Top things to consider when choosing your VOIP Provider.
VoIP is quickly changing from the ‘alternative’ business telephone system option to the standard choice for many industries. It relies on sending your calls, data and even images or video over the internet rather than over conventional telephone lines. The data is then turned back into standard audio and the call is routed through the recipient’s traditional phone system.
Businesses prefer VoIP telephone technology because of its amazing clarity, its unrivalled flexibility and the fact that it can cost substantially less than traditional phone systems, especially if your organisation makes a significant number of long distance calls or pays for advanced service features.
Of course, deciding to switch to VoIP is only half the battle. Next you have to decide which service provider to use. This guide will first go over some of the most important points most businesses and organisations should consider when choosing a provider, and then looks at the ten best UK VoIP providers in more detail.
How to Find the Right VoIP Provider
Each business or organisation has their own unique needs, and will require something different from their VoIP provider as a result. No single guide can tell you how to choose the ‘best’ VoIP providers for your own business, but this one will outline some of the most important things to consider when choosing between UK VoIP providers in general. Simply ignore the factors that don’t apply to your situation, or seem irrelevant to your business goals.
Does the provider offer flexible, scalable service?
Using your VoIP service requires a working internet connection. One of the things that is important to consider when choosing between UK VoIP providers is the degree of flexibility and scalability they offer.
For example, do they offer IP service as part of the VoIP package? If so, this can save you quite a bit versus using a separate provider. Do they offer any other services you are already paying another provider for, or services you may consider picking up in the near future? Look for things like collaboration and remote working options, if these would be of any use to your organisation. Another huge benefit that VoIP providers offer is the inclusion of IP desk phones within certain packages so this is something else to look out for.
Scalability is another issue. Most providers will happily increase the number of units or services they provide you under contract, but some will refuse to reduce your agreement (and the fees associated with it) until your contract has expired.
Speed is another huge consideration for modern businesses. Just as you need internet speed can make a massive different to efficiency and productivity of a workforce, so can your VoIP phone speeds.
How financially stable is this VoIP provider?
One of the things you will want to research about UK VoIP providers before selecting one is their financial state and their business history. Have they been in business long? What do their their debt and profitability situations look like? Are they a ‘plucky new start-up’ or a ‘dependable industry titan’?
Another thing to consider is their commitment to staying on the cutting edge of an evolving technology. Will they offer upgrades to their service and equipment quickly enough to satisfy your needs?
After all, getting an amazing deal won’t do you much good if they go out of business in 6 months or are unable to offer the latest upgrades. In fact, having to suddenly seek out a new provider and new equipment could cost you a great deal, both financially and in terms of customer confidence. It never looks good when your phones get disconnected so thoroughly researching your provider is a must if you want to future proof your business.
Do they offer on-premise, hosted service or both?
This is where it pays to know what is right for your business. VoIP providers who offer hosted VoIP services typically charge little or nothing up front, but their monthly, quarterly or yearly fees sooner or later add up to quite a bit. On the plus side, they tend to be very scalable, and take care of their own IT support, equipment upgrades and other ancillary issues, which can often save organisations without their own extensive IT resources quite a lot.
On the other hand, on-premise VoIP service providers typically only ensure that your connection to the outside world is up and running. You have to maintain (and often purchase or lease) your own equipment, including the server that handles all your VoIP traffic. This tends to cost a lot more than hosted VoIP services up front, but the ongoing fees are typically much lower. In the long run, on-premise VoIP services tend to cost less, especially for larger organisations.
What is the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the system(s) they provide?
Make sure you are looking at the full, real costs (the TCO) of the system you select. The best VoIP providers in the UK can give you TCO figures, which should include the costs of training, upgrades, personnel requirements and upgrades predicted for a period of several years. These can be a great deal higher than the quoted price of the system so well worth considering before rush to invest in a modern phone system.
What disaster recovery provisions does the provider have in place?
Say you elect to use a hosted VoIP service provider. What will happen if a flood or fire wipes out their data centre, or if they are hacked? Do they have reliable, redundant back-up systems and top-of-the-line security in place? If not, that ‘good deal’ might cost you more than you think.
How deep is their SLA (Service Level Agreement)?
Read all of the small print and try to speak with some of the provider’s existing and past customers. What is their contractual obligation when something goes wrong, and do they live up to that agreement in practice?
The best VoIP providers UK-wide will often exceed their SLAs, so keep that in mind as well.
How invested is the provider in their technology and support capacity?
Ignoring the brochures, commercials, and inevitable claims of being the ‘best VoIP service in the UK’, can the provider demonstrate a real commitment to staying on the cutting edge of the technology, and backing that up with effective customer support?
There you have some key considerations when choosing a VOIP provider. You can make your decision easy by using Quotehunt.co.uk today to compare quotes and save up to 40%/. We will connect you directly to the providers that count to enable you to find the VOIP solution for your business.