Deciding upon the best phone service provider can be challenging for any business. Given new technology, there are a host of new options available to you in the marketplace and you are no longer bound to your traditional telephone provider. You should start by determining your organization’s ability/desire to utilize new technology in your communication practices and identifying the characteristics of a phone service provider that will meet your expectations.
If your company desires to utilize new technology in your communication practices and you want to keep the capital expenses low for such an endeavor, you can consider a hosted phone service provider. This literally opens up the competition to a number of great providers. These providers provide both the phone service and phone system, as the phone system is provided in a cloud environment and the service is delivered over the internet. Additionally, if your company has points of presence in multiple cities or has virtual employees, they all can be on a common phone system and you can consolidate service providers!
The process of narrowing down your potential list of hosted phone service providers can be
quite daunting. Set your expectations high, as new entrants in this marketplace have helped push customer service to new heights. Here is a list of questions for potential service providers that can help you narrow the list:
- Describe your approach to customer service. Do I have an account team to rely upon? How are requests for service handled and are there multiple ways to create a service ticket?
- Do you conduct a consultative session with me on customizing the configuration for the hosted phone service so that it conforms to how we do business?
- How do you handle VoIP voice quality management? Do you deploy a device on our network or do you manage this solely by bandwidth expansion?
- Describe your hosted platform. Is it located in a secure data facility? What redundancies are built in?
- What disaster recovery options are available to me with your service?
- Given our industry, what features do you believe we will benefit the most from?
These questions will help qualify candidates and you can narrow down competitiveness of bids from the providers who answer the above qualifications to your satisfaction. First and foremost, judging the potential provider on their willingness and ability to get to know you and your needs through the qualification stage is a great indicator of the type of service they will provide. Those providers who are experienced in working in multiple industries and can provide the consultation necessary to appropriately customize the solution to meet your expectations will clearly rise to the top.
Many focus on the features, coolness factor, and price, but fail to be able to truly understand your business and what is important to you. Your business deserves to be supported by a provider who can be seen as your phone department rather than a vendor.
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.