Choosing A VOIP Service Provider
If your business is looking for a VoIP service provider, you may not know where to begin. After all, there are so many different providers on the market, each offering something different. In this article, we’ll take a look at what you should look for in a VOIP service provider to determine the quality of service offered and various other aspects that should influence your decision-making.
Determining the Quality of VoIP Service
Not all VOIP service is created equal. While VoIP is a standardized protocol to facilitate voice communication over the internet, many providers offer varying services and quality.
The first impression you get from a website speaks a lot about the quality of the VoIP service provider. After all, if there are numerous spelling errors and inconsistencies in pricing models, you can be sure that the company may overlook other critical factors – particularly if the company itself is cash-strapped (or just reluctant to spend a dime).
Similarly, if you can see that the company may not have staff that speaks your native language to handle your inquiries, this may be a red flag. After all, imagine that there’s a problem that you need to have fixed, only to have to waste time trying to ease the language barrier – which shouldn’t be your company’s problem if you’ve chosen wisely. Remember, you should see what the company offers to the public and find a good fit that will be able to answer your questions effectively, not just “make-do.”
Add-Ons and Functionalities
Perhaps the second most important factor you should look into is whether the provider offers only enterprise-level add-ons and functionality, or does it simply cater to low-level organizations to make a quick buck? In most cases, if your VoIP service becomes a critical part of your business, you’ll want to scale your business upwards and try out new features that can open up new avenues. VoIP service providers that only offer basic service could potentially stunt your company’s growth, especially with the rapid developments in VoIP and cloud-based technology. You’ll want to look ahead and see whether the company has any upper-tier clients that have used the company’s services. If not, there’s probably a reason that high-functioning enterprises went elsewhere for VoIP service. For instance, Global Call Forwarding is a service provider that’s been in business for 20 years and has provided service for many enterprises. If the company doesn’t have a track record, you should be suspicious.
Reasonable Pricing Models
Another quality that you should investigate is determining a reasonable pricing model. Companies that don’t offer a free trial to initially use their service should be suspect; on the other hand, companies that charge exorbitant rates and promise top-tier services should also be setting off alarm bells. Money-back guarantees are also a good sign for a qualified service provider, as they indicate accountability and confidence in the products and services they offer.
You’ll also want to see what the next tier of service among the company’s payment plans are. Having a dramatic jump from free-to-basic service and then enterprise-level packages can end up causing problems down the road.
Research and Due Diligence
Doing your research beforehand and investigating other customers’ reviews is another good method. While there may be some gerrymandering going on with VOIP companies that pay for positive ratings and canned copy-and-paste feedback, you will want to review the lowest-rated comments and feedback. An abundance of low-rated comments isn’t necessarily a sure sign of inferior service, but a number of similar problems across verifiable customers (i.e. those with an extensive reviewing history) can prove decisive in your decision-making. Also, you will want to see whether a company representative directly addresses this negative feedback. Many times, you’ll see quality companies that offer an olive branch (like a complete refund or free perks) to maintain a positive public image.
Proprietary Software and Devices
Often, lower-tier companies will bundle unnecessary hardware to extract more money from uninformed businesses, as well as create a sycophantic relationship with needlessly complicated software that can only be corrected by using a paid helpline with one of the company’s software specialists. As you may know, modern VoIP-based communication doesn’t require any fancy hardware or complicated software. Instead, you should look for companies that allow you to use any device that has audio capabilities, such as a smartphone, laptop, desktop, and even a landline.