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How Do I Choose a VoIP Phone System?
Posted on: 2016-12-02 | Categories:VoIP Services
Selecting one option from a list of 10 alternatives is not that hard. But it becomes much harder when you have 30 or 40 options. It is true for individuals as well as organizations. Having too many options can be just as frustrating as having only the single alternative. We become overwhelmed when faced with too many choices and often end up selecting the wrong solution.
To many businesses, this is what choosing a VoIP phone system feels like. Even a simple web search will bring up hundreds of pages with lists of providers. In turn, each vendor will have a number of plans with various combinations of features and pricing. How do you know which one is right for your company?
You risk wasting a lot of time and money if you pick the wrong provider and then have to transition to another service. Instead of boosting productivity and efficiency within your business, you may end up losing clients or revenue because of a simple mistake. Since the biggest problem is too many choices, so here’s how you can narrow down the field first.
Get the Alternatives Down to a Manageable Number
Instead of trying to select one service from a list of hundreds, try looking at the problem from another perspective. Start eliminating providers who don’t meet certain basic criteria. Providers try to cater for different types of organizations and this means that not every VoIP phone solution will provide a service that you want.
Suppose your business makes a large number of international calls to a particular country every week. You can simply eliminate vendors who either don’t offer free calls to the country or the rates are too high. These services may have other features or extras. But if they don’t provide the most basic thing you need, why bother? Shortening your list saves you the time and hassle of going through marketing or promotional materials for a service you won’t use anyway.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one criterion. Make a short list of the absolute basic necessities that you really need to run your business. A sample list might look like this – area codes in a certain city, cheap calls to xyz country and IP faxing support. With just these 3 criteria, you can reduce your options from hundreds to maybe 10 or 12. Doesn’t this make your decision so much easier?
Get Initial Quotes from Vendors
Now you should have a list of 10 or 20 vendors that is substantially shorter than what you started out with. Some providers offer free quotes that are personalized to each client while others will give you general promotional and marketing materials. Along with the list of features and plans, don’t forget to get pricing for everything that they offer.
Prices can be a tricky thing to compare between vendors because the business model can vary what shows up on the sticker. Some services offer every single feature in all plans. The prices are set based on the number of seats or users. Other offer different plans with some features only included in premium plans. Some services offer unlimited calls while others charge on a per minute or per second basis. On the whole, however, VoIP phone systems are considerably cheaper than PSTN alternatives.
Compare What They Offer to What You Need
Armed with all this information, you can easily compare the list of features each VoIP phone system offers to what your business needs. At this step, once again you will be able to eliminate phone systems that do not offer features that you want. Sometimes these features are locked away with premium pricing that you cannot justify paying. Other systems may simply not have it.
At this point, you may want to rank the VoIP phone systems based on price. Suppose you end up with six vendors who meet your basic criteria as well as provide the features that you want in a new technology. Rank them according to the total bill you estimate to get on a monthly basis, not on individual prices since they are difficult to compare.
Get a Trial or Demo
Now working your way down from the top, sign up for a demo or trial period for each service. Who knows, you may get lucky and like the first phone system that you try! Trying out the service is absolutely essential since it allows you to stress test the system with your normal, day-to-day workflows. During this period you may find out that your existing Internet connection is not sufficient to handle additional traffic from VoIP or that you cannot configure certain features exactly the way you like.
By following the simple process, your business will be able to locate a vendor that is just right without having to deal with hundreds of choices at every turn.
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