10 Essential Questions to Ask Hosted VoIP Phone System Vendors
Your business has decided that upgrading from a costly, inflexible and restrictive on-premise phone system to an agile, advanced and affordable hosted VoIP phone system is the way to go.
However, before you can start reaping the rewards of your wise decision, you need to choose the right partner. To help you make this critical choice, here are 10 essential questions to ask hosted VoIP phone system vendors:
1. Do you specialize in installing and supporting hosted VoIP phone systems?
You want to steer clear of vendors that “dabble” in hosted VoIP, while they juggle other business lines.
2. Do you offer comprehensive post-sales support?
Choose a vendor that offers all of the following:
- No extra charge for support
- 24/7/365 technical support
- Direct support delivered by in-house experts
- Guaranteed uptime
- Multiple data centers
- Fraudulent Outbound Call Detection Protection
In addition, while many support issues can be taken care of remotely, sometimes it is necessary for technicians to dispatch on-site. As such, you want to choose a vendor that can provide you with same-day or next-day on-site support (depending on when the inquiry is made and your location).
Plus, you should also have the option to add a wireless internet backup system, which will automatically switch your system from your existing connection to a 4G LTE cellular connection in the event of a local power outage.
3. How many years have you been in business?
If a vendor hasn’t been in the industry for at least 10 years, then it means there are scenarios that they haven’t faced and learned from. Unfortunately, YOU will pay for their lack of knowledge and experience — not THEM.
4. What do your customers say about you?
Look for reviews and testimonials from actual customers (i.e. real names and organizations vs. “John S.” or “Mary M.”). Plus, if you wish to speak to a customer directly to learn about their experience, vendors should gladly facilitate this vs. try and talk you out of it.
5. Will you visit us on-site?
Many important implementation questions can be answered over the phone, and through video conferencing. However, it is essential for a vendor to visit you on-site to meet with your team and assess your infrastructure. If a vendor balks at doing this or tries to charge you a “travel fee” — then walk away.
6. What costs are involved?
Reputable vendors will provide you with transparent pricing that clearly identifies all of the following:
- If there are any pricing or service tiers — and if so, the features/benefits that are associated with each tier
- If you will receive any third-party billing
- If there are any activation fees
- If you will face any upgrade or maintenance costs after implementation
If you are not getting clear answers or if there is ANY sales pressure whatsoever, then walk away. You’ll dodge a big bullet and avoid plenty of unexpected costs and stress.
7. Do you support total mobility?
Choose a vendor that offers a free mobile app for both iOS and Android, which your employees can install on their smartphones and access the hosted VoIP phone system anytime, anywhere.
8. How do you ensure security?
Choose a vendor that runs and manages their hosted VoIP phone system on a private, highly secure data network that is protected by end-to-end encryption mechanisms including Transport Layer Security/TLS and Secure RTP for transmitting media. In addition, the vendor’s in-house team of experts should regularly install and configure all security patches and updates, and deploy multiple telecommunications fraud prevention systems.
9. What features are available?
Some vendors offer a limited selection of features, and require that you pay an additional fee to access a full range. To avoid that cost and hassle, choose a vendor that offers ALL of the following:
- Auto Attendant
- Automatic Call Distribution
- Call Analysis & Reporting
- Call Queuing
- Call Transfer
- Caller ID
- Company Directory
- Conference Bridging
- E911 Dialing
- Fax Send/Receive
- Custom Hold Music
- Live Call Forwarding
- Message Notification
- Video Conferencing
- Fax Email Messages
- Group SMS Chat
- Voicemail to Email
- Fraud Call Detection
- Robocall Blocking
10. What is the implementation experience like?
Key factors to evaluate include:
- How long implementation will take
- If a dedicated project manager will be assigned to the implementation
- If on-demand training resources like videos are available
- How long it takes to port numbers, and if there are any fees
- If the system supports plug-and-play hardware and zero-touch provisioning tools
Carolina Digital Phone: 10 for 10!
At Carolina Digital Phone, we answer the bell in ALL 10 of these essential areas. That is why we have been in business for more than 20 years, and have a growing roster of satisfied customers who trust us to be there when they need us — without compromise or exception.
Learn more, call us at (336) 544-4000 for your live, guided demo that can be delivered over-the-web or on-site at your location. Discover why our experience is your advantage!