Whether you’re moving offices, upgrading outdated landline phones or are simply frustrated with your current carrier, there comes a time in business when you need to find a new phone system and service provider.

And given technology these days, you may think this is an easy plug-and-play purchase. But it’s not. Cliche as it may be, this is one area where “you don’t know what you don’t know.” If you make the wrong decision, you could quickly find yourself in Telecom Hell with:

  • Poor call quality or dropped calls.
  • Equipment that doesn’t work or doesn’t integrate with the rest of your business.
  • A monthly bill that starts out unbelievably low but steadily increases throughout the course of the contract, costing you way more than it should and shrinking your bottom line.

We know this because we see it all the time. Before you waste precious time, money and resources on a bad VOIP decision, here are four critical questions to ask every VOIP company you’re considering:

Tip #1: What is the Total Cost Per Month—Including Taxes and Fees?

Ask your sales rep to provide a written proposal that details ALL of the monthly charges—including taxes and fees—so you know exactly what your cost is going to be. Your sales rep may say, “Sorry, we don’t know what the taxes and fees are going to be.” That’s not true, and it’s a red flag. Walk away. Why? Because many VOIP companies make a tidy profit by padding the bill with various taxes and fees. Be sure you know what you’re getting into from the get-go.

At Open One, we always provide a written proposal that includes your total monthly cost. We have nothing to hide and no questionable fees to try and explain.

Tip #2: Who Does the Installation?

Will the company you’re considering deliver and install the equipment for you? Most companies drop-ship the phones to you and then expect you to do all the work.

You have to figure out how to install each phone.
You have to set up all the extensions, the auto attendant and call groups.
You have to troubleshoot, often by relying on video tutorials.
Who has time for that? Probably not you.

Most of the big-name players are set up for companies with 100+ phones, not small businesses. So ironically, they make it difficult for smaller clients to access tech support by phone. Instead, they try to send you to video tutorials or a learning wiki.

At Open One Solutions, we have a team on the ground right here in Chicagoland. We have telecom professionals who bring the equipment to your office, install everything and conduct in-person training.

Tip #3: Do You Provide Ongoing Support?

Think you can suffer through a do-it-yourself installation and then not have to worry about it? That may work for a time. But what happens when you need to move an extension, when you add a new employee, or when someone leaves your company—especially if it’s the one person in the office who has become phone system expert?

If you’ve signed on with a large company, you’re back to troubleshooting on your own or trying to “sneak” your way into tech support. Think you can call your trusty salesperson to help you out? Likely not. The average tenure of a telecom salesperson is a fleeting 6 months.

At Open One, we are here for you from day one and every day after. We can come back anytime to train new employees, add new extensions, set up new equipment, etc. You’ll never have to waste your valuable time trying to solve phone issues. You run your business. Leave the VOIP to us. That’s what we do all day, every day.

Tip #4: What is Your Cancellation Policy? Is There a Penalty for Canceling?

Most VOIP companies will hold you to the contract, even if you’re completely dissatisfied with the service, phones, equipment, etc. Once you sign their agreement, you’re locked in and you’ll have to move mountains to get them to let you out of it.

At Open One, we want to do everything we can to earn and keep your business. But if things just don’t go right and you’re dissatisfied, we have a no-questions-asked, 30-day guarantee. Within the first 30 days, you can return the equipment to us (must be in “new” condition) and find a different service provider. If it’s beyond the 30-day period, we will do everything we can to work through the problem(s) with you. But if we cannot, we’re not going to hold you to contract because, if you’re unhappy, it means we haven’t done our jobs.

Whether you’re looking for a new phone system now or down the road, use these questions to save yourself from Telecom Hell with billing surprises, rigid contracts and DIY troubleshooting. Instead, you’ll be armed with the information you need to find a VOIP company that believes in quality customer service.

Want to start your search today? Reach out to Open One Solutions for a free consultation and proposal. We’ll take the time to learn about your business, what your needs are for a phone system, and then we can provide a custom-tailored recommendation specific to your business.