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Choosing between VoIP service providers in Davis
Businesses have held onto their traditional landlines for far longer than consumers, but they are now, finally abandoning them in favor of VoIP. The main driver behind this is that VoIP can do a lot to reduce calling costs and streamline business processes. Your VoIP service provider will be a key part of making this happen. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to choosing between VoIP service providers in Davis.
Define what you want and when you want it
At a basic level, VoIP can be used as, essentially, a like-for-like replacement of an existing landline telephone service. This is really all you need to benefit from lower calling costs. At its most advanced level, VoIP can integrate with many business processes to make them run more effectively. This can make your business more competitive and hence improve your bottom line, but it can be quite difficult to quantify the results in financial terms.
Many VoIP service providers are focused on a core market of companies that basically want a limited feature-set at a competitive price. This is probably the majority of SMBs as this is the part of VoIP where the obvious cost-savings are made. If you want to go further than this, then you are likely to find that your pool of potential VoIP service providers shrinks noticeably.
Because of this, it’s important to be realistic about the speed at which you can push ahead with your VoIP development. If you’re happy to take it fairly slowly, then you might want to open up your selection process to VoIP service providers who can meet your immediate/short-term needs even if they can’t meet your longer-term ones.
This could be the way to access the most competitive prices and hence recoup your initial investment as quickly as possible.
Remember to think about any knock-on impact to your business
If your landline telephone provider also provides other services then you’ll need to think about how the switch to VoIP could impact them. This may influence the amount of money you have to spare for your VoIP implementation and, hence, could potentially impact your choice of VoIP service provider.
Similarly, you’re going to need to decide what to do about any fax machines you still have. Realistically you have a choice between getting rid of them and implementing Fax over IP. Although this is separate from VoIP, most VoIP service providers will support it. If you want to work with one which doesn’t, you can use a specialist Fax over IP vendor to fill the gap.
Assess your bandwidth requirements carefully and decide how to meet them
Managing bandwidth is probably the single, biggest challenge of VoIP in a business environment. As a minimum, you need to be able to ensure a fast, reliable, high-quality connection at all times. If you are in a business where call volumes vary throughout the year, then it is very desirable to be able to scale your bandwidth accordingly. This is not usually practical in a data center, hence some form of managed hosting is often the better option.
The question then becomes whether to organize the managed hosting separately from the VoIP service contract or whether to look for a VoIP service provider who can manage the hosting. In principle, the former gives you more flexibility and control and may result in a better price. In practice, it may be more convenient just to have your VoIP service provider take care of all your VoIP-related requirements.
Assess your equipment requirements and decide how you want to source what you need
Even if you’re planning to base your implementation around softphones, you’re still going to need some hardware and it’s worth investing in good-quality equipment. For example, if you’re using softphones, you’re going to need headsets. In fact, ideally, you’ll have wired headsets (not Bluetooth) with short, well-insulated cords and decent padding on the earpiece(s). Poor-quality headsets make for poor-quality audio and this can increase your bandwidth usage, for example by making people repeat themselves.
Softphones are not necessarily going to be the right choice for everyone. For example, staff members who move around a lot will probably find cordless VoIP handsets more convenient than softphones, even with mobile options. You may also want speakerphones and webcams for conference-calling and video-calling respectively.
As with the bandwidth, you can source these yourself and you may get a somewhat better deal by doing so. On the other hand, having them included as part of a contract would allow you to spread the cost.
If you’d like to speak to one of the best VoIP service providers in Davis, please click here now to contact Salient IT.