The variety of phone-service options for small businesses has become vast with new technologies. Mid-market companies can access nearly any feature and find an option that accommodates their business at a low cost. Unfortunately, VoIP providers are taking advantage of unprepared businesses to trick them into plans that appear to save money up front but cost substantially more over time. Here are 5 questions to ask before you lock in a contract with a VoIP provider.
1. What is your monitoring policy like?
When screening for trustworthy providers, you want to ask about their monitoring policy. The new standard is 24/7/365 monitoring. This means that they are monitoring and maintaining your systems at all times.
2. What is your average uptime?
You should definitely inquire about their uptime statistics. Ask what their uptime was the previous year. If it's anything less than 99.99% you should probably find a different provider. You want to find company that is very reliable.
3. How many data centers do you have?
If a company answers this question with only one data center, that is a bad sign. This puts your operations at risk if anything were to happen at that data center. At a minimum, a company should have two redundant data centers that are not geographically close to each other in the case of a natural disaster or other incident.
4. What is the call quality like?
Make sure that the company you are working with understands this question and can answer it with certainty. Often times, we have to fix problematic installs from hardware salesmen that do not understand how to properly install you phone system, assess firewalls, etc. You need certified network engineers to properly install your VoIP system to ensure quality sound and speed.
5. What happens when system failure occurs?
Now that we established that your VoiP provider has non-stop monitoring on your systems, you need to know what happens if a failure occurs. They should have an automatic failover system in place that forwards calls to another location or mobile phone if one of the phones stops working. This ensures that you still receive all calls while they fix the problem.
These are 5 questions to ask your VoIP provider before going into business with them. If they answer all of these questions in confidence, then they have passed the initial screening to be your provider. If you have any more questions or want to speak with a certified VoIP engineer regarding your systems, leave us a message here or have a CPI representative contact you.