It's seems every day another provider of VoIP services pops up. There's at least 1100 of them. How does a small business decide what VoIP Provider to use?
My guess is that it's the first one to knock on his door that he trusts. It's not like VoIP (or any technology) is on the front burner of a small business owner, especially right now. Survival is.
So when a salesperson knocks on his door and brings VoIP to his attention, what 7.5 things should the small business owner consider when choosing a VoIP Provider?
- Is if the VoIP Provider is financially stable. That's difficult to determine, since most are privately held.
- What Experience does that provider have delivering VoIP? How long have they been providing it? And to whom? In other words, get a couple reference accounts to talk to.
- What softswitch are they using to deliver the service? Why is this important? If it's proprietary, will it scale? How do you get bugs fixed? How do you migrate to another carrier? And what happens if the programmer dies or leaves the company?
- How redundant is the service? Are their dual data centers that are geographically diverse? How does it fail-over? One of the key selling points of Hosted PBX is that it is good for business continuity - but only if the provider has a DR/BC plan as well.
- Only industry experts worry about security, but it would be a question to ask just to listen to the response.
- What kind of support will the customer receive? For how long? How much will it cost?
- Is the provider On-Net or will the voice traffic being using the Internet? This will be a factor in your call quality.
7.5 Is this vendor a good fit for your needs?
A really talented telecom agent (otherwise known as a Net-Head) will be able to help a business owner choose the best VoIP Provider for the needs of the organization. These questions may be overkill for some businesses, but it's a framework to start with.