When determining a phone system for your business, one of your choices is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
VoIP enables people to talk to each other over the internet instead of through old copper-wire landline systems. VoIP systems tend to have a range of advanced features that might cost less than a landline for your business. Since they aren’t tied to a specific location and are internet based, they are also versatile, allowing users to make and receive business calls from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
But if you decide that VoIP is right for your business, which provider should you use? Here are eight questions to ask to help choose the best VoIP provider for your business:
Is the VoIP provider scalable?
With the current high increase in employee turnover, a VoIP service needs to scale up or down easily. Ask:
- How long does it take to add a new user?
- What’s involved in removing a user?
- How does pricing change as you add or remove users?
Is it easy to manage?
To monitor your VoIP service, you’ll need management tools and reports. Ask:
- Is there a single cloud-based management portal or tool to make changes?
- Can you make updates, changes, or customizations from anywhere?
- What types of reports are available (e.g., calling reports, VoIP call quality)?
Do they offer all the features you need?
VoIP providers vary regarding the features and capabilities they offer. Beyond making calls, your business might need additional features, including a mobile app, chat, or video conferencing. To determine features and capabilities needed, talk with employees who make the most calls (sales, marketing, and customer care). Once you have a list, you can better choose the VoIP provider and plan that meets your needs.
How is voice quality?
Voice quality is an important factor in choosing a provider. It’s important to know the technology variables impacting this. For example, if employees have inadequate bandwidth, they could have problems during calls; or if a provider routes calls through a data center far from where the call originated, that could impact voice quality. Ask:
- Does the provider offer HD voice, which might make it easier to understand people on conference calls?
- Does the VoIP service offer handsets? The hardware in VoIP phones affects the ease of access for many features. If headsets are important to employees, ask the VoIP provider what devices they support.
How easy is it to set up service?
Departments in your business might need help setting up new technologies, so it’s important to evaluate how easy it is to set up a VoIP system. Ask:
- Will you need to buy additional hardware, or can you use your current hardware (e.g., desk phones, employee laptops, and smartphones)?
- Can you review the VoIP provider’s documentation? Check to see if it has up-to-date manuals, videos, and other online resources to make setup easy.
- Can you install the service yourself, or does it require a technician?
Does the VoIP service support remote work?
In the wake of Covid-19, remote working is widespread and should be supported by your new VoIP provider. Does the provider offer mobile apps, making it easy for employees to place and receive calls from their preferred devices, and advanced features like video conferencing?
Does the VoIP provider have a good reputation?
Identify VoIP leaders by looking for high ratings from publications like PC Magazine, which annually surveys readers for its Business Choice Awards.