If you’re still using the traditional telephone system, then you probably see switching to a VoIP service as one of your top priorities. There are two parts to making this transition successful. The first part is to make sure that your network infrastructure is up to the task (or that you have a capable hosting partner). The second is to choose the right VoIP service partner. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to choosing the best VoIP service in West Sacramento.
1. Start by analyzing your current telephone usage
For completeness, if you’re using a mixture of landlines and cell phones, look at your usage for both. You may not be able to eliminate cell phone use but anything you can do to reduce it can result in even bigger cost savings than landlines. Look at your usage throughout the year so you’re clear on your peak periods and what they mean for your phone service. In fact, if possible, look through a few years of bills to confirm whether or not there is a pattern. Then think about your plans for the future and what they could mean for your call usage.
2. Think about what functionality you need and what functionality you want
It’s probably fair to say that many SMBs want to implement VoIP purely to benefit from lower-cost calls and that’s entirely reasonable. It’s also fair to say that any decent VoIP service partner will offer a basic selection of useful services as part of any calling plan. As a minimum, you can expect them to support everyday functions such as call logging, caller ID, and voicemail. Some of them may even enhance these services slightly, for example by sending voicemail messages directly to your email so you just have to click to play them as standard audio.
VoIP, however, is capable of a whole lot more. Realistically, its most advanced features are only likely to be of benefit to the very largest of SMBs and enterprises, but there are plenty of “mid-level” features, which could be useful to regular SMBs. These include functions such as dynamic numbers, click-to-call, conference-calling, call-recording, and video-calling.
In principle, you can incorporate any and all of these (and many more) rights from the get-go, if you so wish. In practice, it’s often best to start by replicating your existing phone system and perhaps adding on a few relatively quick wins such as basic conference calling. Let this bed in and then move on to more advanced functionality, if there is a genuine business case for it.
For completeness, while security and compliance should be high on your list of considerations in any case, this holds particularly true if you’re planning on implementing call recording and/or video-calling as both raise additional security and compliance issues.
3. Define your quality and security standards and shortlist vendors which guarantee them
Even in the 21st century, a phone is still an essential tool for most businesses, especially SMBs, many of which market themselves on their ability to deliver more personalized service than large enterprises. This means that SMBs can, literally, only afford to work with VoIP service vendors which are prepared to guarantee the highest standards of call quality and security. This is one area where any compromise is likely to work out as an expensive mistake.
4. Look for evidence of a commitment to customer service
More accurately, look for evidence of a commitment to serving customers like you. Some VoIP service partners can support customers of all sizes and capabilities. Many, however, are geared up either to SMBs or to enterprises. The latter may be great at what they do, but a lot of what they do is likely to be completely irrelevant to the average SMB. What’s more, companies that focus on enterprise clients are likely to assume a fairly high level of in-house technical expertise, which may not apply to the average SMB.
You can generally get a fairly good idea of a company’s commitment to customer service by looking at how easy it is to access their services. For example, how much can you do through their account-management interface? Do they have a customer service phone number and/or live chat and if so what hours is it open? If you have to raise an online ticket to be contacted what is the response time? How easy is it to get hold of their technicians? Will you have an account manager?
You can also learn a lot about a company’s attitude to service by seeing what kind of flexibility they’re prepared to offer. In other words, will they adapt as your business needs change or will you have to commit to a long term contract? What is the process for exiting the contract?
If you’d like to speak to one of the best VoIP service partners in West Sacramento, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.
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