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What you need to know about picking the best VoIP service in Sacramento
VoIP has the potential to be great for businesses, especially SMBs. It can reduce your calling costs and make it possible for you to streamline your processes. In short, for most companies, it’s well worth making the effort to switch. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to what you need to know about picking the best VoIP service in Sacramento.Set your own house in order before you make the switch to VoIP
A great VoIP service vendor can do a lot for you. They cannot, however, compensate for a lack of basic IT infrastructure on your side. Most companies, especially SMBs, are likely to need to make significant upgrades to their IT infrastructure before they can implement VoIP. It’s fine to pick a VoIP service vendor during this process. This can allow you to hit the ground running as soon as you are ready. Be aware, however, that a VoIP vendor’s service is, essentially, layered on top of your infrastructure, hence this needs to be in a suitable condition.
Understand your phone usage
For most SMBs, the most pragmatic way to implement VoIP is to start by replicating what you already have and then move on from there. This has two key implications. Firstly, that you hold off implementing any new features unless they are effectively bundled with a basic implementation. Secondly, that you ensure your call plan reflects your current usage and any firm plans you have, rather than being filled with features that may look impressive, but which have little, if any, real-world relevance.
The general rule of thumb is to look for a monthly subscription that covers your regular phone usage and reasonable prices on other services. You’ll probably find that your VoIP service vendor includes some advanced features for free, but it’s advisable to look at the details. For example, most VoIP service vendors will support voicemail but some will just store it as a message you have to access through your VoIP endpoint whereas others will also send it to you as an audio file in an email.
Think about your future plans and where VoIP fits into them
The ability to make affordable calls would probably have made VoIP a success on its own. There is, however, so much more to what VoIP can do – as long as your provider supports it. For example, you can use dynamic numbers as a telephone-based alternative to cookies. You can implement “click-to-call” links on your website. You can integrate your VoIP service with your CRM software.
Even if you’re 100% sure you’re not interested in any of the above, there are a couple of features you probably will want to consider carefully. The first is call recording. This is now so widespread that you could make a case for arguing that not having it is risky. If you are going to implement it you need to think not only about the practicalities of making the recordings, but also the implications of storing them. In particular, you need to think about your ability to demonstrate compliance with data privacy laws.
The other VoIP-enabled feature you may wish to consider is video-calling. When looking at this option, remember to focus on what works for your company not “what everybody else is doing”. Video-calling certainly has its legitimate business uses, but it’s only rarely essential and it absolutely gobbles up bandwidth. To put this in perspective audio-only VoIP needs about 0.1Mbps per line for a decent connection. Video-calling starts at 0.3Mbps per line and that’s for basic webcams.
For many SMBs, the most practical approach is to make sure that you can support video-calling for occasions when it is genuinely useful, but keep it for times when it is genuinely useful and schedule video-calls for periods when your network is generally quiet.
Make a shortlist of vendors and investigate their offerings
Given that your VoIP service vendor is likely to become an important partner for your company, it generally makes the most sense to stick with local vendors. This not only makes for easy communication but also helps ensure that legal guarantees actually mean something in the real world.
Speaking of guarantees, it’s important to check what guarantees a vendor offers with regards to the quality and security of their service. It’s also advisable to check what support they offer. How much of this is self-service and how much of it requires you to contact them? How do you contact them and what are their times to initial response/resolution?
Last but not least, see what flexibility a VoIP vendor offers for you to change your plan as your business develops and what would be the process if you decided to leave.
If you’d like to speak to one of the best VoIP service partners in Sacramento, please click here now to contact Salient IT.