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The Right Business VoIP Service in Five Easy Steps

September 17, 2013
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

To those businesses out there planning to make the jump from a standard land line phone service to a business voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, congratulations. These businesses are taking a very important step in terms of getting more tools available from a service that is likely to save money regardless. But those businesses have likely already noticed the sheer number of options out there in terms of providers, and picking just one can be a tall order. But in five simple steps, a business can have a much better shot at getting the right business VoIP service.

First, consider just what it is the business should get out of the arrangement. Is it better to have all the equipment under the business' control, or should the business focus on other things? That's going to help decide if a hosted PBX (News - Alert)—in which someone else handles the heavy lifting and the business gets the service and the monthly bill—or an IP-PBX will be right for that business.

Second, consider the overall quality of the Internet service available. VoIP runs on bandwidth, and will eat it up accordingly, so if the business is already butting up against a bandwidth cap or finding that the speeds can lag during heavy use days, an upgrade may be necessary in order to accommodate VoIP.

Third, consider the features. One great aspect of VoIP is that there are so many competitors out in the field that they are pretty much required to offer up a variety of options in order to distinguish themselves from the pack. This means it’s assuredly a buyer's market, and gives businesses plenty of options. These aren't just minor gimmicks, either, but powerful features that can give a business a lot of extra productivity. Look for things like hunt groups, which allow calls to be routed to different members of a team until someone can actually be reached, or instant conferencing, which allows a call to turn into a meeting with multiple users.

Next, consider what others have to say about such services. With so many competitors out there, knowing that one particular company stands ready to do the right thing if something goes wrong—or, by like token, is slow to fix problems—is well worth knowing. So be sure to read reviews of different services to help spot potential troubles ahead of time. A service offered by a company like Phone (News - Alert).com, for example, can offer many of the kinds of features that businesses want, like toll free numbers, local number services, caller analytics, conference calling and more to make the business VoIP service extra strong.

Finally, consider prices. Some can be ridiculous, others can be reasonable. Having a list of reasonable priced solutions a business can live with on hand may help win concessions from a more desirable provider that's asking for more money. Consider also how the provider is charging; some charge only for what's used, others a flat rate per month, and depending on how the service is used, can represent a disaster in the making or a terrific value. Again, (News - Alert) proves noteworthy here, offering both the lower-cost plan with a limited number of total minutes, but also offering unlimited plans with even shared minutes on one number.

Business VoIP can be a tough call to make thanks to the sheer number of providers on hand, but with these five points in mind, picking the right one for each individual business is much more likely.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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