Choosing a VoIP provider is important and it’s a task that any business ought to approach with genuine sincerity. While all hosted voice over internet protocol services might look almost identical superficially – they all perform the same basic function after all – they are certainly not all the same. Some services are good for home use for example, but really won’t cut the mustard for businesses. Others will provide advanced functionality and extensive call plans and packages that most smaller firms would not need, while others will provide a basic service that is more suited to a small firm with a handful of employees and one or two locations.
There are a lot of different options on offer, so how do you go about choosing what’s right for your business? Like any similar task, it is always smart to start with your real needs. How many phone users do you have? Will you need or do you want features such as voicemail, redirection and so on? Will you want to have call waiting with hold music, will you want an auto-attendant system to direct calls to the right person or team?
You may also want to consider what sort of flexibility you’ll want to give your staff in terms of where they work. One of the great things about hosted VoIP is you can take it anywhere you go. Your number follows you and you can use all the features and capabilities of the service from any point at which you can get Internet access.
You might also want to consider how the system is managed and how much visibility and control you want to have for yourself. You can probably ask your service provider to take on the set-up and monitoring and management of the VoIP system, but you could do it yourself if you feel confident enough.
You’ll also need to have a budget in mind and for business VoIP and you should think in terms of how much you are prepared to spend each month. The good news here is that you can confidently expect it to be significantly less than you have been paying for traditional PSTN services. But as with all buying decisions, the cheapest option won’t necessarily be the best option for your business.
Once you have a good idea of your needs and priorities, you can start looking at potential suppliers. It is not difficult to check suppliers out these days, but you should also remember that this is a highly competitive market, so a simple Google search and surfing session won’t give you all the answers.
We’d always advocate that you work with an experienced, third-party reseller or voice specialist to find a suitable VoIP supplier, as they will be able to guide you towards the best choices. They would also be able to help you assess your needs, of course. While in the end it will be your decision, the general rule of thumb here is to go for suppliers that have a good track record and reputation – and that your independent advisor recommends and trusts.