Whenever questions about VoIP rates, features, and reliability are raised, answers generally depend on your VoIP service provider. VoIP service providers do not offer the same VoIP experience, so you need to do some serious research before you commit to a particular one. This is especially true if you will be using VoIP for your business, because the consequences won’t just be annoying—they can be catastrophic for your company.
There are, however, a lot of possible choices available, and picking the right one can be challenging. In order to help you make the right choice, here are some important things you should be looking for in a VoIP provider:
The stability of the service provider is what you really need to consider first and foremost. It can be annoying for residential users when a VoIP service company goes belly up—you may not be able to get your money back and you have to take the time and trouble to find a new and hopefully better one. But a business can suffer disastrous consequences when it suddenly loses its telecommunication capabilities because their service provider has suddenly closed down.
Cost of service
Lots of VoIP providers highlight the low costs of their services when they advertise, but the advertising copy may not be totally upfront about what you have to pay. Aside from the monthly cost of the VoIP service, is there a fee for the setup? What about the phones and other equipment—are you buying them or renting? And do you have to pay extra? How much do you pay for local calls, and how much for international—are there different rates for different regions? Are there special features like call waiting or conference calls, and how much will each cost? If you want to terminate your subscription, do you have to pay a fee, and how much will this cost?
All of these questions should be answered so that you will know just how much you will be paying for your VoIP service.
Quality of the service
Now we’re going to the heart of the matter. Not every VoIP provider offers the same kind of clarity. You may have to ask current customers of a particular service provider to know if the VoIP service is easy to use and if the calls are crystal clear. As much as possible, you want your calls to go through as seamlessly as when you use a regular phone to make your calls.
Other things to consider here are the extra features, such as caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, voice mail, and conference calls. This may be part of the standard package, or it could be an extra feature that you’ll have to pay for. Find out which of the features you need are offered by the service provider.
You should also ask about the VoIP’s compatibility with emergency calls. This is taken for granted with landline telephones, but some VoIP services may not be as easy to use when you need to dial 911.
Finally, you need to have reliable support when something goes wrong. The best service providers should be able to send over a technician to help solve your issue. Sooner or later a problem will come up, and local service is better than online or over-the-phone support.