The process is simple: You walk in your chosen internet service provider office, discuss the type of VoIP connection you need, and get expert advice and consultation as to what will match your specific business requirements.
Then you sign the contract and take out your wallet.
Stop right there.
Are you sure you’re getting what you’re paying for? Or do you feel the total bill is a little too economical? If your investigation is not correct, you may be spending too much on services you didn’t ask for in the first place. Or, if you are smirking at the fact that you’re getting a bumper offer at half the price, then you might be signing up for a cheap (both literally and figuratively) internet service.
Before you sign up for anything, here’s what you should investigate before opting for a VoIP service:
What’s included in my package by default?
VoIP, unlike traditional internet lines, has gained popularity due to the quality and quantity of its features. When you talk to your provider about getting VoIP, the following features should be a part of the plan:
- Hi-Q voice quality
Since VoIP is primarily about handling voice through the internet, it is imperative for the call quality over the network to be top-notch. Have a test call to see for yourself. If the core element of VoIP, that is, if the voice is not up to the mark, chances are the rest of the features will not be either. Also, look for a provider that has QoS (Quality of Service) configuration available.
- Video and Data distribution
A good internet provider will have the proper QoS set up so all your video calls, voice calls, and data transfers are funneled in the correct proportions. A cheap provider may handle calls comparatively better, but video calls may not be their thing. Once again, have a test video call to see for yourself.
What makes VoIP stand out is the availability and flexibility it gives to its users. With Follow-Me technology, all calls to your network can be routed to any and all devices you choose, until they are attended. Being available at all times can exponentially improve your customer service, or generally give out the expression that you are always there for your customers.
- Voicemail/ Voicemail-to-email
All phone lines connected to your VoIP network should have voicemail incorporated in them. Furthermore, this feature allows voice-to-text transcriptions, so you can now read your voicemails.
- Fax support
Office work will often call for faxes, so your network must be able to support the transfer of these types of documents.
- Keep your old number
As a company, you definitely do not want to keep changing your number every time you sign up for a new service. Your VoIP provider should be able to transfer all your old lines to its network, while at the same time keeping your number.
- High speed
This goes without saying, but if you are opting for any business internet service provider, there must be zero tolerance for low, lagging speeds. Always match your business bandwidth requirement with the data plan you are choosing, and pick one that supersedes, so there is no reason why you should run short of the bandwidth you need.
Does the provider share their uptime records?
If a provider’s record is not satisfactory, it will hesitate to provide you access to it. Programs such as Pingdom provide viewers an insight to the working of the service, which can give you a clear idea of the quality.
What if I decide to cancel?
Hopefully, if you are thorough in your research you won’t need to think about cancelling at all. But suppose you decide to sell your company or move to a place where the provider cannot reach you. In such cases, you have the right to know what to do beforehand. This includes knowing about the whole cancellation process. There is probably nothing more stressful than having to deal with surprise fees and a lengthy procedure when you have other things on your plate.
Your VoIP provider should be flexible in a way that it should guide you through the process, and possibly help you route your lines to your new provider, giving you the time you need to safely transfer your data as well.
Or If I need to expand/relocate my business?
Will your provider ask for you to re-subscribe? Does the provider meet your expansion requirements? One of the signs you should look for in a good VoIP provider is the ability to customize to your specific needs. IT consultants can analyze your company statistics and set up a personalized bucket, which will be both economical as well as easy to maintain. This applies well for when you need to add more lines to your expanding company. All you need to do is inform your provider and they should be able to add them seamlessly.
Subscribing to an internet service provider should not be a troublesome process, otherwise repeated transitions can cause immediate as well as long term negative effects on the progress of your business.