How to Spot a Bad Business VoIP Service Provider Before You're Stuck
You've done it! You've made the decision to switch your company telecoms to VoIP. Well, why wouldn't you? There's lots of competition. Prices are super-low. The extra features look very useful too.
You need to be absolutely sure that your VoIP provider can do everything they promise. Follow this amazingly helpful checklist to find out the best way to get the best system.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
How long a VoIP company has traded is a great starting check. Cowboys attract reviews really quickly. Those reviews deter new customers. They don't stay in business very long.
One useful hack for checking a company's longevity is Archive.org. This website remembers websites and their pages going back to 1996. Type in the VoIP company's web address into Archive. Then, see when their earliest web page was recorded. It goes without saying. The longer they've been around, the safer your bet in choosing them.
Speaking of reviews...
Each VoIP supplier has tens of thousands of corporate customers. Customers talk - a lot. Whichever company you're considering choosing, check out review sites like REVOO to see what their customers are saying. If you want to go more in-depth, it's best to go to the various VoIP forums. They normally have sub-forums where customers talk to each other about specific VoIP providers.
These reviews are a huge help to new customers. Make sure you use them.
Use the Right Tools for the Job
VoIP is big for homeowners too. The VoIP revolution extends well beyond business users. Be careful not to choose a residential service for your business though. Why?
It’s down to something called "bandwidth". That means the number of conversations they can carry on their lines. Consumer VoIP has lower "bandwidth" than business VoIP. That's down to the fact that consumers use the phone less than companies.
Choosing a consumer VoIP provider for your business means that your calls could take a while to connect, there might be a delay in the person you're speaking to hearing what you say (hugely annoying!), and you might hear your voice echo in your ear half a second after you start speak (intensely annoying!).
It's so easy to be tempted by the lowest price. Particularly if that low price is backed up to glowing reviews. Resist the urge to save money. Spend a few extra dollars a month on something geared up for your modern business.
"Help, I Need Somebody..."
What type of support does a VoIP provider offer? Try to choose a company with a solid reputation for customer care. It's very important particularly when you're starting off with the service.
VoIP and the internet are clever. They adapt. They change shape to the environment they operate in. You will likely get a lot fewer problems with a VoIP service than an old-fashioned phone company. VoIP runs on something called SIP. It's a clever but a complex technology. If your tech knowledge isn't great, fixing problems yourself can be frustrating and time-consuming.
A customer care team will solve technical problems fast. When you're reading reviews, try to find stories about how well (or not) a company handled a problem. Look for a publishing service level agreement (SLA) too. This is their contract to you that, in the event things go south, this is what they'll do for you and how quickly they'll do it.
Under the Hood
Anyone can become a VoIP provider. There's no need to register with anyone anywhere. With a few exceptions, there's no minimum level of service you must offer by law. The best of the best have multiple points of presence (POP). Providers place these POPs all around the world. Wherever you are, whichever country you're in, these POPs give you the very best audio quality.
They also ensure that if one system fails, another one takes its place straight away. Users never notice any service disruption. POPs and fail-safe systems are big selling points. Beware potential suppliers who make little or no mention of it on their website.
E911 - Why Be Cautious?
E911 is the system VoIP providers use to tap into the national infrastructure for emergency calls. E911 makes sure that calls are handled immediately and correctly. It also passes on the location information of the caller.
Complying with E911 is very technical. If your chosen provider offers it, this is a team who know what they're doing. E911 is, for many, the gold standard in VoIP quality and reliability.