With such a variety of providers to choose from, how can you secure the best VoIP provider for your telephone answering service?
Here are my top 5 tips:
Do they understand the answering service industry?
The most important aspect in choosing a VoIP provider is ‘do they understand my needs?’
As an answering service, you require a slightly different setup than most suppliers will be used to providing. Most of their customers need only a handful of telephone numbers (DDIs), each with many extensions. You require the opposite. As each of your clients will require their own DDI, you need to ensure there is nothing stopping you from adding more and more to your account.
Also, if you are using dedicated answering service software, you will expect your VoIP service to support call ‘popping’ – where a client’s details ping on screen depending on the number the caller dialled. This can only work if your VoIP provider/virtual PBX sends to you both the caller’s number AND the telephone number they dialled, with each call. Sounds straightforward, but we have seen several cases where this was a deal-breaker.
Cost vs package
It’s obvious that the price matters when considering a suitable vendor for any service. However, with VoIP services, it’s worthwhile asking as many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ you can think of when requesting pricing as many charges will be hidden at first. Think about what might be required in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years etc.
Things to consider:
- Is support included?
- What are the costs per additional extension/DDI?
- Do they get cheaper as I buy more?
- Are there administrative charges for making changes?
- How much is voicemail and call recording?
- Do they charge for additional storage?
Also be wary of promotional pricing – look beyond, and check how much you’ll paying after the deal is done.
Customer care has been a hot topic for many years, but it still remains key to picking a suitable vendor. If you have to click more than once to find a number to call, or if you have to wait more than one minute to speak to someone who can directly help you, then move on to the next one.
Sales people will always be diligent in responding to you and picking up the phone, but support might be a different story. When you’re trialling, test the waters with their support teams and see how they fare.
The ability to run your business = the ability to answer calls.
When choosing your VoIP provider check how they handle service failure, data loss and security breaches, and then ask what they do to resolve or prevent them. Then read as many reviews and testimonials as you can tolerate. You need to trust your phone system.
The final thing to consider is what phones each VoIP provider supports. Many suppliers will have deals with manufacturers to promote specific handsets – this isn’t necessarily a problem, but make sure you have some form of choice. If your chosen handsets aren’t supported, then you may be left to dry if a problem occurs somewhere down the road.
Also, certain answering service software (such as nCall) only supports certain handsets, so it’s important to consider all the variables.
I hope these tips were useful. Though, with so many quality providers to choose from, it may just come down to price!