How Should You Compare VoIP Phone Service Providers?

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: February 25, 2011

When shopping for a business VoIP telephone system, businesses need to be clear regarding the specific attributes that they are searching for. Because not all VoIP service providers have the same emphasis in all areas of service, your business should have a narrow focus on the particular aspects of VoIP technology that best fit your needs. This will ensure that you are ultimately partnered with a provider that will add functionality to your business in a manner that suits your individual needs and budgetary concerns.

Options

Typically, businesses are searching for one or more of the following attributes in their VoIP service:
Price

  • Service Level
  • Service Quality
  • Features Packages

To some degree, these attributes all must be fulfilled, but choosing the specific items that are most important to your business will ensure that your telephone system works within effective bounds for your business.

Pricing

The VoIP market is driven by pricing plans to some degree. There are many providers who can provide IP telephone systems and service for extremely low prices. If the primary focus of your business is to upgrade or replace your existing telephone system in the most cost effective manner possible, then price may be your main focal point.

Low priced options abound in VoIP telephony. Many providers offer pricing plans that are set at a low rate for several initial subscribers with the option to add more users at a slightly increased rate. These plans can be extremely economical and can actually lower your business’ telephone charges.

The drawback with packages that are using pricing as their primary selling point is that these are often minimalist services that provide IP phone service, but not many options or features. These providers typically offer much fewer add-ons and features, as well as not having the same focus on call quality, reliability, and maintenance.

Service Level

Depending on your business’ needs, the level of service provided by your VoIP partner can be critical. If your company is constantly growing or changing its infrastructure, then a service package that can adapt along with it is important. Having a provider whose focus is on helping your network adapt and remain as effective as possible becomes a paramount concern when your business is in a constant state of change.

There are many service providers who take a very hands-on approach to their partnership with your business. These providers typically have service packages available that include system maintenance, upgrades, additions, redundancy, and a host of other service-related items for nominal extra charges.

Service Quality

Call quality is one attribute that should be present in any service provider that you are considering. Your business network should provide reliable support and clear calls without interruption. To varying degree this is the focus of most VoIP providers. If this is your business’ primary focus, you should be looking for a provider whose sole mission is network uptime.

There are providers who pride themselves on their uptime statistics and finding one whose main selling point is uptime and redundancy should not prove difficult. These providers generally have state of the art technology in place to ensure that whether there are weather/natural disaster issues or simply technical breakdowns, their systems are set up to handle the disturbance without creating a service disruption for their clients.

Features Packages

One of the main differences between a VoIP system and a traditional business telephone system is the availability and diversity of the features and add-ons. The added features of VoIP systems allow businesses to function in a much more streamlined and effective manner without having to overhaul the network each time you would like to make an addition or change.

Some providers capitalize on the increased functionality of VoIP systems by allowing their clients to customize their networks. They usually offer a wide variety of features for enhanced productivity and user experience that increase user satisfaction and can create a more optimized work environment.

Regardless of the area of your business’ focus, you should be sure to have a clear set of priorities when it comes to your new VoIP system and provider. If you can clarify your expectations from the outset, you will be able to find a provider that can deliver a service that is custom made for your business needs.
 

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