Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers a number of benefits that make it a clear winner over the traditional private branch exchange (PBX), such as little or no initial investment, predictable invoicing, scalability and the option to invest in a wide variety of features through unified communications. Before choosing a hosted VoIP provider, there are a number of considerations that small business owners like you should include in the decision:
Company needs: There are several areas that should match up between you and your hosted VoIP provider. Make sure they can support the number of concurrent users you need to support, as well as scale up or down with you as you grow or have seasonal influence on your communications. On the flip side, work through what your network will need to support the solution. Your goal is to identify whether both the provider and your network can support the right number of users with a high level of call quality.
Equipment: If you’re an existing company with a legacy PBX, talk with the VoIP provider about the possibility of using your old equipment with your new hosted VoIP. If you need to access equipment, compare the cost of purchasing phones or other equipment with renting them.
Controlling costs: Talk with the provider about the total cost of ownership. Check into whether the pricing you’ve been given is a short-term promotion that may not run the length of your contract. Once you’ve confirmed all the pricing, find out what onboarding support is offered, because some of the hidden costs of hosted VoIP can emerge during a rocky implementation process.
Ongoing support: Many hosted VoIP providers talk about the support they offer during implementation and what you should expect in terms of everyday troubleshooting and support. It’s reassuring to know that you will have support should you encounter a problem.
Business continuity and disaster recovery: As frequent headlines relating to cyber security and natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey reveal, the business continuity and disaster recovery policies of your hosted VoIP provider could prove critical during a crisis. Find out what your provider has in place in terms of offering seamless service, even if their primary systems become compromised.
You should also find out what kind of notice you can expect should your provider decide to no longer support the solution you’re using. If they go out of business, how will you support ongoing communications for your staff and customers?
There are a lot of important conversations necessary around the selection of a hosted VoIP provider. Considering the central role of communications technology in any business, these considerations are critical to your ongoing success.
Contact us at eXemplify to discuss leveraging the best hosted VoIP solutions for small businesses. We can help you navigate the decision, taking into consideration the many nuances of communications technology.