How to pick a good VoIP provider

Posted on: 2018-09-21 | Categories: Business VoIP VoIP VoIP Technology

The VoIP industry is a high growth one at present and you only need to look at the number of competitors in the market to see the signs. The sheer number of providers is enough to overwhelm anyone shopping for new phone service. With so many choices, how can you select a good VoIP provider that suits your needs.

Take Your Time
Do not rush into any decisions regarding your new phone service. Even individual consumers should consider all the options before selecting a provider. Businesses have a long list of requirements and concerns, which means you have to do your research in advance. Take your time to compile a list of the features you need, the ones you want, the price you’re willing to pay for them, and the choice of providers in your area before committing to a single vendor.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the entire process, here are a few factors to keep in mind when selecting VoIP vendors.

Price
Prices often the first thing anyone looks at when considering the new product or service. While the price you pay should be commensurate with the value of the phone service, quite a few people fall into the trap of bargain-hunting. Don’t just go for the cheapest price that you see advertised on a vendor’s website. That bargain might turn out to be more expensive in the long-term when you have to pay extra for the features you need for your business. Pricing terms can become quite complicated in the VoIP industry. VoIP pricing can be deliberately complicated so make sure to ask each vendor what features and hardware is included in the price they quote. One provider may not include visual voicemail in the final price (that costs extra!) while another one does. At VoIPstudio, we make sure that all our features are included in all our packages.It simplifies the process and ensures that our customers always get the service they need.

Quality of Service
The next thing you should look at is the quality of service. Does the provider offer HD voice or other enhanced features? Is it something you would be interested in having for your users? Do they offer an SLA that guarantees a specific level of service? Audio quality is not the only factor either. You should also ask about latency, dropped calls, reliability etc. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of it depends on the quality of your own Internet connection. Make sure to upgrade your infrastructure to handle the additional voice traffic before switching to VoIP.

Customer and Tech Support
Not many businesses inquire about the available support options before diving in. You will realize its importance when something goes wrong and something surely will, sooner or later. Can you rely on a provider that only offers tech support over the phone? How will you contact them if your phones stop working? Be sure to ask about the availability of customer support, the number of channels they have for clients, response times for reported problems etc. Reviews are a good way to find out if a company’s customer support is up to par. You can even get in touch with other clients of the provider and ask their opinion of the service. Focus on reviews which praise or criticize customer support specifically. Although there is a likelihood of tainted or biased reviews, you can get a fair opinion provided there are more than a handful of reviews.

Specific Features
Not every business looks for the same features in a phone system. What is essential to you may be a luxury for someone else. If there are any specific VoIP features that you absolutely require, make a list of providers that offer them. In fact, you may want to make a list of such features in advance so you don’t waste your time with vendors who don’t have those capabilities.

Another factor to consider is whether those features are included in the plans you’re interested in or if they require extra payment. Such add-ons can quickly add up to a significant total on your monthly bills. Nevertheless, most VoIP service plans will be less expensive than the equivalent landline prices.

Emergency Calls
In the early days of VoIP, it was impossible for users to place 911 calls. That’s because VoIP numbers are not associated with a geographical location like landlines. This makes it difficult for operators to dispatch emergency personnel to the caller’s location. But thanks to improvements in technology and legislative changes, vendors in most countries are now required to offer emergency calling services to clients. It’s called E911 and enables VoIP users to call emergency services. Remember that each user needs to provide and update their address to use this feature.

Replacing the phone system is a huge decision for most organizations. However, these are not the only factors you should consider when selecting VoIP vendors. Know your needs and budget before selecting a provider that offers the best value for your business.