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VoIP now covers a large range of technologies and therefore there are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right VoIP provider. Providers can range from small resellers to giant telecom blue chips, and while the size of the business generally isn’t important, determining what they specialise in and if the business is an expert is important.
VoIP phone technology now covers basic landlines, unified communications, call centres and remote solutions.
Defining Your Communication Needs
VoIP Phone Lines
Although there is no exact end-of-life for traditional phone lines, we expect PRA, FRA and BRA phone lines to be switched off by 2025. Businesses that are still using these technologies should be looking at upgrading to either VoIP phone lines or a VoIP phone system.
VoIP does require a certain broadband speed to be able to carry a clear signal. For businesses that do not have this, it’s best to speak to a provider, to plan and ensure that your business will remain connected when the switch-off takes place.
Choosing which solution is best, depends on a few factors such as the volume of calls you receive, how many users answer calls, and do users work from remote locations.
The right VoIP provider should listen to your requirements and provide the solution that achieves your goals, not theirs.
VoIP phone enables so much more than calling. The next step up from VoIP is Unified Communications. Unified Communications provides countless productivity gains through telephony and non-telephony features.
If your discussions revolve around non-telephony features, your focus should narrow to a unified communications provider, rather than just VoIP.
Call Centre Software
For businesses with high volumes of inbound or outbound calls, a call centre solution may be suitable. Call Centre solutions still operate using VoIP phone lines, but users handle calls through the software’s interface.
Call centre solutions provide tools that manage calls when their numbers are higher than the number of agents. This may be through queues, callbacks, IVRs and other features. The goal is to keep customer satisfaction high, even when calls cannot be answered immediately.
If you operate a call centre or could benefit from contact centre services such as wallboards and call recording, check whether your VoIP provider offers VoIP and contact centre services via the same platform. Ensuring the same platform takes care of cross-platform charges and generally offers a higher rate of availability.
Support is essential for all businesses, make sure your VoIP provider can offer you support when you need it. Whether it’s during the night, on bank holidays or 24/7/365.
Ticketing systems make following up on support queries a lot easier. Check the support and ticketing process the provider has in place and make sure it meets your needs.
Check their website and support pages and make sure it’s clear how you and your staff can get in touch. You want to see listed phone lines and email addresses and clear links to a ticketing service.
Reliability and Call Quality
There’s no point in having cheap calls if the service isn’t available, or if the service engineer considers your office home. When choosing a VoIP provider enquire about downtime and the number of incidents in the last 12 months.
No VoIP provider is exempt from faults. This is where you should look for built-in redundancy so that if the worst happens, your service will remain running.
Service-level Agreements (SLAs)
When things do go wrong, you want some guarantees that they’ll be put right. Service level agreements are signed agreements that state that you can be reimbursed if the provider cannot achieve their agreed level of service.
When problems hit the network, the owner can provide SLAs for investigation time, critical faults and downtime. While some SLAs can be given for free, some are only given for premium service packages or additional costs. You’ll have to weigh up the cost vs necessity for your business.
Protection and Security
Like all Internet-based products, VoIP is no different when it comes to security. You need it. Fraud is very common in the telecom industry and while you take steps to protect yourself from this, it’s important to know that your provider has your back.
Check to see if your provider offers fraud protection. Providers can put blocks on the specific high-charging number and country ranges, where you know no calls should not be going. Providers can also add spend limitations on accounts so that no more calls can be made once a limit has been hit.
in2tel offers free fraud protection on all customer accounts.
Phone Number Porting
When you move provider, you don’t want a new set of phone numbers. Changing phone numbers means informing customers, updating content and increasing confusion. All these things can be avoided if your new provider can bring your existing phone numbers over to their network. This is known as “porting”.
There are different types of business numbers out there and to port a number an agreement has to be in place between the two providers. You want to make sure the provider has porting agreements with your existing provider.
Talk to the VoIP provider before starting the service with them and be sure you are confident in their capability to deal with your phone number.
Make the Best Decision for Your Business
No matter how much reading you do, becoming a VoIP expert in a short space of time is impossible. That’s where in2tel can help, we won’t bombard you with sales pressure, we’ll provide you with the advice you need and give you an honest answer.
in2tel offers a wide range of VoIP services including landlines, call centre software and unified communications. It’s been in business for over 17 years with most of the directors having 25+ years of experience in the telecoms industry.
If you would like some free advice from one of our agents, feel free to start a live chat conversation or drop us a message on the live chat, contact form, or by phoning us for free on 1800 91 1800. Even if we can’t offer you what you’re looking for, we’re always happy to help.
in2tel is a telecoms carrier and solution provider that’s been operating in Ireland and the UK for 17 years. It provides organisations with an affordable, bespoke design that is often found in large-scale enterprises. in2tel’s services provide communication channels for contact centres, sales and marketing teams and internal departments for a large variety of small businesses and SMEs.