You took the wrong exit off of the freeway, now you’re lost in a bad neighborhood and your door locks are broken. That’s what it feels like when you choose the wrong VoIP provider. So how do you get back on the freeway and headed in the right direction?
We’ve taken the opportunity to map out the six questions you need to be asking to get yourself back on the road to success.
1. When was the last time your service went down, what was the root cause, and what did you do to make sure it would never happen again?
No one is immune to service issues, however your provider’s ability to solve problems will affect how you do business. As a customer you are looking for a plan of action from their operations team for how they monitor and react to alarming conditions. You also want to understand the call path they use and note if there are single points of heightened vulnerability that will put your connection at risk.
2. Do you proxy media?
You need to have an understanding of the media path that your calls will take. By proxying the media path your provider limits potential disruptions. This is also the road that leads to the lowest jitter and latency in your connection. RFC compliance plays a part in quality too, a provider who can accept liberally and send strictly will serve you best. This question will enable you to dig into that topic and test their knowledge.
3. Are these rates too good to be true?
When implementing VoIP you can expect to save 15-30%. Many companies search for a VoIP provider who is cheap, but once you start experiencing outages and deteriorating quality the impact on your business will outpace initial savings. Reliability comes from a solid infrastructure and strong functionality that bargain providers who use grey routes and rely on other carriers to connect calls can’t offer. On the other hand, don’t overpay for your service. Quality and reliability stop improving at a certain price, but your expenses could continue to increase.
4. Do they offer pre-paid or post-paid service?
This might not seem like an important element to choosing a VoIP provider, however pre-paid service protects your account against fraud by limiting your exposure to existing account credit. If fraudsters gain access to your post-paid account the potential damage is almost limitless. You never know when or what kind of protection you will need, choosing a provider who has quality fraud prevention in place will make all the difference.
5. Can your support team read raw SIP packet captures?
Test the team that you will be relying on in a crisis with detailed questions. Know their hours, where they are located, how many support engineers there are and their response times. Don’t learn the hard way that not all support teams are created equal.
6. Which features and functions will I need to call you to to activate and manage?
Determine from the ‘get-go’ what level of control the provider gives you. Meaning, is the interface easy to use, how easy is it to make updates, add DIDs and modify services and features in real-time. When done effectively IP-based calling can cut your communications costs, maximize bandwidth, interconnect disparate technologies and give you a level of control that you haven’t had before.
Don’t let finding the right voice provider be a daunting task. Use these criteria to ensure you are only enabling positive innovations in VoIP for your company and your customers.