Selecting the perfect VoIP phone supplier for your business can be a tedious task. You’ve likely come across a plethora of articles extolling the virtues of VoIP phone services and the advantages they offer. Even well-established companies that have embraced this technology for years continue to discover new benefits. This realization has led you to make the decision to upgrade. However, you’re now faced with a crucial question: which business VoIP phone service is the ideal fit for your needs?
A cursory Google search reveals thousands of service providers, making it all too easy to become overwhelmed as you attempt to sift through pricing and features. Before you venture on the voyage of picking a vendor, it’s imperative to take the following preliminary steps.
Know the Vital Factors to Consider to Choose a VoIP Phone Supplier
Undoubtedly, the paramount consideration when evaluating any business-grade VoIP service is call quality. Accept nothing less than top-tier audio quality from your chosen VoIP service. Gone are the days of choppy, incoherent conversations where words were missed or calls dropped abruptly.
Today’s leading VoIP phone suppliers have revolutionized the industry, delivering HD-quality audio that matches, and often surpasses, the clarity of traditional landline calls. In fact, the distinction between VoIP and analog calls has become imperceptible for most users.
It’s crucial to ensure that each and every call, both incoming and outgoing, consistently offers crystal-clear fidelity. A single high-quality call out of ten is insufficient; a flawless audio experience should be the norm, not the exception.
2. Overall Expense
When assessing the cost of a VoIP service, it’s essential to consider more than just the initially advertised or sticker price. Oftentimes, the advertised rate fails to encompass add-on features, one-time charges, and assorted miscellaneous fees.
To prevent any financial surprises down the road, it’s prudent to request a comprehensive breakdown of all associated costs and secure written confirmation from the vendor. Your monthly invoices should consistently align with these agreed-upon terms.
In addition to the monthly vendor fees, it’s crucial to account for other expenses that come into play during the transition to VoIP. Budgeting for these supplementary costs is essential. Preparing your network for VoIP, depending on your specific circumstances, can entail significant expenditures.
3. Plans, Features, and Third-Party Support
Many service providers offer a wide array of plans, but what truly matters is finding the right plan for your specific needs rather than being overwhelmed by numerous options. In fact, a VoIP phone supplier with a more concise selection of plans can simplify your decision-making process. No longer do you need to decipher the differences between Plans A, D, C, and so forth, up to Z.
It’s imperative to ascertain whether the desired features are included in the plan costs or if they necessitate additional fees. Some features may involve one-time charges, while others may incur recurring costs. Scrutinizing the fine print is crucial to gaining a thorough knowledge of what you’re spending for and ensuring you receive what you’ve agreed upon.
Additionally, it’s advisable to inquire with the vendor about their support for third-party enterprise systems, such as CRM and ERP. A reputable VoIP phone supplier should seamlessly integrate with your existing tools. You should also inquire about support for mobile devices, softphone applications, and third-party SIP hardware. Even if you don’t require advanced features at present, they should be readily available for future use.
In general, VoIP phone services for small businesses have remarkably enhanced in cases of trustworthiness. However, it remains imperative to address specific concerns with each vendor. Inquire about their emergency and disaster management protocols. What procedures are in place should your phone line encounter a disruption?
At the very least, your setup should allow for automated call routing to a landline or mobile number. This flexibility ensures that your employees can seamlessly continue their work from an alternative location. It’s crucial to ascertain how swiftly you can relocate and resume operations in the event of a natural or man-made emergency. Furthermore, it’s essential to engage the vendor in a discussion regarding their data centers and infrastructure.
Despite daily headlines featuring security incidents, organizations often disregard the importance of security until it’s too late. Just as with any modern technology, VoIP services are not immune to specific vulnerabilities. Much like email security relies on spam filters, VoIP requires tailored security tools.
Security in the VoIP ecosystem is a shared responsibility. On one hand, the vendor plays a pivotal part. A reputable business-grade VoIP phone service should incorporate encryption as a fundamental security measure to shield your data from potential breaches. It’s imperative to engage in a dialogue with your vendor to ascertain the security measures they have in place for their infrastructure.
On the other hand, security also hinges on your organization and its employees. While the vendor can implement various safeguards for your phone system, there are limits to what they can control. For instance, if employees carelessly jot down their passwords on easily accessible Post-it notes, it creates a vulnerability in the system. Cultivating a security-conscious culture within your organization is crucial to mitigate these risks.
6. Technical and Customer Support
Customer support tends to be a low priority until an issue arises. It’s during those moments when you realize the value of having a responsive vendor. Your VoIP phone supplier should offer multiple channels of contact, including email, chat, messaging, their website, and phone support.
When you encounter service-related problems, your support staff should possess the expertise to promptly address and resolve the issue. In cases where the service experiences downtime, they should be capable of providing you with an estimated time for restoration.
7. Track Record and Expertise
A reliable rule of thumb is that the prolonged a VoIP phone supplier has been in business, the more likely they are to offer high-quality services. While there can be exceptions, providers with a longstanding presence tend to deliver consistent service. It raises questions about whether you can trust a startup not to unexpectedly cease operations.
Additionally, you should evaluate the vendor’s expertise within your specific industry. Some sectors, such as healthcare, education, and finance, are subject to stringent regulations and adherence prerequisites. Numerous vendors specialize in catering to the exceptional necessities of companies in these industries. They may provide tailored features that align better with your requirements compared to more generalized services.
8. Unified Communication
The shift toward unified communication (UC) is undeniable, with most organizations embracing this trend. UC entails the consolidation of all communication channels into a single platform. This might include a software suite that manages instant messaging, texting, phone calls, conferencing, and more.While UC may seem like overkill for your business at the moment, it’s crucial to consider the future. Your company could increase to a point where UC features become a necessity. Would you want the hassle of changing a VoIP phone supplier at that stage? If your current vendor already offers unified communication, it provides you with peace of mind regarding future needs.