With the broad adoption of Hosted or Cloud-based VoIP in full swing our clients frequently ask us how we determine which Hosted VoIP provider to recommend. A great question, right? What are the Top 5 Key Factors for Comparing VoIP Providers?
Well obviously all the regular individual client business priorities need to be considered, priorities such as price, feature requirements, timeline for install, service reliability and ongoing customer service responsiveness, but in the remainder of this blog article we identify and discuss 5 additional important factors we like to consider before recommending a provider to any of our clients.￼
The 5 key factors often overlooked are as follows:
- Engineering Design Support
- Implementation Support
- Project Management Support
- References, Proven Expertise & Focus
- Financial Stability
Engineering Design Support
Given there is no longer a “phone guy” responsible for programming your phone system the way you would like it to handle your inbound calls, this is now the responsibility of your Hosted VoIP provider. Do they assign a knowledgeable network and voice engineer to complete a full network design review with you and your IT vendor?
Do they formally document that network infrastructure as well as your desired call flow as part of their standard practice? If this engineering review is not a part of their standard process, and if this documentation is not part of their standard deliverables then we are unlikely to be recommending their services to any USA Voice & Data clients. Too much can get overlooked without the proper engineering reviews and documentation.
USA Voice & Data has worked with many companies implementing a number of different service providers’ hosted phone system solutions. This has allowed us to see firsthand how each provider handles each part of the implementation process differently. Some providers do a really great job in preconfiguring the solution and all the equipment prior to shipping it for installation, others not so well. Do they have their own technician “feet on the street” to complete your install or is it all done via third party or even left to DIY?
Do they provide onsite training, remote training via web conference or just leave quick cheat sheet instructions on how to record voicemail greetings, how to use the most basic features and a customer service number for any additional questions? Before recommending any provider USA Voice & Data makes sure we understand what assistance the provider gives with the configuration of the cloud phone system, what resources they will provide to manage the installation of the new equipment (QoS router, switches and IP handsets) and then what training they will provide for both administrators and regular users of the new system.
Project Management Support
Some providers do a good job scheduling every part of the install, others not so well. Some providers do a great job itemizing and working through outstanding items until they are all resolved, others not so well and this can cause significant delays in the completing an install and service turn-up. Does the provider you are considering assign a project manager responsible for coordinating the entire implementation or is that something you need to do? Also what support do they provide post-install, and is that just phone support or is support also available 24 x 7 via online chat?
References, Proven Expertise and Focus
Do they have excellent references? Providers often try and “wow” you with a bunch of big “Logo” clients but check multiple references and be sure to ask for reference clients of a similar scale and implementing similar functionality to your own. Also make sure you understand how long the provider has been providing this solution.
USA Voice & Data favors providers whose business is focused primarily on delivering Cloud Phone Services as this focus typical translates into more robust processes, smoother installs and better long term service. There are a million pretenders getting late into this Cloud VoIP marketplace, including some of the largest regular providers (such as the ILECs and Cable Companies). We try and steer our clients away from these providers and to those who have proven themselves and are responsive to our clients’ needs.
Are they financially stable and have they been offering these services for at least 5 years? Lots of providers are jumping on the Cloud VoIP bandwagon, but many of them do not have much experience implementing and managing their platforms. Like with any new, popular and rapidly adopted technology we have seen an explosion of Hosted or Cloud Phone Services start-up companies all trying to “get a piece of the action”.
Many of these companies despite their expertise and experience lack the necessary financial backing to make the necessary investments in their infrastructure and employees to support their clients during their explosive growth. If you are moving to a Cloud based solution for your telecom needs make sure you select services from a company with the necessary financial backing to survive explosive growth.
USA Voice & Data only recommends Cloud phone solution services for our business clients from companies who have significant financial backing and a proven track record for delivering quality services.
Are you replacing your phone system and considering moving to a cloud-based phone system solution? If you are please contact USA Voice & Data and we will help you evaluate your different solution and provider options. We can provide you a Brokering Report detailing your provider options and a competitive pricing analysis. As an independent telecom services broker, we not only guarantee the best prices, we can also help answer any questions you may have about the providers offering the service. Call us today at 312-604-3070, or email us at email@example.com to get started.