Every time I hear this question it reminds me of the scene from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where the Grail Knight tells the German scientist to choose the chalice of Christ and upon his choice and after the German disintegrates the Knight says… “he chose poorly.” I’ve written this article to help you avoid choosing poorly with respect to your Business VoIP Provider. Knowing exactly what your requirements are ahead of time will make the transition fast, easy, and cost effective.
Each and every Business VoIP Provider will have a slightly different list of services, feature sets, and associated prices. The reality is most people use the same basic few features which are common in every Cloud Business VoIP Provider.
Before choosing a Business VoIP Provider it is important to look at two areas being your Internet Provider and your local LAN.
- With respect to your Internet Provider you need to insure there is sufficient consistent bandwidth to support VoIP. Today we have found in most major Metro areas the Internet will support VoIP. It typically takes 85K per call to support VoIP in its native state of g711. Therefore doing the math you need to multiple 85k by the number of concurrent calls which will tell you how much bandwidth you will need for VoIP.
- As for your LAN you will need to insure both your switch as well as your router are VoIP ready and will support VoIP.
In both cases, Open One Solutions can advise you. I always recommend having a professional come out and assess whether your network is VoIP enabled and if not, what needs to be done in order to support a Business VoIP Provider.
Now once we know the network is ready then these are some of the questions to ask a potential provider:
How Long have you been deploying Business VoIP?
This is important to know if they have the true understanding of how to deploy, troubleshoot, and support a VoIP Solution.
Open One Solutions has been deploying Cloud VoIP since 2004.
Does the VoIP Provider provide a professional on-site installation and training? Do they have local techs which can provide on-site service after the deployment? What does their support look like?
This is important as many companies simply will just drop-ship their phones with simple instructions on how to set-up your solution, and many others are simply agents which just sell some other solution and don’t have dedicated service professionals.
Open One Solutions has our own dedicated service and support team members.
What are the startup & recurring costs? Are there any hidden fees? How much are taxes as well as other fees? Will you provide me an exact quote which will include all of the taxes and fees?
This is very very important to get a quote which includes everything including take, fees, and any other charges. We have found companies which typically lead with an aggressive monthly number tend to charge the highest in taxes, fees and other erroneous charges. We have seen taxes & fees range from 32% to over 48%.
Can I keep my current numbers? What is the cost to keep and port them?
Open One Solutions allows you to keep and port your existing numbers as well as we also allow number portability so if you should ever decide to leave we will let you take your numbers with you.
Is there a money back and or Satisfaction Guarantee?
Open One Solutions provides a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.
Is there a contract? Are there any cancellation fees? What are they?
It is important to know and understand the cancellation process.
Open One Solutions typically offers a month to month agreement with a 30 day written notice of cancellation required.
Which features are included at what pricing level? What are extra features and their associated cost?
We have found some providers will lead with special pricing for their service and find the required features such as voice mail and find-Me are excluded. Even we have found some which charge for your minutes of use.
Open One Solutions offers over 50 standard features and will provide you with a compete list of standard features.
When my internet connection is down what happens? Will my calls automatically be rerouted or will I need to contact the provider?
Open One Solutions will automatically reroute calls to another number including cell phones.
Are you selling your own solution or are you an agent of another Cloud VoIP Provider?
This is important as if they are simply an agent we have found many agents do not have the understanding and expertise to install and support the deployment on an ongoing basis. In addition those that will will often charge an additional monthly maintenance fee.
Open One Solutions has our own solution which currently has over 10,000 companies using this solution.
Do you offer an equipment rental program?
This truly allows for no upfront costs and it allows you to continue to upgrade your technology on a regular basis. Much like your cell phone upgrades as VoIP Phones are really computers which look like phones.
Other benefits include the ability to truly mix and match the phones which best suit your specific users as well as most rental programs will warranty the phone for the entire length of the rental as opposed to the one year factory warranty.
Open One Solutions provides a complete robust rental program which typically includes a professional onsite installation and customized training program for your specific requirements as well as an equipment upgrade program.
Do you have a user as well as a management portal?
Lets face it many do not want to manage their own system. However, for those that wish for full system control is it available.
Open One Solutions offers both as we feel there is a need to have both options.
Do you have the ability to add custom programming and development?
This is important as not everyone fits into the box and often custom integration is required for a clients specific needs and requirements.
Open One Solutions offers complete custom development.
Do you offer a Call Center Add-on?
Open One Solutions offers a complete robust Call Center Solution as an Add-On.
Do you allow for the ability to decrease your seats as well as increase the number of hosted seats?
This is important as many cloud providers will only allow you to add seats and never allow you to decrease the number of seats/users.
Open One Solutions allows you to add seats at any time as well as decrease the number of seats/users at any point in time.
Do you have the ability to ad-in old world technology such as over head paging and door phones and analog devices to their network?
Again sometimes companies have and will continue to have legacy devices on their network and it is important to work with a provider who not only can integrate but also understands on how these devices will work on their network.
Open One Solutions has its roots in the old legacy networks and completely understands on how to integrate old world with new world technology.
Open One Solutions, Inc. is a Chicago based Business VoIP Provider specializing in both cloud / hosted and premised based IP phone systems or IP-PBX solutions. Open One Solutions brings years of experience in this field. Our company founder has been using and deploying cloud / hosted VoIP since 2004 and deploying IP-PBX solutions since the 90’s. For additional information contact us at 312-780-1010 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org