Ten Questions to ask before signing a contract with your Service Provider
With the vast number of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers that are promoting their services on the internet, it can be extremely difficult to make a decision on which service provider to select. This list of 10 questions will assist you in making the right choice for your business, and avoid you being contracted to a provider that is unable to meet your requirements for the next 12 to 24 months.
- Do you allow free calls between my business sites?
Many VoIP providers offer free calls to other sites within the same business, or other VoIP customers on the same network. This could save your business a lot of money in call charges.
- Are call management features included in the monthly price, or charged on per extension basis?
Many providers offer Inbound call management features such as Voicemail to Email, Hunt Groups and IVR Menus that offer efficient ways of handling inbound calls. Be careful to check whether these features are included in the monthly fee or charged for every extension you use.
- How are inclusive minutes billed?
Not all providers apply call charges in the same way. Even the inclusive minutes provided by many providers are billed in a way that is designed to get you to use them as quickly as possible. Therefore, ask potential suppliers about call setup fees, minimum call charges, and if they round all calls up to the nearest penny.
- What are the avenues of support?
The support avenues offered by many suppliers will be different. Make sure that any supplier you choose offers routes to support that are suitable for your business.
- How resilient is your network?
There is little point in choosing the cheapest supplier if they don't have a resilient network to back up the services that you will be using. Therefore it is critical to understand the resiliency offered by any supplier in addition to their disaster recovery policy.
- Are you a reseller?
Not all services that are available to buy on the internet today are supplied by the person that you buy it from. In the telecommunications industry, there are many resellers, so if you would like to buy services from the person that is selling them, you should ask this question.
- Can calls be made to PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) as well as VoIP?
Some providers only allow calls to be made to other VoIP networks, so you should always make sure that your supplier allows calls to standard telephones on the PSTN also.
- Do your prices include VAT?
Don't get caught out by assuming you have found the cheapest deal without asking this question. Always make sure that the monthly and call charges stated are inclusive of VAT.
- How long have you been trading?
It is always important to understand how long a provider has been trading so that you have an indication of the stability of the organisation providing the service.
- What equipment will I need to run the service?
Before you commit to taking a service, you should be certain of the equipment that you will require for the service to work as this will vary depending on the size of your organisation and the number of people you have making / receiving calls.
- TDM, SIP and converged network experience;
- Regulatory support and detailed industry process knowledge;
- Carrier solutions including capacity dimensioning, management and rate negotiation based upon call volumes;
- Ofcom number range application support;
- Ground up solution development, implementation and delivery.