Moving to VoIP creates all kinds of opportunities for businesses. Getting the most out of these opportunities means having the right VoIP service provider on your side. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to choosing between VoIP service providers in Auburn.
1. Decide who will manage your bandwidth
You’ll only know how much bandwidth you will need once you know how much VoIP traffic you will have and you will only know how much VoIP traffic you will have once you know what VoIP functions you will be implementing and how many people will be using them. That said, you will definitely know that you will need a lot of high-quality bandwidth, which somebody will need to organize and manage.
It’s probably fair to say that relatively few SMBs are going to have the ability or inclination to do this in-house so, in practice, most, if not all, will be looking at some kind of managed-hosting arrangement. The question then becomes whether to organize this separately or as part of the VoIP service contract.
The answer probably hinges on whether or not you already have a directly-managed hosting service in place. If you do and you’re happy with it, then you may simply wish to upgrade and just use your VoIP service provider for VoIP functionality. If you don’t, then you might want to think long and hard about the potential cost savings of organizing your own hosting versus the hassle of having to find and manage two separate IT service vendors.
2. Decide what VoIP functionality you want and by when
There are basically two reasons to implement VoIP. One is to cut your costs and the other is to improve your business processes. The latter will probably also cut costs and./or improve profitability in some way, but it may be hard to measure exactly how.
If you’re looking to implement VoIP to reduce costs then the chances are you’ll be looking at a fairly “bare-bones” implementation. In fact, essentially, you’ll probably be looking at a fairly close copy of your existing telephone service, possibly with some enhanced call-handling features and perhaps some value-add services which can help to reduce costs in some way. For example, conference-calling and video-calling can both help to reduce the need for business travel. Most business-facing VoIP service providers will be able to cope with this.
If, however, you’re looking at deploying VoIP in a contact center or deeply-integrating VoIP with other systems such as with a Unified Communications strategy, then you may find that you have fewer VoIP service providers from whom to choose. You’ll also need to be sure that you are choosing a VoIP service provider who understands small businesses, rather than one who is focused on enterprise customers.
That said, if you’re prepared to start small and build your development in stages, you could open up your initial vendor selection process to VoIP service providers with more limited technical capabilities and change to a new VoIP service provider further down the line, if it became necessary.
3. Decide if you need to Fax over IP
If you want to keep a fax service, then it makes sense to switch to Fax over IP at the same time as you switch to VoIP (or as soon as possible thereafter). Most VoIP service vendors will support this. If you want to work with one who doesn’t, there are specialist Fax over IP vendors.
4. Decide your minimum service standards
There are three sets of standards you need to define. These are technical service quality, customer service, technical support, and security and compliance. The bar should be set high on all of them, particularly security and compliance.
To be clear, if you are trying to keep costs to a minimum, then the strategic approach is to implement fewer services while maintaining standards, instead of lowering standards so you can afford more services. In other words, it’s better to implement a few services very well than a lot of services badly.
5. Decide whether you’re going to use softphones or only VoIP handsets
If you want to use softphones, then you’ll need to get them from your VoIP service vendor. The quality of softphone clients varies quite a bit as does their effectiveness on mobile devices. It’s therefore highly recommended to test out a softphone client before deciding whether or not you want to commit to it. If you find that you like a VoIP service provider but don’t like their softphone client then you have to decide whether you like them enough to pay for VoIP handsets or whether you want to move on.
If you’d like to speak to one of the best VoIP service providers in Auburn, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.
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