How To Pick a VOIP Provider: Checklist
The Telecommunications market is saturated with choices. There are providers for just about any functionality and any price point you can need, but how do you determine your best fit, in this sea of options? We're going to do your homework for you. By the end of this brief article you'll have the tools and knowledge you need to investigate your business communications and determine how to pick a VOIP provider that fits your needs.
There are five high level facets of any VOIP provider which should be essential: if you don't see one of them or your potential provider isn't transparent, move on.
- Experience and/or Expertise
- Service Expertise/troubleshooting expertise
These are in no particular order, and that is about it. If you're interested in learning more about each point, continue reading. If not, go forth and find a provider that ensures these traits. If you decide to consider our services, click the button below to get in touch.
Still here? Great, let's get into more detail about the points above.
1. Reliability: This is is multifaceted. How available are they? How can they best be reached? How is the quality of your experience with them? How reliable are their services? What is the up time on their communications? What happens during an outage? What is the voice quality like? Are all their services equal in quality? These are just some introductory questions to get your mind churning out ideas. A transparent provider will have no issue answering these questions easily and promptly. Many providers specialize on certain functionalities (cloud services, soft switches, etc.) and during an exploratory demo you can determine what your needs are and how they stack up against what the provider offers.
2.Scalability :"If my company grows, will you be able to grow with me?" VoIP is voice over internet. If you have a connection, and your company expands, you will be able to expand your communications quite easily. Need new functionaly? Providers are constantly innovating and looking for new services to offer their customers. Check in with them regularly to see what new gadgets they have implemented. You may find they have a new product that is perfect for your needs. Additionally, providers can work with you to create custom solutions to match your needs. It's all about dialogue and transparency. You should have a clear path to ensuring your needs are met.
3.Experience/Expertise: Experience doesn't always equate to expertise, and vice versa. A more simple explanation would be "they know what they're doing and are trustworthy." How do you know that they know what they're doing, if you don't understand the Telecommunications industry? Are they bonafide? Experience is a metric for skill and success, so often this is the safest and easiest way to ensure your potential provider is up to the job. What if they're relatively new? Look at their testimonials, current customers. Look at their blog, social media, and email outreach. How do they share their knowledge? Obviously they're not revealing trade secrets, but helping inform the customer before they become a customer is a clear sign that they know what they're doing. If they're interested in customers getting the best services, even if it's not from them, that's another clear sign of expertise. In sum, look at their thought leadership.
4.Service & Support : This is a nuanced difference from the previous point. Excellent client/customer services is essential to maintaining the continued success of your communications implementation. What happens if there is an outage? Do you know exactly who to call? Will you be on hold? Is there a support ticket system? Can you effectively record an issue and present it? Are you given the tools to enable simple solutions on your end? Now these last two might sound like the provider is skirting responsibility, but look at it this way: they will have diligently trained you to do minor troubleshooting for your services, and if there is still an issue, you are speaking common language with their support team.
a. A key component of any VOIP implementation is the installation. During the early stages of VOIP services, they were not offered at all. Now as we have moved a bit into the future and the industry has matured, installations and onsite services are standard. There is one issue that remains: cost. Onsite support and installations continue to require sizable investments. This can be a serious deterrent for potential customers, and for good reason. Simplicity VOIP has decided to be different and offer free onsite support. We have two mandatory site days for our customers, at no additional cost. The inspection, and then the installation. We also offer onsite training free of charge. We truly believe this differentiates us from the competition and enables our customers to have a hassle-free VOIP implementation.
5.Cost: We went into more detail with a previous blog here. Cost is often the critical point in deciding which provider to choose. If they are the cheapest, will the quality be poor? If they are expensive, am I overpaying? Is there full transparency in the quote, what are my options? Is there a customizable price that fits my budget? Often larger companies have set prices and ridged structures, but with good reason. These reasons are often not applicable to other more flexible providers. Cost also changes as technology advances. Anyone remember the Magic Jack? That sure was a long time ago.
To conclude, if you are considering new business communications and are thinking VOIP might be an option, these questions and discussions are a good place to start. If you are interested in discussion your needs with us, we are more than happy to help you define your use cases and look at the scope and scalability of our solutions for you.
Simplicity VoIP, based in Richmond, VA, provides hosted PBX, VoIP and business telephone solutions nationally to small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses for a comprehensive unified communications experience. Two distinct Class 5 geo-redundant VoIP platforms are offered in addition to fax-to-email, phones and equipment, and managed services. Named as Richmond’s 11th fastest growing company by Richmond BizSense, Simplicity VoIP’s key to success is its on-site service, installation and training supported 24/7/365 by a world-class client services team.