Voice Over Internet Protocol IP (VoIP) technology may offer many advantages for small to mid-sized business. This technology manages calls and routes them to existing telephony system and equipment. Moreover, it can be an effective way to manage communication expenses.
When you go scouting for a VoIP vendor, you should compare providers for the versatility that the system offers. You should necessarily examine the service options, the technology being offered, the service plans, and scalability before you choose your service provider. This article looks at some of the parameters that you must evaluate.
Evaluate your telecommunication needs
“VoIP providers offer an amazing array of packages and services, at multiple price points. Before deciding on a small business VoIP provider, consider the features that you require, and estimate the volume of usage. A good place to start evaluating needs is the current telephony costs and usage. For example, whether the business needs to provide toll-free numbers for their customers, the volume of domestic and international calls, and video-conferencing needs.
Leave aside the standard features like voicemail, call forwarding, call waiting, and conferencing, there are many features that are available either free or at minimal costs. Small businesses often overlook these. Take a feature like voicemail to email transcription that automatically transcribes voicemail messages and sends them to pre-configured email addresses. So, if you are in a conference, you can still catch up on that voicemail and respond quietly without disturbing other participants.
If your executives are handling customer service calls, features like barge and whisper are great facilitators. You can listen in on a conversation without interrupting or you can whisper information to your executive without the client ever being aware of it. Similarly, if you have many field-workers, features like find-me and follow-me that offer call routing to other specified numbers if the user is not reachable on the primary phone number would be immensely useful.
The key here is doing your homework. If you just rush to have VoIP services set up for your company without checking what is being offered and what you could be missing, you’re likely to either end up with features you don’t really need or taking a whole hour to do something that could have been done in a minute. So take some time or have someone take some time to do some research, compare the various services available, and determine what would be best for your company.
Since VoIP telephony uses high-speed data connections, it is important to determine the current Internet connection speeds and the bandwidth available. For example, the more call volumes you have, the greater is the need for bandwidth. The better these parameters are, the better will be the likelihood of getting better utility from the VoIP services. Consider the current equipment available at your company and the technology they use. You can subscribe to a service that gives you really fast internet connection speeds, but if the equipment you’re using can’t handle such kind of speed, it would be a complete waste of time and money. A good starting place would be first looking at what you have, and then compare it to what you want and what the various VoIP services available are offering. That way, you should be able to come up with something reasonable. After all, a business wouldn’t like to be paying more for an excellent quality service but not be able to utilize those capacities fully.
Evaluate your service provider
Reading the fine print is as important as ever. You need to reach out to multiple service providers to inquire about service information. Check upfront about one-time costs like setup and installation and recurring costs like minimum monthly commitments. Ask about all features, international call charges, and cancellation fees. VoIP technology has really brought down the costs for international calls. Make sure your chosen service provider is passing on those benefits. Are there any special equipment requirements? If yes, is the service provider giving you the same? What’s the cost? Be very sure about the quality of service. While it is generally difficult to assess call quality upfront, there are multiple PC based software systems that help stimulate key VoIP processes and evaluate voice and data transmission quality. This step is essential as a lesser priced service may look exciting initially, but in the future, you may regret not paying that extra dollar for a better quality of service.