Many companies say they are the best business VoIP provider on the market. That makes the task of finding the best VoIP service provider a challenge. So much rides on your business communications system; how will you know which VoIP provider will give you the kind of service you need for your business?
Tips for Choosing a VoIP Provider
Start with a Business Assessment
We recommend starting your search for a VoIP provider with a business assessment. You simply can’t choose the best VoIP service provider for your business without knowing your communications requirements. Sometimes the best answer comes in the form of a question. Ask yourself:
- What types of phone numbers will your business need?
Like traditional phone service, VoIP communications platforms offer everything from 800 numbers to local numbers, international calling, and direct numbers for your team members. You have many options for adding features and services. However, you also can keep whatever numbers you already have established in the business if they’re working well.
- What types of calls are you placing and receiving?
Do you receive a high volume of inbound calls? Do you place a high volume of outbound calls? Answering this question will help your VoIP provider determine the kinds of features you will need.
- Do you have multiple locations?
Are your workers remote?
- Will you need fax or SMS texting for the company?
- Are you using video conferencing to conduct business or provide services?
- Will your teams use their VoIP service for collaboration?
- Should the VoIP integrate with common software platforms you use?
- How will your employees make calls?From their computer or another digital device? Alternatively, will they require a VoIP phone?
A top-rated VoIP service provider should walk you through a series of questions designed to help create the perfect communications architecture for your business. If you’re following this process, it is a good sign that you’ve landed in the right place.
Determine the Best Service Plan
Choosing a VoIP provider requires you to check out their service plans. There are many choices around packages and features. You can select from packages that start at low as around $20 a month, but the number of users and system integrations will almost certainly limited. Many plans give you the cheapest deal, but throttle down capabilities, like auto-attendant or call recording.
Most companies out there today offer VoIP as a cloud service. The benefit to you is that these subscriptions are not only low-cost but also offered as a regular rate that you can budget for every month. This eliminates any unexpected expenses around hardware that fails, which is a common overhead drain for companies under the traditional phone service models.
So, with all these choices, it can get confusing. We already know you’re going to save money from switching to VoIP.
But instead of focusing on cost, PC Magazine says, “Stop focusing on price and think only about the features you need. Growth-stage businesses should anticipate their current requirements but also be creative enough to map out what they will need in the future.”
This kind of reverse engineering works; the features and numbers of users you need will dictate the plan you sign up for. But there is another pressing issue to consider which should help you select your business VoIP provider—security.
Ask About Security
Determine if your prospective business VoIP provider is secure. Because your calls are transferred to data and routed through the internet, they are vulnerable to a security breach. Look for a provider that offers a high level of encryption. Encryption scrambles the data as it’s transmitted online so that only end-users (the people you’re calling, for example) can decode the encrypted transmission.
All of this lock and key activity occurs well behind the scenes of your calls, of course, but this software is vital for keeping your communications safe, even on the public internet. Your cloud VoIP provider should have multiple data centers in varying locations, which provides service redundancy in case something goes wrong. The provider should regularly audit their security procedures to stay on top of ever-changing IT security threats.
Enterprise VoIP Provider Integrations
When choosing a VoIP provider, also consider some of the advanced features they offer that will save your company time and money. The top-rated VoIP service providers offer several collaboration tools for employees and improve workflows by integrating their existing platforms.
Third-party integration with your enterprise VoIP provider is an important benefit of these services. This could include SMS texting, video conferencing, or other online meeting collaboration options. Scheduling and calendar integrations are great, along with customized options for combining your voice tools with other software you use every day. Also, look for a provider that can assign extensions to individual end-users while also managing a name directory to integrate with your company’s IT network.
Not every provider offers these options, but they can be a time saver for your employees and something to consider when choosing a VoIP provider.
Your business VoIP provider should be able to accommodate the volume of calls you’re making and receiving. Call management capabilities can be extremely important if you receive a high volume of inbound calls to a certain department, such as a service desk. The VoIP provider should also be able to scale up at certain times of the year when you receive more calls, such as during the holidays.
You may need call queuing features, where the VoIP provider distributes calls between departments or teams. These features should come with an easy-to-use data analytics dashboard that lets you track inbound or outbound calls from a centralized online hub. That’s a huge benefit of switching to VoIP—because your calls are converted to data, you won’t need a separate call analytics platform to find out metrics like call volume or time to answer.
An enterprise VoIP provider can become a one-stop shop for a call center environment or a sales team making high outbound calls. When choosing a VoIP provider for your business, consider checking out their analytics platform in addition to looking at phone features and pricing plans. You will find your management team using these tools frequently, so look for a call tracking hub that allows the customization you want and need.
Choosing the best VoIP service provider doesn’t have to be a challenge. VoIP First Media can help you find the right service for your business. Click here to get a quote and find out why we remain an industry top pick for VoIP service for businesses just like yours.