VoIP technology has been growing in the telephony sector and there are now a number of different options available for businesses that want to make the switch from their normal PBX service to VoIP. It is starting to become more commonplace with UK businesses as well, which means you have many providers out there who offer this kind of service. However, it can be difficult for some business owners to determine what kinds of issues they should be looking out for when trying to choose the best VoIP provider for their businesses. It can seem like a really daunting task at first, simply because these kinds of matters are so new and comparatively few people know about them or understand how they work – but once the basics have been grasped and big picture factors considered, then you can begin to assess the finer details and determine for yourself which VoIP services are the best ones for your business.
To get started, let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects that need to be considered in advance. This article will give you an understanding of how VoIP works and allow you to make a more educated decision about what kind of provider is right for your organisation. When you’re done reading this, you’ll have all the knowledge necessary to know exactly what kinds of things should be examined when trying to choose between two or more different business VoIP providers UK.
You have to be familiar with the technology
The first thing you should know is that VoIP works by using a voice over internet protocol. This means it transmits your business phone call over a data network, and this has some major implications for how things work in terms of call quality and reliability.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP is essentially a software package designed to help you make use of your existing Internet connection for voice services. VoIP works by splitting the data signal from an IP based system – the kinds which are used on the web and when using e-mail for example – and sending it to your phone in such a way that this audio can be heard. The biggest benefit with VoIP providers is that they offer you complete freedom, so there are no specific lines or circuits required here, as everything relies entirely on your high speed Internet connection.
When shopping around for the best business VoIP providers UK, you need to consider things like their call quality and reliability. This is particularly important when it comes to businesses which rely on telephony services a lot, because in most cases they have far lower tolerance levels than home users. In many ways, a business customer is exactly the same as a residential one – except that they have much stricter requirements for call quality and reliability. If this kind of thing does not sound very important to you right now – bear in mind that having poor call quality means your employees cannot get their work done properly. There are no more excuses for glitches during conversations about sales targets or client orders!
If you want to shop with your eyes closed, then go ahead – but in the world of VoIP that is not a very smart thing to do! It’s better to educate yourself beforehand and make an informed decision. You should be familiar with how VoIP works, and you need to understand all about the technology which is used on both ends of the conversation.
Now that we’ve covered call quality and reliability, it’s time for us to take a look at other big picture factors that can come into play when choosing between different business VoIP providers. These are some major things which have to be taken into consideration before selecting any one company over another:
Bandwidth – If your business requires high bandwidth, then you have no choice but to use IP PBXs. Otherwise, you should consider traditional business phone systems. After all, VoIP requires much less bandwidth than running a traditional PBX.
Price per line – You need to look at how many devices you can connect to your business VoIP service. What’s the difference between this and the number of users? Here is where we get into the specifics with regards to both hardware and software for SIP phones, handsets etc.
Service Level Agreement (SLA) – An SLA refers to an agreement made between individuals or business partners, detailing the quality of services expected by each party involved in a transaction or any kind of work environment. The term ‘Service Level’ has been used since long before anyone had heard about VoIP products and services, so it’s important to understand its meaning in this context. For a business VoIP provider and their customers, SLA provides certain guarantees of quality support and responsiveness. Some providers may offer you an SLA which is unlimited, while others will make you pay extra for such things as additional phone calls or missed appointments.
Minimum contract period – A long term contract could be ideal if there is no way you can ever imagine terminating your relationship with your VoIP service provider. However, it also means that the provider has much more power over you than they would have otherwise. And remember – just because they are offering you a very low monthly fee right now does not mean that they will do so forever! If anything happens to disrupt this flow of money – you could find yourself paying much more than you originally expected. The best approach is to look into the various available business VoIP service providers in detail and see how much freedom they are willing to give you.
Network – Make sure that your VoIP provider offers redundant routes between all their servers, switches and routers. A network partition is a region where two or more logical networks exist independently from each other. You might be familiar with this concept if you have ever seen an incompletely connected region on your computer screen when connecting via a dial-up connection due to complete signal loss. Route redundancy ensures that there will not be any downtime for those who depend on the system being up at all times, because a backup route automatically kicks in when the main route is not available.
Many business VoIP providers are trying to lock you into a contract for several months, and they will usually offer you a break on monthly fees if you commit to such an arrangement. However, if this approach means that you have very little choice about whether or not to stay with them – then it’s more like being held at gunpoint than anything else! Make sure your provider gives you the freedom to switch plans within 1 month of signing into any long term business VoIP service agreement.
Price – If there are so many different choices out there, how is one supposed to choose between all these companies? At the end of the day, it boils down to price vs quality. Look for a VoIP provider that offers the best combination of price, quality and service.
Service fees – It is important to understand all hidden VoIP business connectivity fees before choosing a VoIP phone solution for your business. For example, if you are looking into an on-premises PBX system or IP-PBX (Internet Protocol – Private Branch Exchange), there might be setup costs which are not included in the quote you get from your supplier. You could end up paying more than necessary because many suppliers will charge extra for their software or other services you were not aware of upfront. The same thing applies when comparing cloud and hybrid solutions where it’s often much cheaper to rent equipment than buy it outright; but only as long as you only pay for the time you are actually using it.
Guaranteed VoIP service quality – All software and hardware has configuration options which can be considered when specifying your business telephony needs. Weigh up all the pros and cons of the available solutions to find an optimal solution that perfectly suits your requirements.
To get more information about choosing your VoIP phone solution, visit our website: www.menetalk.com