January 11, 2011

How to choose a Business VoIP Provider?

What is the best way to find a VoIP provider that you can afford? is the question always in our mind, when selecting VoIP provider.
I know as well as anyone this can be a very daunting task. There are a number of VoIP providers to choose from, so the task of deciding should be based on which VoIP Provider offers the most real value for your money.

5 things to consider when choosing your VoIP provider

First: Make accurate price comparisons

As with anything, you should consider price. Monthly VoIP fees for a single user can vary from $24.95 to $59.95 depending on the VoIP provider you are considering and the VoIP Features included. The lower the monthly fee, the less likely you are to get extra features and support from the VoIP Service Provider.
For instance, some of the less expensive VoIP plans may not allow you to place calls outside of their network or your minutes may be capped at a certain amount every month. If you exceed your monthly cap, your calls are metered and you will be billed on a per minute basis for calls that exceed your monthly cap . This is certainly something you want to keep in mind as you consider your options.

Second: Determine the VoIP features your business must have

Make a side-by-side list comparing the VoIP Features offered by the VoIP Providers you are evaluating.  VoIP Features vary widely from Provider to Provider. You should determine what VoIP Features are most important to your company and make sure they are a feature that is offered by the VoIP Provider you choose and is there an additional charge for this feature. Features like voicemail and call waiting are not universal to all VoIP plans, make a list of those features and make sure the VoIP Provider you choose offers those features.

Third: E-911 Service is Critically Important

Not all VoIP providers offer emergency services or E-911 access. This is a critically important factor in your choice of a Business VoIP Provider and one that can have a significant financial impact to your company if the VoIP Provider does not offer this feature. E-911 is the method VoIP Providers use to notify the police in the event of an emergency. If this service does not work perfectly, and this has happened, the police will not be able to respond to an emergency at your office location. You or an employee of your company could suffer great bodily harm, or even worse, if the police are unable respond to an emergency at your office location. A law suit is almost sure to result from this situation and even though it may have been the fault of your VoIP Provider, you can expect your company to be named in that suit.
If you plan to make your VoIP phone the primary phone in your home, then you should try to select one that is offering E911 as a service. That is the technology that is used to determine where you are when you call 911 on your phone. If, on the other hand, you plan to use your cell phone as your primary phone and then the VoIP as a secondary line, E911 capability may not be a big deal to you.

Fourth: Technical Support

Technical support should be a primary consideration when choosing a Business VoIP provider. Some companies will charge you extra for support, while others will not. Most of the companies don’t charge you for basic technical support, but most charge when support requires an on-site visit from a technician. One of the key benefits of Hosted VoIP is that an on-site support visit is rarely required. One of the most important support questions you should ask your VoIP Provider is “What are your hours of support?” A quality Business VoIP Provider should have live support available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Fifth: Number Portability

Lastly, check into number portability. Most businesses want to keep their current business phone number. The telecommunications Act of 1996 made the transferring of phone numbers a US Law. This law recognized that a businesses phone number is an important asset of that company and made a businesses phone number an asset of the company they can take with them even if the change phone companies. The law requires companies to transfer phones numbers to other providers when a customer makes a request to transfer a number
AVAD's Hosted VoIP PBX allows your business be more productive and avoid the hassles and expense of buying and managing your own phone system. We allow you to push the operation and expense of your communications service to us, and we bundle together all the services you need on a single bill - including voice service and phones, broadband service, local and long distance calling minutes, hosted email, and hosted web services.
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