For years, only large corporations could afford full-featured telecommunication systems. However, advancements in VoIP technology have put these systems within reach for small and medium-sized organizations. Tech.co, a news resource for tech startups, reports that small companies that switch to VoIP realize cost reductions of up to 40% on local callsand up to 90% on international calls.
Now, even small companies can take advantage of features like auto attendants and direct internal dialing. VoIP also opens the door to unified communications, enabling your employees to collaborate virtually on innovative projects.
However, the VoIP market can be tricky. Not all VoIP providers are created equally. Before you commit to a service, you must make sure it will meet your needs and expectations.
Here are 5 pointers to help you choose your VoIP provider:
A private branch exchange (PBX) makes internal communications more efficient by allowing call routing through circuit switches. Internal calls can be made by dialing just a few digits. VoIP uses the ethernet to route calls from the central office and remote locations through the internet.
If your business chooses to go with VoIP, you have 2 service options. With hosted VoIP, your calling is managed off-site through a cloud-based service. As with most cloud services, you save on upfront costs and pay for services as they are needed. An on-premises solution requires that you invest in hardware and software. You also maintain control over your system.
The right VoIP service should provide crystal-clear calling with no jitter. Check with a potential provider to make sure that it can provide the bandwidth you need to accommodate typical call volumes. A VoIP provider should also be able to guarantee a high percentage of availability in their service level agreement (SLA). Customers and clients may become frustrated if they can’t reach you when they need you, or, worse yet, turn to your competitors if poor call quality makes you seem unprofessional.
Business continuity is essential to maintaining productivity and earning customer confidence. To prevent outages, your VoIP service should provide redundancy. Voice packets should be a priority over data so you are available at your clients’ convenience.
Redundancy comes in the form of multiple voice gateways and a clustered environment. If a gatewayfails, the call will switch to another gateway, ensuring that service remains uninterrupted. Messaging services can also be duplicated so features like auto attendants are always functioning.
Your business can’t afford to take chances with its voice solution. The right VoIP provider should guarantee a superior level of service in an SLA. This SLA should specify availability percentage as well as scheduled downtime.
You should work with a potential provider to determine the amount of bandwidth required to meet your workload demands. Standards of call quality and reliability need to be established so that you are confident your business will create a positive impression when interacting with clients.
Don’t ask a potential provider about their own reputation; look for third-party references. Your business will want to work with a company that has a track record of successfully working with companies like yours. No one wants to be a guinea pig for a new company or flagship program.
Navigating the VoIP Landscape
Before evaluating potential VoIP services, determine your voice service needs. Set a baseline for call volumes and estimate when spikes in traffic might occur. Providers offer different portfolios of features and functions, so draft a wish list for your company.
If you’re looking for a VoIP provider with a proven track record that offers a wide range of options, look no further than FirstLight. We have been operating our own fiber-optic network for over 15 years. Our experts will work closely with your company to develop a customized VoIP solution that meets all your needs.
Still looking for the ideal VoIP service? Reach out to FirstLight for a consultation.