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6 Things to Consider When Shopping for a VoIP Service Provider

VoIP has quickly become the go-to solution for small businesses upgrading their phone systems. It’s a great option for anyone looking for more professional communication without the hefty price tag, but before you sign with a provider, you need to do your homework.

Every company has different needs and expectations when it comes to a VoIP service provider, and each provider has its own list of offered features. However, there are a few areas where you should never compromise. Here’s what I mean:

1. Reliability

Stuff happens. And when it does, you want to make sure your VoIP service provider has a backup plan, especially if your business relies heavily on telecommunications for its day-to-day operations. Your VoIP provider should be prepared to address these five worst-case scenarios. Find out how they address these scenarios when they happen and what kind of downtime you can expect if they do.

2. Quality

While there are many factors that can affect VoIP call quality, your broadband connection is the most important one. Ask potential VoIP providers how much bandwidth is required for their services and find out what kind of hardware configurations are needed to ensure stellar call quality. You should also ask service providers for a copy of their Quality of Service protocols. This explains which strategies they have in place to identify and overcome underlying causes of poor call quality.

3. Equipment

Speaking of quality, the equipment you use can also make a major difference. Find out whether your VoIP service provider supplies the equipment or if you will need to provide your own. Most service providers offer a variety of equipment packages, but you might consider purchasing an upgrade if call quality is a priority or if you need additional features beyond the basic package.

4. Maintenance

Also find out what kind of maintenance each VoIP provider’s system will require. Premise-based VoIP systems require you to house and maintain the server on site, which can make maintenance technical and time consuming. Hosted VoIP companies do all the server maintenance for you; the only thing you have to do is install updates as they come out. There are pros and cons to both options, so you’ll have to decide which one makes the most sense for your company.

5. Security 

Just like with any device connected to a network, you’ll want to make sure any transmitted information is protected from cyber-attacks. An unsecure VoIP line could be susceptible to call interception, eavesdropping and service theft. Fortunately, VoIP technology has come a long way, and most of these situations are problems of the past.  Nevertheless, you should always ask potential VoIP service providers about the security protocols they have in place to protect your data from hackers.

6. Costs 

Not all VoIP providers are created equal. Some offer all of their features for one flat rate while others have different feature packages for an additional cost. Different providers have different fees as well, so you need to ask about additional charges that may not be listed on their website. Look for a VoIP service provider that offers the exact services you need at a price within your budget.

When it comes to VoIP, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each company will have different priorities they’ll need to consider as they shop around for a provider. Hopefully evaluating your business’s needs while keeping these six pointers in mind will help you find a service provider that keeps you happy for years to come.