current customers regarding their level of service, responsiveness during a breakdown etc. Startups may appear to be a great option but you don’t really know how they will handle any issues with the services. Unless a new company is offering some indispensable feature that your business absolutely needs, it’s better to go with an established vendor.
It goes without saying that the best VoIP vendors are the ones that provide outstanding customer service. Part of that service is communicating with their clients. Your business relies on the phone system to get work done. But what happens when the phones go down? A good vendor might respond when you contact them but an outstanding provider will be proactive. They will give you multiple ways to contact them, not just a phone number or website chat box. More often than not, they will call you when there’s a problem and let you know how they’re solving it.
Why would you need different channels in the first place? If your phones are having issues, you may not be able to call them. If your Internet goes down, then you’re left with no phones and no website access. So being able to contact your vendor over different channels as the circumstances demand is always a good idea. Some providers even have different levels of customer support based on the type of plan you pay for. So you might not even get to speak with a person on your particular plan! This is never a good indicator for a VoIP provider.
The best VoIP phone service for your company is not the one which has the most bells and whistles or the one which comes with an astronomical price tag. Rather it is the provider who offers a versatile mix of features and tools which can serve your changing requirements. The best vendors will offer different plans with appropriate pricing to suit the needs of their clients. They will also not overwhelm you with hundreds of different options. Many organizations end up choosing a plan at random because they are too many similar looking options available.
VoIP technology is all about flexibility but some of the advantages depend on proper implementation as well. A first class service will deploy features according to common standards and avoid proprietary formats or equipment. They won’t lock you in with contracts or hold your data hostage if you want to change vendors. In the end, it’s all about flexibility to adapt when client requirements change over time.
You can quickly compare feature lists or pricing across different vendors but that doesn’t tell you the whole story. So look out for these indicators and select the best VoIP provider for your business.