Switching over to VoIP services can be a daunting task for small businesses that do not have the time or resources that larger organizations have. There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a new VoIP service – whether your business is looking to upgrade from an analog system or to replace your current provider.
Research Small Business VoIP Different Alternatives
In general, you should avoid on-premise systems, as they can be too expensive to set up and maintain. For really small businesses that need phones for just 2-4 people, a forwarding service may be sufficient. Cloud hosted VoIP services like OnSIP will be more suitable for firms with 5+ employees. Know your choices and select a vendor that caters to your requirements.
Ask About Phone Number Porting
Your business may have been using the same phone number for years, and it is familiar to customers and partners alike. Make sure to ask your vendor if the number can be ported and how long the process will take. Although some vendors might not have numbers in the particular area code that you want, generally you should be able to take your number with you, whether switching to a hosted PBX or an on-premise system.
Get a Demo or Tour of the Business VoIP Admin Portal
Any VoIP service will provide an online dashboard that allows users to turn features on and off. Employees should be able to understand and easily navigate the interface. Ask the vendor for a demo or even a trial period so that you can test the service before making a commitment.
Examine the VoIP Service Provider's Contract Terms Closely
Before you sign anything, examine all the terms in the contract and clarify any doubts you might have. Some of the important aspects that you should be clear about include service guarantees, lock-in periods, payment schedules and refunds. Ensure that the various conditions are understood in the same way by you and the provider to prevent problems in the future.
Understand Different VoIP Service Terms like ‘user’, ‘change request’ etc.
Even though there are some commonly used terms in the VoIP industry, every provider tends to define them differently. Ask the vendor what it would cost to add a new employee, a new number, or a desktop phone. Some providers will count extensions as a new seat and charge the full price while others will follow a prorated billing system. Similarly, some services will enable clients to add a new number themselves while others will require a change request that can take days.