To get a pro’s advice on how to know if you and your VoIP provider are compatible, Flowroute talked to Mark Crane, VoIP developer and creator of FusionPBX. FusionPBX is an open source FreeSWITCH GUI that can be used as a hosted PBX, carrier grade switch, call center server, fax server, VoIP server, and much, much more.
Over the years, Mark has been involved with about 50 VoIP carriers. He’s seen what works and what doesn’t and has lived to tell the tale. When it comes to reviewing VoIP carrier service, you’d be hard pressed to find a more knowledgable expert.
Mark knows when it’s time to kick your current provider to the curb.
Mark says too many VoIP users have been burned by providers that suddenly shut down, like iCall and sipgate. Even if you get notice, evaluating new solutions and porting out numbers is a significant drain on time and resources. If you don’t get notice, or are unable to react before a closure, you will lose your phone numbers.
So what are the warning signs of VoIP carrier failure?
Bad quality is bad for your business and your carrier’s.
Your customers need to be able to hear you. Pay attention to call your audio. Is it choppy? Is there always static on the line? Does it take a really long time for calls to connect?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are, they won’t last. And even if they do stay in business, poor quality audio is no way to represent your company.
Strong support is key.
If you lack the internal expertise (or easy access to it) to manage your VoIP connection, you’ll want a provider with responsive, knowledgable phone support to assist with any issue that may arise. Mark suggests auditing your provider’s support by tracking response times and their willingness/ability engage throughly in your issues. I.e. can they troubleshoot your SIP end to end over the phone, or do they respond with, “it’s not our problem” in a email?
Mark said organizations serious about support will survey customers to make sure they’re getting it right and to find areas for improvement. If your provider isn’t interested in your opinion, they’re not really interested in you at all, just their profit margins.
Businesses often conduct supplier reviews to make sure there’s still good chemistry. But Mark says most organizations get too comfortable with their telephone service provider, faults and all. It’s why so many companies are caught without working phones when their carrier suddenly shuts down. If you’re suffering through poor quality or can’t get the support you need from a provider on the brink of existence, it’s time you found someone new.