Hosted voice provides various benefits to your communications, such as easy scalability and low initial investment. You may also add a few features that improve business processes, such as call forwarding and digital receptionist. Hosted voice offers a wide berth for flexibility but choosing a service provider may prove challenging.
Questions to Ask Your VoIP Provider
How do you know whether you’re partnering with the right technology company for hosted voice? All services are not created equal, so you’ll need to ask a few questions before choosing:
Who handles their customer service?
You want to invest in a hosted voice that’s backed up by high-quality support. If a company outsources their customer service, this indicates that controlling costs may take priority over service and may not offer the level of support you need. Look for live, active support personnel, one-call resolution, proactive monitoring, and various customer service access options.
What happens in a worst-case scenario?
A hosted voice service should have a well-developed disaster recovery strategy as part of a bigger business continuity plan. Find out how they handle more routine problems like network congestion and how they prevent more significant crises, such as a security breach and natural disaster planning.
How do they differ from consumer-hosted voice?
Consumers increasingly see the cost-savings benefits of hosted voice, so make sure you’re getting business-level service and features. Look for full network redundancy and voice traffic prioritization. Get beyond the marketing. Many hosted voice services include the word “reliability” in their marketing verbiage but don’t accept that claim without some additional information to back it up. A record of accomplishment of at least 99.99% reliability is the standard you should look for in a service.
What types of unified communications tools do they offer?
Even if you do not want to invest in collaborative tools right now, you will want the option in the future as unified communications become more commonly accessed. Look for a hosted voice that offers good Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) mobility, which means that it’s easy for a number to travel with a handset or mobile device. You can also determine which unified communications tools might appeal to you, such as call recording and video conferencing.
What value can they bring to your business?
Any VoIP provider must be able to explain the technical value they can bring to your business in a straightforward way. You should be able to understand the specifics of their recommended technology and why it is essential. It is equally necessary that your VoIP provider understands the nuances of advanced technology well enough to speak in “plain English.” The ability to make the complex says a lot about the firm and its experience.
Can they deliver services proactively?
You want your VoIP service provider to solve problems when they arise. Wouldn’t it also be nice if they were thinking about potential issues? You’ll want to make sure they are thinking ahead about things that could cause problems down the road. For example, make sure your third-party provider tracks when software updates are needed or when licenses expire.
How long has the company been in the industry?
Don’t underestimate the importance of this question. Yes, you can look on their website, but what is said will tell you a lot about the team’s values. Do they answer the question factually and move on? Or are they confident to share details on some of their long-standing customer relationships? It could be a red flag if a firm has only been in business for a few years.
On the other hand, if they have an extended history and only a few customer references, it could be a warning. Ideally, you want a partner with the experience and customer relationships that highlight their ability to partner for success.
When you are hiring an employee, you make sure they have reliable references. You should approach any third-party relationship with the same diligence.
Choosing a hosted voice solution is about much more than cost. You need to know your business is in the right hands, with the right provider who will connect you with the voice solution your business can use well into the future. Contact us at BlackPoint IT Services for more information.