While an on-premise PBX setup can be right for some businesses, many organizations, especially SMBs, are better served by hosted options. When you compare hosted VoIP providers with the risks and expense of on-premise systems, you’ll find it gives all the powerful phone system functionality necessary for most businesses while eliminating CapEx and reducing the burden on company IT staff. All the server and software maintenance is taken care of by the provider for a predictably affordable operational expense.
Needless to say, the advantages of adopting a hosted Unified Communications (UC) solution are many and obvious. But after you’ve made that important decision to opt for the hosted option, there are many things to consider before deployment.
Questions to Ask when You Compare Hosted VoIP Providers
The first and most obvious question when you compare hosted VoIP providers is whether a particular vendor is equipped to meet the needs of your business. Can they support your number of users while guaranteeing quality of service? How adept is their cloud service to future growth and adaptation? Conversely, is your organization’s current network robust enough to take the new bandwidth demands in stride?
Second, SMBs are often operating on severely lean budgets as they try to grow as much as possible with what they have. So something to consider as you compare hosted VoIP providers is whether any given vendor can utilize any equipment your business already owns. If they can, it could save some money. But if they cannot, make sure to compare the cost of buying appropriate equipment versus renting it.
Third, make sure you know all the fees and sign-on costs. Ensure that the monthly fee advertised and offered is not a promotion that will end before your contract does. Once you have all the numbers figured out, find out what type of onboarding services they provide. As you compare hosted VoIP providers, you want to be confident in choosing a vendor who will make sure you start off on the right foot.
Fourth, because a hosted PBX is intended to be an ongoing service, a good question to ask is what level of customer support you can expect. When you have a tech problem or user error, you want to have peace of mind knowing that your cloud vendor is a quick call or email away.
Finally, as you compare hosted PBX providers, be sure to plan for worst case scenarios. To what extent can you rely on any given vendor’s offerings as part of a business continuity plan in the event of a disaster? Because hosted PBX services are cloud-based and accessible from any location, it possesses unique capabilities as a disaster recovery tool. But this possibility is only as good as the service’s ability to adapt and provide seamless service, even if the primary location and devices are inaccessible. A robust hosted PBX service will have ideas and guidelines already drawn up for the role their product can play in a business continuity plan. Just like the whole process of making decisions as you compare hosted VoIP providers, you have to think through all considerations, but ultimately, a vendor should be more than willing to provide helpful advice and guidance in this important upgrade.
While this short list attempts to provide some solid advice as you compare hosted VoIP providers, it is hardly comprehensive of every facet of this broad decision-making process. Below is a UC Tech Chat that tackles this very subject. Watch it to learn five more vital questions to ask as you compare hosted VoIP providers.