How can enterprises identify the right VoIP solution provider?

Published on
Apr 28, 2024

COVID-19 has dramatically altered the way businesses work and communicate. A survey by Buffer states that 49% of workers are operating in a fully remote role. With so many individuals working from home, businesses are under increasing pressure to improve communication and collaboration among their geographically dispersed workforce.

Voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) has emerged as the go-to telecommunications solution for businesses to provide their employees with efficient tools for communication and collaboration. Therefore, finding the best VoIP provider has become essential for enterprises to modernize and streamline internal and external communications.

The VoIP market, however, can be tricky as service providers vary in quality. Poor call quality, limited scalability, high expenses, and security concerns are some of the issues that can make any telecommunications systems inefficient for enterprises. These problems can impact communication effectiveness, causing frustration for the company and its personnel, and reduced customer satisfaction.

This blog will cover some key factors for enterprises to consider while selecting a VoIP provider. It will also discuss pointers to keep in mind for enterprises to analyze and decide the best VoIP provider that suits their unique communications needs and requirements.

What is VoIP and how does it work?

VoIP enables users to place and receive phone calls over the internet instead of the traditional public switched telephone network or the PSTN. It transforms audio impulses into digital data packets sent over the internet and converts the caller's voice into digital data sent to the recipient's device through the Internet. The recipient's device receives the data packets and converts them back into audio, allowing the recipient to hear the caller's voice through the speakers on their device.

VoIP has grown in popularity due to its affordability, adaptability, and flexibility. Businesses have been adopting VoIP services at a rapid rate, suggests a report by Research and Market which also predicts that VoIP services to grow to $102.5 billion by 2026.

It is the best option for remote teams since it allows users to make and receive calls from any location with a reliable internet connection. This enables workers to telecommute to the workplace and work from home.

VoIP has completely transformed how we communicate and has distinct advantages over its predecessor: the PSTN.

Advantages of shifting to VoIP

The expensive cost of VoIP is one of its key benefits. VoIP calls are transmitted over the internet and are significantly less expensive than the traditional PSTN phone service. This is especially true for long-distance and international ca. Organizations switching to VoIP can expect to reduce their monthly telecom costs by up to 50%.

VoIP leveraging the internet to make phone calls makes it simpler for employees to stay connected from any device with an internet connection. In an increasingly mobile workforce, VoIP enables remote work options for businesses at no extra costs. Employees are not required to be in the office and can answer business calls from anywhere, globally. The effect of VoIP’s mobility can be understood from the report by Nextiva which states 87% of people are using mobile phones to communicate at work.[7]

VoIP’sscalability makes it a good choice for businesses of all sizes. Businesses can effectively control the number of VoIP users at the click of a button. This eliminates the need to add and remove expensive hardware and telephone lines whenever businesses want to expand or reduce their VoIP services. It is particularly advantageous for businesses that need to grow by hiring more personnel or opening new offices.

How VoIP aided the world in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 is an appropriate example to showcase the value and effectiveness of VOIP. When traditional phone networks were rendered useless, VoIP was utilized to establish a temporary communication network to connect rescue personnel with the Haitian government. This facilitated the search-and-rescue operations and saved countless lives.

Types of VoIP providers

VoIP service providers come in various forms, each with unique features and advantages. Enterprises must determine the type of VoIP provider based on their communication requirements.

VoIP-only providers: Companies that solely focus on providing VoIP calling services are called VoIP-only providers. These companies offer a variety of VoIP plans and features, such as local, long-distance, and international calling. The pricing options offered by VoIP-only providers frequently include pay-per-minute plans, flat-rate plans, and unlimited calling plans. Conference calling, voicemail, and text messaging are a few more capabilities that VoIP-only operators could provide.

Cloud-based VoIP providers: These businesses provide VoIP services as a component of a broader range of cloud-based business solutions. They utilize a hosted PBXsophisticated routing feature as the backbone of the telephony component. Aside from essential calling functions, these companies provide business call management tools such as auto attendants, virtual extensions, and answering rules.

VoIP with unified communications and collaboration providers: These businesses provide VoIP services as a component of a broader range of unified communications solutions. The term "unified communications and collaboration" describes a single interface for all collaboration and communication needs, including instant messaging, file sharing, virtual meetings, and VoIP calling.

Factors to consider before deciding on a VoIP Solutions provider

Communication relies heavily on the services provided by the VoIP provider. Businesses should pick a provider with a history of uptime and reliability that provides round-the-clock support. Whether businesses are shifting to VoIP for the first time or are looking to change providers due to inefficient services, the below tips will help gain an understanding of the type of VoIP provider and services that best suits their organization.

  1. Understanding the costs

When selecting a VoIP provider, the cost is a critical factor to consider. It's crucial to check prices from several providers and consider any extra costs, like setup or installation fees and recurring maintenance fees. Long-term contracts and the cost of early contract termination should also be considered if the company intends to switch service providers. Businesses should look for vendors who can offer competitive pricing without compromising product or service quality.

Businesses should also consider the overall worth of services in addition to the upfront cost. In the long term, a provider who initially charges more but offers more features or better customer service may save the business money. 

