How to choose VoIP provider for small businessesby Rachel Dsouza Sales
It's hard to believe that it was just a few years ago that the mere idea of VoIP for small businesses was laughable. But VoIP is much more than a passing fad, and the number of providers has increased tenfold in recent years.
So how do you choose? In this article we will explain how to find the right provider for your company by considering cost, features, reputation, knowing whether you need managed services and which vendor technologies they support.
When choosing a VoIP provider, the most important factor for many businesses (especially small ones) is cost. The three main factors affecting cost are:
To get maximum savings, it's important to keep an eye on all three factors. Before signing up with any provider, compare the costs of their best plan with those of similar plans from other providers. You can do this by looking at our Product Directory – just click on the 'Price' column to sort by lowest price first.
Features are important too
Some VoIP providers offer a lower price but fewer features, while others charge more but provide more value. To choose the plan that's right for you, you will need to decide how much money is worth spending on 'bells and whistles' versus saving on the cost of service. Below we've listed some features that are helpful to many small businesses (and pointed out which providers include these). You can also find a complete list of features listed for all VoIP providers by clicking the 'Features' tab in our Product Directory.
Voice mail – there is no substitute for voicemail, especially if your phone number has become disconnected because you did not pay your bill or your service provider disappeared. However, the cost of your voice mailbox is based on how many messages you have, so the more you use it, the more you spend. Before setting up and paying for a voicemail service, check to see if there is a free or nearly-free option that can work for your needs. (See below.)
Transfer calls – more than half of small businesses don't have a dedicated phone line. If you are one of these companies, consider paying extra to have your calls transferred to another number in another location. This will allow you to call customers from your office without having to pay long-distance charges and it can also help protect the privacy of your business's customers. (See below. No providers are currently in our directory that offers this feature.)
Ring groups/broadcasting – if your business has multiple extensions, you may want them to ring at the same time – for example, if you have an office in two locations. This can be accomplished by using 'ring groups' which allow you to simultaneously ring multiple numbers on different extensions. If your customers need to speak to someone but it's not convenient for them to call your multiple extensions, consider setting up 'broadcasting' so they hear a recorded message saying that they need to press 1, 2, or 3 for instructions on how to reach the appropriate person. (See below. No providers are currently listed in our directory that offers this feature.
Avoid free services – there are several free and nearly-free options that can work for small businesses. Many of these companies offer only a few minutes of usage, or they require that you set up additional services such as an answering machine or a website that is not very useful to your business. In order to ensure that you always get the most value for the money, avoid any free plans at all costs.
VoIP can be tailored to fit the needs of any business, and it's important for small businesses in particular. The cost-effective system is a great way to save money on your monthly communications expenses, while also providing you with an easy-to-use platform that reduces downtime from employees waiting for customer service calls or messages. It’s never been easier than now to make the transition over to VoIP and we're ready when you are!
Created on Aug 4th 2021 13:09. Viewed 287 times.
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