July 9, 2010

What’s the best way to score VoIP offers?

Posted By AVAD Business VoIP Editor

Focus.com is a business website that brings together experts in various industries to answer questions posted by other Focus.com members.
I recently came across an interesting discussion on Focus.com entitled “What’s the best way to score VoIP Offers” that has responses from various industry experts about the criteria they would use to select a Business VoIP Provider.
What is the Best Way to Score VoIP Offers?
"Our company is going to implement a VoIP system, and we’re at the point now where we’re just trying to find the best offer. Are the advertised bundles the best way to go, or can you negotiate & haggle with vendors? How did you get the best offer on your VoIP phone system?"
You can read all the responses from the various experts by click on this link. For your convenience, a copy of my response is below.

Some decisions are so critical to the core functioning of a company, that price should only be a factor after you have determined that a solution meets all or most of your organizations key criteria. The choice of a telecommunications provider is one of those decisions. You would not shop for brain a surgeon based on price, that would be ridiculous. A phone system is like the central nervous system of your company, it connects all parts of the organization.
Before you shop for a VoIP Service Provider you should determine what it is that is most important to your organization and then go out shopping. I would visit the websites of VoIP Providers to first learn about the technology each has to offer and find out if there is new technology that would really benefit your company.
After you have determined "Your Priorities", then go out and find VoIP Providers whose products fill your needs. I would then do research on your "Short List" of companies to make sure they are real companies and see if there are blogs or message boards where people have posted comments about that company. I would also do Twitter and blog searches using the company as a key word, you will be surprised how much information you will find.
One of the most important aspects of choosing a VoIP Provider is technical support. You are going to need this, a lot. A company's level of tech support is hard to nail down. You could ask the company for references, but how many of us have given out bad references. Again, I would search Twitter and the blogs for any clues.
Once you have decided on a particular VoIP Provider, you wanted to know "what is the best way to negotiate/haggle with the vendor". My response goes back to the brain surgeon analogy, if you haggle too much, you may have to settle for the next best brain surgeon. I am not sure this is a good idea.
Before you start haggling on price, determine exactly how much you are asking for and if it will actually change your decision. Are you just haggling for the sake of haggling, or is the lower price the only way you can sign a deal.
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