5 Tips on How to Choose the Right VoIP Service
Choosing the best VoIP service for your business isn’t always easy, since there’s a wide variety of different options available on the market today. Thankfully, this does mean there’s a lot of different features and helpful tools available through VoIP that you can shop around for. It may be challenging to the make the decision, but knowing what you want in a VoIP system is half the battle and can certainly help you get started.
Keep reading for more suggestions on how you can choose the right VoIP service for you. In this article, we’ll provide helpful tips and give you ideas for how you can start and finish your search for the best VoIP plan. Elsewhere on our website, we have a variety of articles on VoIP providers, plans, ideas for implementation and other helpful steps you can take in this process.
First, we’ll talk a little bit about VoIP and the difference it can make for businesses. Once you know what’s possible, it’s much easier to know what is best for your organization’s needs. From there, you can customize a VoIP plan to fit your industry, business model, goals and more.
- VoIP and Your Business
- Tip#1: Researching VoIP Plans
- Tip#2: Comparing Options
- Tip#3: Finding Features
- Tip#4: Evaluating Service and Support
- Tip#5: Building a Unified Communications System
Since there are so many different distinct options, starting here and moving on through the many possibilities can help bring some clarity to the process and allow you to begin your implementation.
1. VoIP and Your Business
Businesses all over are discovering the possibilities found in VoIP service. Originally available as a commercial service beginning in the 1990s, VoIP has become much more efficient and effective. The quality has improved dramatically and this is allowing more businesses to come on board with VoIP and begin using it. Voice sound quality is now very similar to, if not just as good, as the audio offered by traditional telephone calls. Landline technology is no longer the only act in town.
What does this mean for your business or organization? It means advanced phone features, additional functionality, and improved technology is now within reach for more people. VoIP can provide you with more while costing much less than what you would typically expect. You can save so much more money and reduce your use of organizational resources in the process.
These are just a few of the benefits:
- Remote-Work Friendly
- Auto Attendant
- Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR)
- Remote Voicemail
- Voicemail Transcription
- Conference Call Capabilities
- Call Analytics
- Call Recording
- Call Monitoring
- Call Management
- Unified Communications
- Call Centers
- Contact Centers
- Multiple Lines
- Choose Your Area Code
The above list of features and other options can really advance your business. It’s essential to ask your vendor (or any vendors you’re considering) what they offer and get an idea of how they can help your business create the ideal phone system.
Tip#1: Researching VoIP Plans
We highly recommend you start your research process with a solid plan of your own. To start, you’ll need to learn as much as you can about how VoiP works and what it offers. Spend some time reading about the history, process, technical steps, systems, equipment and software used in VoIP service. Our website is a great resource, as are the vendors themselves. Searching around online can answer a lot of basic questions people have about phone service. You might want to encourage everyone on your team to do a bit of reading about VoIP so they’re in a position to contribute useful suggestions during the shopping and implementation phases.
Tip#2: Comparing Options
As you learn about different opportunities and options, get ready to compare them by writing down any questions you have along the way. If something surprises, interests or intrigues you, record it for later so you have information you can easily reference at a later date.
When comparing vendors, it’s easiest to compare information when you are asking everyone the same questions and gathering the same types of data consistently. Make a list of questions to ask each vendor and then write down notes about their responses. Compare each vendor on your list and rank them based on their responses to your questions. If you are doing any demos of the services you plan to compare, make a note of how these demos go as well.
Tip#3: Finding Features
If you are searching for particular features, that may restrict the number of viable vendors you can consider, since not every vendor will necessarily offer every feature you’re looking for. This is a great way to narrow your list of VoIP vendors if you’re struggling to choose a plan.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What do I want to accomplish with VoIP?
- How do the features offered by my vendor work? Do I need to subscribe to a specific plan to access these?
- Can I easily scale access to these features?
Tip#4: Evaluating Service and Support
Another important area to evaluate vendors and plans in is service and support. You want to find a vendor who will be responsive when you have a problem and is willing and able to help. Different vendors, plans, and payment levels often offer different levels of service, which is something to keep in mind. Even if a type of equipment is supported by the software and the plan, it may not necessarily be offered technical support, which is another thing to keep in mind.
- Read reviews online. Our website has a variety of reviews of VoIP vendors and different plans, so be sure to read the ones that pertain to vendors you’re interested in.
- Read case studies of customer problems that were solved by VoIP vendors.
- Find out what level of technical support each vendor provides. Ask about tech support hours, service charges, and forms of contact. Are there numbers you can call? Online forums? Chat?
Tip#5: Building a Better Unified Communications System
To build a unified communications system of your own, you can use a VoIP plan that offers contact center software, integrations and VoIP phone functions. These systems make it easier to handle the tasks and operations of a call center and communications center. The functions and features you’ll need largely depend on the amount of call volume your business has and how much you plan to rely on phone, SMS text and chat communications. Integrations are another consideration. Since building a unified communications system is complicated, you’ll want to do your research on this one.
- Ask vendors what experience they have working with your type of business or industry. A contact center designed for a small law office isn’t the same as one for a multinational retail corporation.
- Decide what volume you’ll need. Negotiate for the best plan you can find for these needs.
- Decide if you want onsite private branch exchange (PBX) functionality or a cloud-hosted system.
- Choose your phones with help from your vendor.
In no time at all, you’ll have a great VoIP system that can help to build your business and support your operations.