In today’s dynamic business environment, it is not uncommon for a business to be looking for reliable SIP phone service providers. Whether you’re looking for solid service uptime, better features, cost savings, or improved customer support, finding a reliable SIP phone service provider will help your business run smoother.
Businesses rely on their communications with their customers and suppliers. There are many business phone service providers in the market, but finding one that hits on all of the items on a reliability checklist can be a challenge. Let’s examine what to look for and how to best approach your search.
Business Phone Service Reliability Checklist
- Service Uptime – Communication with your customers fails when your phone service is down. This can be an issue if an unreliable SIP phone service provider is chosen. Service outages manifest in several ways, such as VoIP phones not registering to the host server, poor call quality, and call completion failures.
- System Changes – How easy is it to have changes made to your SIP service? From call flow and auto attendant changes to user name changes, the number of administrative changes to a system necessary to evolve communication strategies to match your business needs run from simple to complex.
- Flexibility – How quickly can the system adjust to address immediate needs? From provisioning and delivering new VoIP phones or soft phones as you expand to accommodating a flexible work environment like remote or highly mobile employees, finding a provider who can quickly service these needs is paramount.
- Robust Features – A robust and evolving feature set provides businesses with the communication tools necessary to compete in a fast-moving environment.
- Cost Savings – Finding a powerful SIP phone service that also generates cost savings will drive financial benefits to the business will also improve the ability to compete.
Selection Criteria for Reliable SIP Phone Service Providers
Because the marketplace is full of a variety of phone service providers, a simple search may not point your business to the most reliable service provider to meet your needs. Internet searches will always produce the national providers who flood the search terms with paid search ads. Be sure to skip past paid ads and look for the providers who rank high organically and may also have a local presence to your business. These local providers may offer unique approaches to customer service that can prove to be more reliable. Also ask your peer business community for their recommendation based upon the items in your reliability checklist. Once you have some potential providers narrowed down, make your selection on the criteria below:
- Service Stability – determine how often there are times when the phone service is not up and operating normally.
- Phone Service Administration – If the provider only offers a self-service model, this may not be best for your business. If the initial programming of the phones and service and on-going changes are handled for you by the provider, you can be assured that everything will work as designed for your business over the long-term.
- System Growth and Adaptability – How are VoIP phone additions handled by the provider? Look for ones who will deliver new phones that are pre-programmed and ready to go for your new addition. Also, what are their solutions for highly mobile or remote employees? They should have a variety of soft phone solutions (desktop and mobile apps) as well as phones that can connect to the internet via WiFi, as many remote installations do not have an ethernet-based network connection available.
- Feature Set to Match Business Needs – Make sure the provider asks you questions about how you communicate and what are your requirements. They should then talk about the features they offer that will accommodate your needs.
- Financial Benefits – Moving to a SIP phone service can deliver financial benefits back to the business. Upfront costs are low compared to on-site systems and the monthly cost can be less than current expenses, especially if the provider handles all of the phone administration for you.
Be sure to ask the business phone service provider for references, specifically asking for references in your geography and industry, both in terms of size and scope and type of service your business provides. Getting a unique list and not some boilerplate reference list should provide you with real feedback. Ask the references to validate the statements made by the provider when addressing the checklist above. These steps should help you find a reliable SIP phone service provider that will help you gain a competitive communication advantage!
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