VoIP is one of the latest technologies creating a buzz…
VoIP Providers for Business
In the telecommunications industry – much like every other market – there is a clear demarcation between consumer VoIP and business VoIP. The number and type of features, the price points, contract terms and many other aspects will change depending on whether the service is being marketed to consumers or enterprises.
With consumer VoIP, the value proposition is pretty clear – pay less for calls when compared to traditional phone carriers. Generally speaking, there is not much call for value-added services or advanced features in the consumer VoIP space. However the story is very different when you look at business VoIP.
Business VoIP providers
It should come as no surprise that business VoIP is growing much faster than consumer trends as organizations depend on voice communication to a much larger extent.
The business VoIP sector is highly competitive and there are hundreds of vendors fighting for a share of the market. This is generally good news for enterprise customers – they get more choice and have more leverage when selecting a particular VoIP provider.
What do business VoIP providers offer?
Unlike individuals or households, businesses cannot tolerate extended outages or downtime. In many organizations, work comes to a standstill if the phones are not working. Even if the primary business purpose is not affected, some departments like sales, marketing, customer support or call centers can be easily crippled by just an hour of downtime. This is precisely why business VoIP providers offer some sort of service guarantee – whether it is defined in terms of uptime, downtime or unexpected outages – along with terms for compensation.
The requirements of business organizations can change dramatically over a couple of years or even a few months. Accordingly, businesses may need to scale their phone systems to handle growing volume – whether it is short-term growth due to seasonal variations or long-term forecasts. Quite often, downsizing phone systems is also a requirement, especially if the business is going through lean times or an economic recession.
Integration with enterprise software
As VoIP systems become more advanced, enterprises are interested in integrating the phone system with other applications such as CRM or ERP software. It allows organizations to integrate workflows, improve productivity, and make it easy for employees to move data between different solutions. For instance, call logs can be imported into reporting software for further analysis or CRM software can include a One Touch call button that taps into the VoIP system.
What should business VoIP providers offer?
Per second billing
Most vendors bill customers by the minute which is not unusual. So calls that last for forty-five seconds or three minutes twenty-three seconds are usually rounded up to the nearest minute. It means the company is actually billed for one minute and four minutes respectively. It might not seem like much of a loss but consider that it is just one call out of the thousands that a business may make on a given day. If an organization processes thousands of outbound calls per day, those costs quickly add up.
VoIP studio – a leading business VoIP provider – offers per second billing i.e. clients are billed exactly for the amount of time each call lasts. Over the weeks and months, these insignificant savings can easily accumulate to hundreds of dollars. Although this feature is not offered by many vendors, it should be an important consideration for business organizations before signing up.
Fully featured free demo/trial period
Most VoIP vendors offer some sort of demo or trial where a prospective client can check out the phone system, its ease of use and other aspects under real world circumstances. Even though they appear to be beneficial, these demos are often handicapped in significant ways. Some providers require a credit card on file before the demo can begin, perhaps hoping that the customer will forget to cancel before the free trial ends. Yet others provide a demo that does not include every feature present in the actual service. How then is a business supposed to evaluate the service/provider?
For this exact reason, VoIP studio offers a fully featured, thirty day trial period that does not require any credit card from the customer. The enterprise does not have to worry about being accidentally charged. During the trial the company can access every feature that is included in the service, nothing is locked or left out. The business can test the VoIP phone system in real conditions faced by the users every day.
One of the biggest advantages of VoIP is the use of virtual numbers. Companies can easily acquire local numbers in particular markets so that customers can contact them without incurring long-distance charges. Although this feature is generally included in most service plans, not all providers are able to assign numbers in areas around the world. Some vendors may not be able to provide numbers in all ZIP codes even within the same country.
This is a crucial feature for businesses – especially when even small and medium enterprises have to regularly deal with international customers, suppliers and partners. Once again, VoIPstudio excels in an area that is often ignored by other vendors. Clients are able to purchase virtual numbers in more than four thousand cities across the world.
As we can see, there are significant differences between the current offerings from various business VoIP providers and what they should be presenting to clients. Nevertheless some providers like VoIPstudio do offer them, which marks them as a reliable business VoIP provider.
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