Learning more about how to choose your VoIP provider can save you time and trouble and make your telecommunications affordable and more effective. With the amount of VoIP services in the market today it may be difficult to know how to choose your VoIP provider. The demand for VoIP telephone services is soaring and the entry of new VoIP service providers continues to generate competition. With that said, how do you differentiate between one service provider and the next? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when searching for the best VoIP provider for your business.
How to Choose Your VoIP Provider – Go for Essentials
Although there are many benefits of switching to VoIP, in order to enjoy the full advantages you must understand what essentials great VoIP providers provide, and what pitfalls you need to avoid. Here are some tips that will ensure you end up with a reliable VoIP provider that offers more advantages than disadvantages.
Consider All Charges
VoIP services are typically very inexpensive, however don’t be deceived by a providers price listed on their website. For example, a number may be listed as at $14 dollars a month but be sure to read the fine print. With most pay-per-minute calling plans, there are originating and terminating fees that occur when a call is placed. Although these plans are still a very cost-effective, it is important to do your research before you decide which plan to go with.
Likewise, you may see an all-in-one bundle at what appears to be a decent per-month price. However you must make a good estimate of your expected usage (call time in minutes), choose the closest plan that matches your minutes, and then consider the per-minute cost for extra minutes. This is charged when you use more minutes than your plan includes. So add the monthly plan cost to the total of the extra minutes expected multiplied by the extra rate per minute to find your expected monthly total. Use this number to compare costs between providers.
Most rates for pay-as-you-go plans and for bundled minutes plans are based on the origination (from) and termination (to) that you choose on the vendor’s website. For example, you may choose a Toronto local number, forwarding to your laptop headset by VoIP. That’ll be very affordable.
However, you might decide to forward calls to your local number in Toronto to your mobile phone on a trip to Germany. Those calls will be much more expensive, and will reduce the number of minutes that you can talk before you start paying the extra per-minute rate.
So the best plan here is to carefully consider all your travel, home office use, and changes of location and device when choosing providers. Some providers have very low prices on forwarding to VoIP (to your laptop), but are very expensive when forwarding to a landline or to your mobile phone.
When searching for a VoIP provider, it is important that the service include common calling features. Is there call recording available? What about call forwarding that varies by time of day and day of week? It is standard for most VoIP providers include these value-added features at no cost. But, make sure to ask what features are included and which will cost extra with their solution. This will avoid any negative surprises later that could adversely affect your business.
Customer Service Support
Many call centers are open 24/7 and 7 days a week, so it is important that your VoIP provider provides the same support. Can you contact them live? Do their reviews indicate how effectively they respond? If you were to experience call center issues, you would not want to have to wait until 8 AM until you can speak with a support representative. Finding out what type of technical or customer support is offered by each VoIP provider will help you make an informed choice.
It is important to pick a company that is in touch with the world telecommunications market. A company with a single location may not have the partnerships or experience in wiring with carriers and partners around the globe. These VoIP providers will be able to provide carrier options and connections worldwide and will be first to deploy new technology.
Finally, with business constantly growing, scalability is an important factor to consider when searching for a VoIP provider. Will this VoIP provider be able to accommodate your needs as a growing business? Most VoIP providers offer mid-level solutions that are great for every day calls and handle conference calling, multiple extensions, voicemail, faxing and voice recording. However, if you plan on growing your business consider looking into what enterprise options they may offer, ensuring that your call center can grow with your company.
VoIP is one of the best communication technologies available for businesses today and can significantly change the way you do business. Partnering with the right VoIP provider for your business will enhance your experience and capabilities.