5 Things to Consider When Selecting a VoIP Service Provider

Posted by Mark Greim on Mar 27, 2010 3:26:00 PM

Congratulations, you have taken the first step to enhance your communication platform and upgrade your capabilities by considering a move to a VoIP Service Provider.  Before you make the switch, here are five considerations for you to include in your evaluation of potential providers:


Comparing VoIP Service Providers can be like comparing apples and oranges
  1. Does the VoIP service provider configure the system to how you do business? There are many VoIP service providers who "bundle and drop ship".  These are usually priced very low, but you will have a very basic configuration.  If you have a growing business or are already a business of size and complexity, gain a comfort level with the provider's ability to listen and understand how you do business and see if they will effectively guide you through their alternatives available.  
  2. Does the VoIP service provider offer a number of solutions to meet your needs? You will know this quickly.  Attractively priced bundles sometimes mask the fact that there is just one alternative for your business and the question is basically "how many do you need?"  If you plan to grow significantly, ask the provider what would be their migration plan from a hosted platform to an on-site platform.  If you are strapped for upfront capital, ask if there's an option to use your existing phones and how you can cost effectively migrate to a digital platform in the future.
  3. How does the VoIP service provider address voice quality?  This is where the rubber hits the road for most providers.  With some, it is not addressed at all and you will likely end up with jitter, echo, and cave voice quality.  With others, it's addressed through bandwidth sizing or voice packet compression, and that may address it on most days.  Make sure you go with a provider that installs a Quality of Service software on your router or other edge device, discusses your bandwidth needs, and can apply packet compression if necessary. 
  4. How does the VoIP service provider address emergency calls?  You would think this should be a given, but ask the question.  
  5. What do their customers say about them and are they on solid financial footing?  Take steps to talk to their customers.  Are they satisfied and why? Do they deliver what they promise in the sales cycle?  It may be difficult to assess the stability, but ask the question.  Also ask what happens if they do go out of business.  Are the phones transferable?
I hope these tips were helpful.  Please comment.


Topics: voip service provider selection

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