One of the great benefits of VoIP is that there are a lot more VoIP service providers than there are traditional telcos. More competition often means better deals for customers. It does, however, also mean that customers have to think carefully about which VoIP service provider is right for them. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to choosing between VoIP service providers in Sacramento.
1. Start by thinking about what you need and how quickly you need it
For many SMBs, the number one priority is to reduce costs. This can usually be achieved just by copying and pasting their existing telephone set-up so that it works as a VoIP service. Once the savings on calling costs have paid off the upfront investment, companies can then move on to develop their VoIP service further if they wish.
Other easy wins could include conference-calling and video-calling to reduce the need for business travel and call-recording to improve both security and training. Companies might also want to look at Fax over IP (fax). Although it’s technically different from VoIP, the two services are natural partners. Many VoIP service vendors will happily support it. If you want to work with one who doesn’t, you can look for a Fax over IP vendor to plug the gap.
All of these services are mainstream and hence likely to be supported by most, if not all VoIP service providers. If you want to go beyond this, however, then your choice of VoIP service providers in Sacramento is likely to become more restricted. You’ll also need to be careful to partner with a VoIP service provider who understands SMBs rather than just being focussed on enterprise customers.
2. Decide how you are going to organize your bandwidth
There are basically three ways you can organize the necessary bandwidth. You can manage it yourself, in-house, possibly with help from other IT services vendors. You can use managed hosting or you can look for a VoIP service provider who can also manage your hosting for you.
Whichever option you choose, you need to be absolutely clear about your minimum standards for speed (upstream and downstream), latency, jitter, and packet loss. If you’re managing your network yourself, then making sure these are met is all on your IT team. If, however, you’re using some form of managed hosting, then you need to make sure that your requirements are set out clearly in your contract. You also need to ensure that your contract is enforceable in the real world. This is a strong argument for sticking with VoIP service providers in Sacramento.
3. Define your minimum service standards
In addition to setting out minimum standards for your network connection, you also need to think about minimum standards for the VoIP service itself. These should cover service quality, security, compliance, customer service, and support. It is dangerous to compromise on any of these, even a little.
Business VoIP systems need to have a service quality that makes them indistinguishable from a regular telephone system. They also need to protect confidential and/or personal data at least as well as the regular telephone system does. If you want to implement call recording, then there are even more legalities to consider, especially if you want to store the calls, which, realistically, most companies will.
It’s also strongly recommended to stay with VoIP service providers who have a good attitude to customer service and support. In fact, ideally, they should have experience dealing with companies of comparable size and in a similar, if not the same, industry sector.
4. Work out what equipment you will need and how you want to source it
Your main decision will probably be the choice between softphones and VoIP handsets (or a combination of both). Softphones tend to be the more budget-friendly option as they are generally provided for free (or at a nominal cost). You will, however, generally need headsets to go with them.
Softphones, however, are not necessarily the right choice for everyone. For example, if staff members are away from their desks a lot, cordless VoIP handsets may be a more practical option. Even desk-based staff may prefer the clear visibility of a VoIP handset over finding an app on a screen.
If you’re implementing conference calling, then you’ll probably want speakerphones and if you’re implementing video calling, then you’ll need webcams.
All of this equipment can generally be either purchased upfront or bundled with a service contract. Buying upfront may get you a better deal, but having your hardware bundled with a contract will allow you to spread the cost.
If you’d like to speak to one of the best VoIP service providers in Sacramento, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.
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