Do get all your VoIP services from the same provider. That means your phone service, internet access and phone equipment (unless you’re using your own business phone system or PBX).
Don’t go with a “bring your own internet” service provider. If you do, this is what will happen: You’ll have call quality issues and when you call your VoIP provider, they’ll tell you that the problem is your internet connection. And when you call your internet service provider, they’ll tell you to contact your VoIP provider.
Do shop around. Like a lot of things related to the internet, there are some companies that aren’t necessarily qualified to be providers. They throw a soft switch in the phone company’s wire center and consider themselves a facilities based phone service provider. These companies rely on the phone company for connectivity and another companies’ internet access. They have no visibility of the network that they want to connect their customers to. Even if they did they can’t repair anything besides their switch. If a company tells you that can use your own internet connection or your own hosted phone equipment say, “thanks, but no thanks”. When you shop, you tend to learn more about the technology you’re shopping for. If you don’t have time to shop, utilize a telecom consultant.
Don’t think that more bandwidth will cure your ills. Bandwidth is only one element that can affect call quality. It does help to have an adequate amount of bandwidth but if other variables aren’t kept in check, adding bandwidth won’t help.
Do insist on Quality of Service (QoS). This is the only way to secure quality voice communication from a VoIP service. To achieve QoS, a provider must supply all the elements that make up VoIP: the internet, the phone service and phone equipment (unless your equipment is premise based). The provider must be able to control variables like jitter and latency. The internet uploading bandwidth must be adequate and voice traffic must be given priority over all the other traffic that spans your network. The first thing you should ask a potential provider is whether or not they will provide QoS and ask them to put it into writing.
Don’t get your lead from services like Vonage and Magic Jack. These are down and dirty, best efforts VoIP services that promise nothing but a savings over your current phone bill. They’re barely residential services. If I had a friend that insisted on calling me on his Magic Jack phone line, I would probably stop answering his or her calls. Do you like echoey phone conversations or when the person you’re speaking to hears what you just said half a second after you said it? Why would you want to subject your customers and potential customers to that?
Do listen to the experts. If you meet with a few providers and some are making it sound super simple, promising big savings and not asking you about your business or current setup and computer network – beware. If another person is insisting on setting up all your services (phone, internet and equipment), is less focused on price and savings and asks you about outlets and drops – he or she is not trying to be difficult. That’s the person you can trust; he or she is experienced and understands what’s necessary to assure quality. VoIP is a sophisticated technology. If the person you’re speaking to is making it sound very basic, he or she probably isn’t experienced and should be avoided.
Don’t buy business VoIP from the SkyMall. You can’t buy a proper VoIP system over the phone and through the mail. A potential provider should complete a site inspection before that company provides pricing. If a company is promising a one size fits all solution and uses terms like “plug and play” hang up the phone, click off their webpage and look for an expert.
Do buy Hosted VoIP from a Hosted VoIP provider. Incumbent phone and cable companies, like Verizon, Comcast and CenturyLink are not good choices for hosted phone solutions; it’s not their core competency. They went into the hosted business for the wrong reason – they were losing business from competitors – not the correct reason – they had a good product and service to offer. They attempt to have call center reps sell their service and offer to “drop ship” your equipment and claim that it’s “plug and play”. Too much can go wrong: no outlets or the wrong outlets, phone number porting issues, faulty equipment, are just a few examples. I’ve experienced 8-hour installations and that’s with experts involved.
Do contact CarrierBid. CarrierBid professionals have years of experience, worked with just about every provider option and been through just about every possible experience. We’ll locate the best solution, at the best price, and then help manage the installation. If something goes wrong we’ll be there, as your advocate, to make things right. After your VoIP service is in and working, CarrierBid will provide ongoing customer support.