7 Tips for Choosing a VoIP Provider
Communications are a central part of any business. Having a flexible, reliable and robust VoIP system helps to keep your business running at its best. Choosing a good VoIP provider means doing some extensive research and considering the offerings of several providers side by side.
The VoIP market is big business and is expected to be worth $55 billion by 2025, based on research conducted by Global Market Insights, Inc. There's no shortage of providers to choose from, so it's up to you as a business owner to shop around and choose carefully. Here, we list a few of the most important things to consider when examining VoIP offerings:
What to Look for in a VoIP Provider
1) Call volume requirements
Before you can even think about choosing a VoIP provider you need to understand the nature of your own business. Do you typically handle incoming calls or outgoing ones? How many employees do you have taking/making calls at a time? How long are those calls? Your answers to these questions will influence the choice of provider you make, and the plan that you opt for.
2) International vs local calling
Are you usually calling locally or internationally? Again, this will influence the VoIP package that you choose. VoIP is usually an incredibly affordable option for long-distance calling and if your line has good bandwidth you can expect good call quality too. If you are considering a VoIP plan for international calling, confirm that the countries you expect to call the most are included in the package.
3) Third-party integrations
The ability to integrate your telephony with other systems is one of the best things about VoIP. A good VoIP system can integrate with third-party tools such as Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce, making your staff more productive and improving the experience for your end-users.
Customer service isn't just about calls, you may also communicate with your customers through email, SMS, live chat and other systems. Having the ability to send texts, run conference calls (or even video conferencing), listen to associated voicemails and view other communications all from within one system can greatly improve the efficiency of your operations.
4) Backups and SLAs
What would you do if your VoIP system went down? One study into network downtime conducted by Avaya found that 82% of companies surveyed experienced downtime due to errors caused by their IT personnel and that 80% of those companies lost revenue due to those errors. Communications outages can cost a company an average of $140,000 each time.
Does the VoIP provider have an uptime guarantee or an SLA? Do they have sensible plans in place to help you stay connected, or get back online, in the event of an outage? Even a few minutes of downtime can result in some angry customers so it is important that you negotiate service level agreements with any VoIP provider that you choose.
5) Call management software
Call management software is the heart of any contact center. It allows team leaders to manage their teams, predict call volumes, view free/busy data and call length data, route calls to the correct agents and understand the productivity of the contact center as a whole.
Some VoIP providers offer cloud contact center management software that allows you to dynamically manage your call flows and monitor the performance of the center in real-time. If you do not already have contact center software in place, or you are looking for an upgrade, then cloud call routing management tools could be a good option for you.
If you already have software in place, you will need to confirm that your software is compatible with the VoIP system. Speak to each VoIP vendor you are considering working with to find out if you will be able to port over your existing software and/or hardware when you join their VoIP service.
Prices for voice over IP systems can vary massively depending on the provider you choose and even the package. This is why the first point on our list about understanding the way that you plan to use VoIP is so important. Should you choose a metered package with a very low monthly fee, or would you be better off paying more per month for an unmetered package?
Do you want to rent desk phones for each user on your package? Will you be making use of call center management software? Do you have a legacy phone system and want to use SIP trunking, or are you setting up a pure VoIP system? There are many packages to choose from and the more you understand about how your business operates, the easier it will be to choose the right package.
7) Customer service
You depend on your VoIP system to give good service to your customers. Therefore, you need to know that you will get good customer service from your VoIP provider if your needs change or something goes wrong. Look for a provider with 24/7 support availability with live chats and remote support. You take your business seriously, and you need to work with a VoIP vendor that also takes your custom seriously.
If you are looking to set up a new VoIP system for your business, get in touch with Voxtell for a no-obligation communications assessment. The team at Voxtell understand that choosing a VoIP package can be a bewildering experience. If you don't know your SIP trunks from your CDNs, we can help you. If you're confident in your assessment of the technology and simply want someone to go over prices and help you choose the most cost-effective option, our Florida-based VoIP experts would be happy to help with that too. Call us today to see what our VoIP packages can do for your business.