Having a telecommunication system that fulfills all the requirements of your business communication is a must-have for your small business. And a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service helps you with that, at a cost lower than what you might be paying your local telephone provider. What’s more, VoIP can boost your team’s productivity.
But selecting the right VoIP is a tricky process. No two service providers have the same offerings. Therefore, you must know how to choose the one that fits the bill and meets the needs as well.
In today’s post, I’m going to discuss five pointers that you need to consider before making the final decision to pick the right VoIP for your small business.
Without further ado, let’s dive in:
1- Know Your Requirements
Caller ID, call forwarding and call waiting are some basic features that a VoIP offers. But other advanced features like auto-attendant, call screening, and call transcription might be bundled in your package too.
Some features will come for free with your subscription while others will be added as required.
So, before you commit to a VoIP service, outline your requirements and list out the features you want. You shouldn’t opt for conferencing or music on hold just because the service provider says they will add those for “free”. Don’t fall into the trap.
Know what you need from the VoIP service and proceed accordingly.
2- Narrow Down VoIPs that Fit the Bill
Once you have your requirements charted out, it’s time to decide how much you would pay for a VoIP. Look at your current telephone bills and other communication software expenses you incur. Note down all the features you pay for and compare with the VoIP offerings you need.
But before narrowing down your options, also take the “bundled services” of your current communication system. You might be enjoying an Internet plan or media streaming package with your existing telephone line. VoIP service won’t provide those.
3- Third-party Integrations
Apart from the call handling services of a VoIP, also check for its integration with other support systems. If you have a helpdesk application in place, you’ll need your VoIP service to sync with it. And integrating the VoIP system with your preferred CRM software or cloud storage service will streamline your business processes.
So, make sure that the VoIP service provider offers such options. Even if the VoIP doesn’t integrate with a particular application, it should support third-party API integrations.
4- Security of VoIP
Strong security features are a priority for business communications. And it holds true when hunting for a suitable VoIP. VoIP data pass through the Internet, which is a public medium and not at all secure.
Therefore, look for VoIP providers which provide strong end-to-end encryption. Other than a robust encryption framework, advanced security options like multi-factor authentication and secure data access should also be available.
5- Customer Support
If the VoIP service is going to be the primary method to keep in touch with your prospects, clients and other team members, it needs to be backed up by timely customer support. During initial setup and third-party integrations, a VoIP might run into problems. And dedicated customer support needs to be available 24/7 to take care of the issues.
Even after the service is deployed, you’ll need help with maintenance, up-gradation or during equipment breakdowns. So, take a VoIP product that has trustworthy customer support.
6- Plan and Pricing
Once you’ve shortlisted the VoIP providers matching your needs, check their plans. Apart from the hardware and software in your package, take into consideration the charges for installation, maintenance, and support. Also, inquire about the cancellation fees, return policies and usage limits if any.
Go through the plans and pricing strategy of the VoIP providers you selected, read the fine print and find who packs the most bang for your bucks.
Those were the six things to keep in mind when searching for the right VoIP for your startup. Some service providers will offer you low prices, but they might not be reliable and secure. While others will offer you a bunch of features that you might not require.
So, make a detailed list of your expectations from a VoIP service and check a good small business VoIP guide to pick the best that offers you the maximum security, reliability and customer support in your budget.
What other criteria do you suggest? Share in the comments.