What should you consider when choosing a VoIP provider? Read our simple tips and do your own VoIP comparisons before making your decision.
VoIP phone service is a fast growing business. Numerous companies offer VoIP service to residential and business customers. These companies may vary in size and services, but professional VoIP reviews are very few. Therefore, choosing a VoIP provider seems to be a difficult task for many people. Here are some simple tips to help you compare individual VoIP providers before making your decision.
1) Price – Many people look at the price first and choose the one offering the lowest price, thinking that they get a good bargain. Price should never be your first priority when choosing a VoIP provider. With keen competition in the market these days, the price difference among different service providers is minimal, probably differing by only a few dollars per month. You should consider your need first and find the VoIP provider and service plan that best accommodate your need, then compare the price.
2) Service – Having good quality and reliable service is probably the most important criterion when choosing a VoIP provider. What is the point to sign up for the cheapest service but fail to get a quality phone call? However, bear in mind that the quality of VoIP service depends on the quality of broadband connection. If you use the VoIP service from standalone VoIP providers, make sure that your broadband connection is also up to standard.
3) Customer support – Many of you may encounter some technical problems when you first install a VoIP phone. Make sure the VoIP provider provides good customer support including 24 hours phone support 7 days a week.
4) Satisfaction guarantee – It does not matter how much research you have done beforehand, sometimes, you just need to try the service to see if you like it or not. Most companies do require you to sign a 1 year contract and a penalty fee will be charged if you unsubscribe before the contract period ends. Choosing a company that provides 30 days satisfaction guarantee can protect you from any loss. If you don’t like their service, you can terminate it without a penalty.
5) Company size – It is usually safer to choose a market leader than smaller companies. Large companies are often better run and they have more sophisticated equipments and facilities than small companies. In addition, you don’t want your VoIP provider close down suddenly and have to go through the selection process once again.
6) Service plans – There are many VoIP service plans to choose from. Some provide unlimited local and long distance calls; some even provide unlimited global calls to international cities. Some plans are designed for residential customers, while some are for small businesses or large corporations. Choose a plan that most suitable for your need.
7) Local area codes – Find a VoIP provider which can offer a local area code. Otherwise, your friends living in your area will be charged for long distance calls when they call you using an analog phone.
8) Additional features – Call forwarding, call waiting, conference call, caller ID, call filtering are all very useful bonuses. Make sure the VoIP provider provides these features for free.
9) E911 – VoIP phone service operates differently from analog phone. Make sure the VoIP provider offers E911 service (enhanced 911). The enhanced 911 service allows your personal information like name and address to be given to your local dispatch center automatically. Remember to update your address with your VoIP provider when you move so the dispatch center can reach you immediately during an emergency.
10) Reviews – There are a few sites listing customer reviews which can be used as a reference. However, please bear in mind that these reviews can be tainted and since the quality of VoIP service is affected by other factors (e.g. quality of broadband connection), it is not uncommon to find both good and bad reviews for the same company. If in doubt, you can always call the VoIP companies to express your concern and ask for clarification.