  1. Ease of scalability

Scalability is an essential factor to consider for growing businesses and for also those businesses with fluctuating communication needs. For example, a retail store witnessing a surge in phone calls and online orders during the holiday season will require a VoIP provider that can swiftly scale up to handle the influx of new users and traffic.

Enterprises should search for a VoIP service provider that offers flexibility with its plans and pricing, allowing companies to quickly upgrade or downgrade as their needs change. Selecting a supplier that can meet the company's present and future needs is critical, preventing the need to switch providers.

  1. Quality of service

VoIP service quality is critical for both customer interactions and internal communications. Businesses should search for a service provider that delivers top-notch audio and video quality and comes with a robust network infrastructure. The provider's network architecture can have an impact on the call quality. An overloaded or outdated network infrastructure can lead to poor call quality, dropped calls, or other issues.

When evaluating quality, the company's unique requirements should also be considered. For instance, a business that utilizes video conferencing frequently may want a provider with good video calling capabilities. 

  1. Compatibility with existing phone systems

If an organization already has a phone system, selecting a VoIP provider that can work in tandem with the existing setup is critical. This can help minimize interruptions and enable a smooth switch to a new phone system.

Businesses should consider software and hardware compatibility when assessing a VoIP provider's suitability. While considering software compatibility, businesses should search for a vendor that delivers software that is compatible with the existing operating system and devices. For hardware compatibility, organizations should ensure that the provider's hardware is compatible with their existing hardware infrastructure.

  1. Range of features

The range of features that a provider offers should be considered when selecting a VoIP provider. There are several distinct features that businesses may want to take into consideration depending on their unique demands and goals.

  • Call forwarding: If the intended recipient is not accessible, calls can be sent to another phone or voicemail. Businesses that need to guarantee that calls are always returned, even when employees are not in the office, may find this helpful.
  • Call waiting: This function enables employees to take numerous calls simultaneously and choose whether to put one on hold while taking another. Businesses such as call centers or help desks that manage a high volume of calls may find this helpful as it enables multitasking and increases productivity.
  • Voicemail: This feature records and stores call for future use. Businesses that need to keep a track of missed calls or want to ensure they don't miss vital messages may find this helpful.
  • Videoconferencing: This function enables online conferences and video calls. Businesses that employ remote workers or must hold meetings with clients or partners in different locations may find this feature helpful.
  • Cloud-based phone system: Because the phone system is accessible and maintained online, this feature enables flexibility and mobility. Businesses that need to access their phone system from any location and want to reduce the requirement for on-site gear need to ensure that their VoIP provider offers this service.
  1. Third-party integrations

Third-party integration is critical for businesses since it allows streamlined operations and increased productivity. As ales representative, for instance, can readily access client information and call history while on a call using CRM connectivity, avoiding the need to switch between various systems. This aids in sales productivity and enhances customer service. Similarly, integration with project management software can assist businesses in monitoring the progress of the project and improving team communications.

Understanding their employees’ unique requirements is also crucial for organizations before selecting a VoIP service. This will help narrow the selections and select a provider with the required capabilities and integrations. A VoIP provider with a broad selection of integrations is more flexible and suited to satisfy the demands of the business.

  1. In-built security features

When it comes to communication, security is a significant concern for organizations. Businesses may be exposed to data breaches, unauthorized access, and other threats if their VoIP provider doesn't take customer security seriously. Businesses should consider features like encrypted communications and secure servers when assessing a VoIP provider's security protocols. 

Another security feature to look out for is that the provider has data centers spread across different locations. A data center with multiple servers ensures services are always up and running, as backup servers can take over in the event of any malfunctions.

Enterprises should choose a provider that places security as their top priority and has the required security features for the volume of data and sensitive information they'll be handling.

  1. Global coverage of VoIP

Businesses with a global presence or that need to connect with clients, partners, or customers in different locations worldwide should consider global PBX service coverage. A VoIP provider with extensive worldwide PBX service coverage can assist organizations in making and receiving calls to and from anywhere without interruptions or issues.

Businesses should also consider the countries and areas the VoIP provider serves to ensure the provider is available in all the countries where the organization has its operations.

  1. Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) services

By integrating multiple communication and collaboration channels into a single platform, UC&C helps streamline communication and boost collaboration and productivity. Businesses should consider the communication and collaboration channel types when assessing a VoIP provider's UC&C solutions. They should also evaluate the platform's usability and compatibility with other company software and systems, as these factors may affect its overall functionality.

  1. Quality of customer support

Choosing a company with an outstanding track record of customer service is crucial since it can make a significant difference in the event of any problems or issues. Businesses should opt for a VoIP provider that goes above and beyond and offers 24/7 assistance with competent and accommodating customer service agents. A service provider that offers online tools and tutorials for employees to quickly troubleshoot any small problems independently is another desired quality to look for.

The communications system that any organization uses is crucial in fostering relationships with suppliers, partners, and customers. The strength of these connections will decide how successful the business can be. Enterprises must work with a service provider who will help fortify these ties.

Businesses can take the first step toward a successful and competitive future by selecting the best VoIP solution. Enterprises must adhere to strict quality protocols while searching for a VoIP provider with the experience, reach, and diversity of services to support the organization's growth.

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