When choosing a VoIP provider for your business there are so many things to take into account: the size of your business, your business’ needs, your budget and otherwise.
Let VoIP.Guide give you the step-by-step lowdown you need in order to make the right decision for you, your business and your team.
Step 1: Assess Your Business and Situation
It goes without saying that businesses are like fingerprints – no two are ever alike, and each has its own needs, budgets and ways of doing things.
As such, before choosing a recommended VoIP provider for your business, you need to ask yourself some questions, and make some decisions:
- How many users do you have presently, and how many might you have in the near future – are there any planned upscales or downscales?
- What features are absolute must-haves, and which are unnecessary?
- What’s your budget?
It might be tough to have an exact answer, but as long as you have a general idea of your needs, then you should automatically be able to shortlist or discount some potential VoIP providers, who do/don’t fit your business’ needs.
Step 2: Research Part 1: Understanding the Types of VoIP Systems
Although it will likely come down to the provider’s add-ons and features, it’s best to have an understanding of the way VoIP systems operate, as these can seriously impact the monthly cost.
Particularly for small businesses, who might have tighter budgets and lower profit margins, a sudden or unexpected heavy expense – to fix the system, to add a lot of extra users – could be potentially crippling, and therefore best avoided.
Each type of VoIP system operates in one of three ways:
- Hosted – likely the cheapest option and often preferred by smaller businesses, in this system the VoIP provider owns the hardware, software and phone line, and the business acts as a renter, paying a monthly subscription fee to the VoIP provider.
- Managed – with slightly higher costs than the hosted system, the managed system holds the business as direct owner of the phone line, software and hardware, and the VoIP provider is responsible for software updates and maintenance costs. It’s a middle-ground solution.
- On-premise – this is the most customizable option, but also the most expensive: with this system, the business owns all software, hardware and phone lines, but is also solely responsible for updates and maintenance.
For some business owners, it will be immediately clear as to which system suits their company best. For others, there might be other factors to consider:
- How fast your business’ current internet is. Because VoIP systems run on the internet, you need to make sure you have one strong enough to handle the extra usage – if it’s not strong enough, your calls made using your VoIP system will be jittery and bad quality.
- The budget per user. This is especially important if you’re considering upsizing or downsizing in the near future – most providers will have stepped packages for extra users, but you need to check the costs of these before committing.
- The level of customization you’d like for your VoIP system. Bigger companies with more users and need for more features will likely want more customization, and should consider an on-premise VoIP solution. Smaller companies won’t likely need such heavy customization, and should consider a provider that fits their budget.
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Step 3: Research Relevant Providers
Once you’ve worked out the type of system that will be best for your business, it’s time research each provider.
You can either look at our in-depth VoIP provider reviews – we’ve done all the legwork, compiling our research according to features, price points and more. All you need to do is check out what we have to say and make your choice!
Otherwise you should be comparing user prices per month, as well as the stepped packages on offer. Then, you should check out what kind of features are included in the package, as well as any add-ons you’d want to have (and how much these cost).
Step 4: Compare Providers and Contact Them
By now, you should have more of an idea of which VoIP provider is right for you – it’s now time to compare your shortlist more thoroughly!
Here’s a quick checklist for you to run through when doing so:
- Price comparisons: how many users are included in the standard package? How much will user upgrades be? Which features are included?
- What’s the cancellation and renewal policy? If things go south, or very well, how much will it be to free yourself or renegotiate? Do you get any benefits for loyalty?
- Are there other fees to take into consideration and which could substantially push up the price?
Another way to compare providers is by contacting them. Test out their customer service, and even ask them the questions you’d like to know. You should soon get a feel for VoIP providers by doing so.
Final Word: Choosing the Right Business VoIP Provider for You
VoIP providers come in all shapes and sizes – just as businesses do. When choosing a VoIP provider for your business, it’s so important to take your business’ needs into account in various ways.
Overall, taking the time to do a bit of necessary research could benefit your business in both the short and longer-term – with slashed costs, optimized internal organisation, extra productivity features and more, VoIP is certainly the future of business communication.