How to Choose your VoIP Provider
A VoIP service is far more cost effective than a regular phone. Besides significantly lowering cost, you can get all the benefits associated with a traditional service like 3-way calling or caller ID that we now tend to consider indispensable. Moreover, a large number of VoIP service providers are constantly entering the market despite the rather intense competition because demand continues to outstrip supply. Since many service providers offer low rates and excellent service plans, it may be difficult to sort out one from another. What’s more, the plans may differ substantially, making it difficult to decide on the best one.
Here, then, is a simple way to effectively choose your VoIP provider:
4 Key Ways to Evaluate a VoIP Service Provider
1) Decide if the plan is cost effective.
Compare the plans for international dialing and long distance. Some plans offer free international calling to a large number of different countries. Look at the cost of the basic plan, as well as what optional features available. One of the best ways to do a price comparison between different vendors is to consider the cost over a full year. Some plans may offer a low introductory rate but then end up with a higher cost by the end of a year. Finally, consider if you can use your existing equipment or whether you have to buy specialized equipment.
2) See what features are thrown into the package at no extra cost.
As an incentive, some VoIP service providers will add key features like 3-way calling, speed dialing, call transferring, call blocking, call waiting, and caller ID. Service providers vary in how many value-added features they put into their plan without cost.
3) Choose VoIP service providers that offer you a free trial period.
There are many things you can learn during a free trial period that may not be mentioned in the company literature or by the company rep; things that you can only find out by trying out the system for yourself. For instance, a free trial period will allow you to evaluate your sound, how efficiently technical support responds, and exactly how to use the system. During a free trial period, you will not have to buy special equipment and will not have to deal with the hassle and cost of shipping it back.
4) Find out all you can about the level of support.
There are two support levels to consider: first, customer support, second, technical support. Can you get your billing questions answered quickly and courteously? Do the technical support people provide you with expert help when you need it? What are the hours of customer or technical support? Can you talk to a real person or is everything handled by emails and instant messengers? Finally, don’t just go by what the company tells you, but scout for reviews from other users on forums.
There are numerous things to consider when trying to decide on a VoIP provider and by evaluating these four factors, you will be able to make an informed choice.