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Choosing a cheap VoIP service in Auburn
For all the many capabilities and possibilities of VoIP, it’s probably fair to say that its headline selling point, especially with SMBs, is the fact that it can substantially reduce calling costs. It is, however, important to do so without sacrificing on call quality. With this in mind, here is a quick guide to choosing a cheap VoIP service in Auburn.
Start by deciding what VoIP services you actually need (or really want)
If you’re only (or mainly) interested in VoIP as a way of saving money on calls, then you probably only need a fairly minimal implementation of it. Essentially, you’ll be looking at replicating what you have already and possibly enhancing this with a few value-add services, especially if they’re available for free or at least at very low cost.
The chances are that your VoIP service vendor will include basic call-management services as part of the deal (for example voicemail, caller ID, and detailed call-logging/usage reports). Other services you might want to consider are conference-calling, video-calling, and call-recording. Conference calling is so straightforward to implement and has such obvious potential to be useful that it’s very rare for it not to be justified. Video-calling and call-recording, however, may need a bit more discussion.
In short, video-calling is massively bandwidth-intensive, but can still be worth implementing as an alternative to business travel. If you do go ahead with it, you may wish to consider putting strict limits on its use, to keep the extra traffic to a minimum.
Call-recording on VoIP is technically straightforward, but raises many legal issues, especially if you need to store the recordings (which companies generally will). Most calls will contain some level of personal information (for example, the names of the participants) and hence will be subject to data protection laws.
Decide if you also need Fax over IP
If you’re still using hardware fax machines then you almost certainly want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. If you still need the fax service, then Fax over IP is more secure, more affordable, and more space-friendly. Although it’s technically different from VoIP, most VoIP vendors support it. If you want to work with one which doesn’t, you could supplement your service with the help of a vendor who specializes in Fax over IP.
Define your minimum service standards
Now you know what services you need, you can set out minimum quality standards for them. This should include minimum standards for security and compliance. The reason for defining these standards early is that you want to avoid the temptation to set your standards based on what is offered by the VoIP service vendors with the very lowest prices. Set them based on your requirements and reject any VoIP service vendor who fails to meet them, no matter how competitive their prices are.
It’s also highly advisable to look for a VoIP service vendor with a good attitude towards service customers like you. The chances are you are going to need some level of customer service and technical support, especially in the early days, and, again, it’s worth paying to be guaranteed minimum service standards.
Of course, any guarantee is only worth anything if it’s put into a contract and any contract is only worth anything if it can be backed by real-world action. This is a strong argument in favor of sticking with local VoIP service vendors, i.e. ones who answer to the same courts as you.
Analyze your current calling/faxing pattern
You need to know your maximum calling volume so you can plan your bandwidth needs. You also need to know where your staff is calling/faxing to choose the most appropriate calling plan. Ideally, you want to split-out calls to intra-company numbers (including other branches), local calls, domestic calls, and international calls. You also want to split out international calls by country or at least by global region. Ideally, you’ll also see what percentage of your calls are to landlines and what percentage to cell phones.
Once you have this information, you’ll have a good idea of what you need from a calling plan. In short, you generally want something which covers your regular usage on subscription and has reasonable prices for services you use on an occasional basis. Resist any temptation to subscribe to additional services just because they look good and are available at a low cost, stick to what you need or really want.
Now would also be a good time to consider whether you’d like any end-user equipment you need to be bundled with your VoIP service contract and also whether you’d like your VoIP service vendor to manage the necessary hosting for you.
If you’d like to speak to one of the best cheap VoIP service partners in Auburn, please click here now to contact Salient IT.