Changing your business system from a traditional phone system to voice over Internet protocol is a challenge. While there are quite a few from which to choose, it can still be confusing if you have never had VoIP service providers before. Here are some things to consider before signing up for service.
Just because a company is a voice over Internet provider, does not automatically make them reliable. Many enter the scene and fade just as quickly. You need to find out how long the company has been in service before going any further. New companies may shine, but it is better to go with an established provider. Also, ask around about the company's reputation. Talk to others who do business with the company and see what they really think about their reliability.
Now that you have narrowed down the field to a few reliable sources, you need to find out what the quality of these VoIP service providers is. Of course, you want to save money. However, if you can not understand the person on the other end of the line or they are having a hard time understanding you because of the quality of the call, it is not worth it. Even if you are only using the protocol for internal phone lines, you want something that is clear no matter the price.
Most businesses have a PBX operating system already in place. There are some VoIP service providers that will work with existing equipment and some do not. You need to determine if you want to keep a working system, upgrade, if necessary, or have them host the operating system. If you are running a mid to large company, hosting is not the best option. You need invest in a system that is compatible with the phone system being installed. In some cases, you will be able to use what you have. Small businesses with less than 50 employees can benefit from using the hosted service rather than making sure their system is compatible.
Of course, the biggest concern is finding VoIP service providers that remain within the operating budget. When choosing you need to ask if the fees are by the minute or a flat monthly cost. Also, if you plan to use this service to talk to overseas clients, you should find out what their rates are for the countries you will be calling the most. Often, these companies will have different rates for each area, and one company may be cheaper for one than another. Typically, voice over Internet is cheaper than a traditional landline phone company.
While cost, quality, and reliability are paramount, it does not hurt to find out what other features the company offers. Some have interactive voice response, time-based call conditions, and a company directory they can set up for you. Businesses with a customer service department may want to go with a company that offers call recording and queuing. All companies can benefit from having a call bridge available.