Finding a VoIP Provider Right for Your SMB


More small and midsize businesses (SMBs) today are replacing plain ol’ telephone service (POTS) key systems with VoIP. Why? Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers dynamic features that boost productivity and lower costs. 


If you currently use a POTS office key system, the odds are against finding replacement parts should it malfunction. Like it or not, your organization will soon be using VoIP.


Trust us, you want VoIP. More flexible and scalable than POTS, it offers myriad call management, mobility and collaboration features not available with legacy landline service. What’s more, VoIP costs less than POTS since it uses the same connection as your Internet.


Cost-Effective Pricing


Vendors charge divergent prices for VoIP hardware and installation as well as system management, maintenance and updates. When evaluating communications needs for your organization, don’t overlook budgeting for one-time and ongoing expenses. Avoid providers with “hidden” surcharges or extra fees for standard features such as voice mailboxes, custom messages, auto attendants and ring groups. Look for transparency in pricing and service.


Vigorous Cybersecurity Capability 


Since VoIP relies on an Internet connection, it’s subject to the same cyber threats as email and web browsing. Ensure that your VoIP provider follows best practices when safeguarding your organization against malware, phishing scams, etc.


Availability of Call Management Features


Below is a laundry list of features available with VoIP service packages. Not all are offered by every provider, or some may be considered “basic” while others are “advanced.” Make sure your provider offers features specific to your organization’s needs.


Basic


  • Caller ID
  • Voicemail
  • 3-Way Calling
  • IP Fax
  • Call Blocking
  • Call Forwarding
  • 411 or Phone Number Directory Search
  • Local Number Portability

Advanced


  • Remote Management by web portal
  • Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR)
  • Automatic Call Distribution
  • Unified Communication Platform (i.e., Voicemail to Email, Video Call to Conference Call)
  • Bandwith and Call Duration Monitor
  • Conference Calling (4-30 people)

Dependable Tech Support


You want reliability benchmarks of service and support. This means delivering VoIP over a “High Availability” (HA) network with 24/7 tech support that can be contacted via phone, email or live chat when needed. Support should also include disaster recovery (DR) planning in case of catastrophic system failure. A provider should detail what protocols are in place to address disasters and restore connectivity.


Third-Party Integration


A provider should allow your organization to integrate VoIP with third-party services such as applications, extensions, plug-ins/add-ons, and processes. These include Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce and apps found at Google Play Store or Apple App Store.


Make sure you completely understand the security ramifications of using any third-party application. Ease of data integration is also a consideration. Otherwise, your organization faces the daunting (and time-consuming) task of creating new databases or data transfer. 


E911 and Local Area Code Support


Since VoIP works differently from POTS, E911 should be available in case of medical or law enforcement emergencies. Local area code support means that inbound POTS calls to your organization will not incur toll charges.


Contact Info-link Technologies to learn more about our VOIP services for your business.

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