But before you sign up with the first provider you stumble across, here are six important things you should consider when choosing a business VoIP provider.
1. Does the Business VoIP Provider Use a Consultative Process to Determine How Your Employees Use the Phone?
Seems like a silly question; how do your employees use the phone? Well, you say, they pick up the phone and dial the numbers.
Well, ask a pedantic question, get a pedantic answer right?
Let me clarify:
In the “old” world, the phone rang, you picked it up, the caller wanted the service department, and you transferred the call. Today, with the features of VoIP, much more can be done. After-hours calls can be routed to another location that’s still open in a different time zone. Or, an auto attendant can redirect calls to specific people on-call. You can even initiate call routing that’s governed by keywords.
Understand Your Workers’ Needs
We treat each call like gold. Every call matters and how it moves from one person, one number to another is critical to the success of your business. “Call flow” is a technical term in our world that reflects how a call is routed, forwarded, answered, saved, re-routed, etc.
However, the majority of businesses, about 77% according to one survey — don’t consult with employees before moving to VoIP, so they often are unaware of the real workflow or actual needs and user impact. That can create significant issues, as not figuring out the “how” can lead to purchasing of options that won’t be used, workarounds that could compromise compliance and security, and less than satisfied users.
Voxter works with you and your employees to understand how and why your staff communicates — internally and externally — to design a system they’ll love with a call flow that works.
But the provider shouldn’t stop there. After all, there’s more to VoIP than just knowing how to re-route calls. Your provider should also:
- Help you choose the phones with the feature sets best for you
- Confirm all scheduling, include phone arrival and installation
- Be available to answer any questions you have
- Test the installation and ensure all the features and integrations you wanted are working
Consistently dropped calls and poor call quality will make it impossible for your team to do their work.
2. Will Your Business VoIP Provider Drop Your Calls?
There’s little more frustrating in business than dropped calls, echo, or jitter. Great strides have been made in the technology in this area, but there are many business VoIP providers coming online each day, and not all have the chops to get the tech right. Just because the provider has a server, doesn’t guarantee its connection is reliable or that you can be heard on your calls.
The best way to ensure call reliability and awesome voice quality are for the provider to:
- Use a dedicated voice connection so that your calls are not fighting for precious bandwidth with your other business activities
- Have plenty of points of presence so your calls can be efficiently and effectively routed
- Conduct quality of service monitoring to stay ahead of any issues
- Maintain control over the connection
- Have points of presence with uninterruptible power supplies
If your business is in a rural area or one that has a slow internet connection, make sure the provider has solutions it can implement. These should include providing:
- Redundant lines
- High availability systems
- Shortest internet hops
Read the service level agreement, or SLA. You want reliability guaranteed!
3. What Level of Customer Service Is Offered?
Some businesses choose to go with the biggest brand name they can find. Others go for the cheapest VoIP provider they can find. Often, neither is the best choice and you’ll end up with a system and support that doesn’t suit your needs.
- Some business VoIP providers will refer you to their customer forum when you have a question
- Some will blame your dropped calls on any of the many ISPs your call has to travel through
Voxter, on the other hand, assigns a Success Hero to you that guides you through implementation — and our support staff who knows your company inside and out is available 24/7/365
4. Does the Business VoIP Provider Offer Training/Onboarding?
While business VoIP systems have an amazing array of features not available in a traditional phone, they shouldn’t be complicated to use. The web interface should be aesthetically pleasing, intuitive, and easy to navigate.
- Many VoIP service providers set up your system, give you a manual of how to program it and leave
- This then requires your IT staff to set it up and train your users, taking precious time away from already too-harried workdays
- Because Voxter does all the phone provisioning, all you need do is plug in the phone and log on — you’re good to go
- Our onboarding process is simple, and we offer free on-demand webinars and on-site training for those who want to get into the “guts” of the system
Don’t be left confused with your system, ensure you VoIP provider offers adequate onboarding and training.
5. Does the Business VoIP Provider Do Call Monitoring for Continuous Improvement?
VoIP call monitoring doesn’t listen to your calls.
Rather, it assesses the voice quality of those calls. Call monitoring is a vital piece of any good business VoIP provider’s quality of service, or QoS, plan.
Ask whether the business VoIP provider uses human and subjective monitoring to determine voice quality or if it uses a variety of software and hardware to test, analyze, and score the calls. The latter is likely to give a more valid Mean Opinion Score, or MOS. MOS scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being best. The better providers shoot for a 4.0 to 4.5 MOS, which are considered toll-quality calls with perfectly acceptable voice quality.
While no provider is perfect, what one does regularly is what matters in the quest for continuous improvement.
- We monitor our network and measure QoS every millisecond, often finding and fixing anomalies before they affect you
- Every single call that goes through our network, goes through a call quality analyzer
- The analyzer measures latency, quality, noise and more — as well as conducts diagnostics
- An automated MOS score is applied at the end of every single call
- If the score of a call is below 4.4, an alert goes off and one of our technicians has a look to see what the issue was and how to fix it
- If there’s a repeated issue between caller and receiver, then we re-route future calls for those two general geographic areas or set up a new data center
6. Does It Offer the Add-ons, Equipment, and Integrations You Need?
Some business VoIP providers charge for every feature — including basic ones such as caller ID, call waiting, 3-way calling, voicemail, and IP faxing. Some offer integrations into parts of your workflow, but others don’t. A few, like Voxter, offer not only all the basic features and integration with popular apps, but will work with you to create a custom integration with any app that’s an essential part of your process.
Make sure you ask about the:
- Types of phones needed — can you use what you have?
- Types of integrations available and how they work
- Add ons that you want for some employees, such as mobile integration or call center features
We Build Your Business VoIP System to Work the Way You Want
When you’re ready to make the move to productivity and lower costs with a business VoIP system, give us a call at 866-381-8647 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll listen to your needs and develop the system you want.