VoIP Vendor Selection Checklist

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: September 06, 2011

Getting ready to buy a Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone system? One thing you’ll have to do in the process is compare various vendors to determine which is best for you. What’s the right way to do that, in a fashion that will yield the best results for your particular situation? A vendor selection checklist can be handy.

The vendor selection checklist will list a variety of items that are vital to your company and potential VoIP installation. For each vendor, you would tick off whether the item is provided or not, and then add any notes that may be appropriate. The best way to use the checklist, then, would be to grade each vendor on each item, tally up the scores, and go with the vendor that scores the best. This is a successful and proven way to make a good business decision.

The important thing, then, is to make sure the checklist contains relevant and important items. Let’s take a look at some things that you’ll want to include on your VoIP vendor checklist.

1. References. Have each prospective vendor provide you with a list of customer references. Contact each one and glean as much information on the vendor as you can. Current customers will be your best source for learning how a vendor operates.
2. Find a customer on your own. Visit the vendor’s web site, and locate a customer from about a year prior and contact them. Ask the same questions you asked of the references. The references have been pre-arranged to give good reviews. The customer you find on your own will give you the straight scoop.
3. Market share and stability of the vendor. You’ll want to look in to this as you don’t want to go with a fly-by-night operation.
4. Installation. Is this included in the price, or do you have to pay extra for it?
5. Training. Does the vendor offer training as part of the package, or is there an additional charge for that?
6. Service and maintenance. Will you have to pay for each service call, or are you covered under a contract? What is the cost for both scenarios?
7. Price. Does the price being quoted fit into your budget? Is it in line with what other vendors are quoting?

Customize the list to suit your needs. You may have other questions about inter-operability, what happens with analog lines, scalability, amongst others. Use the base given here as well as some of your own items to build a list to help you make the best possible business decision.
 

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