Selecting a VoIP provider for business is a critical decision since it can literally shape the future of your call centers. However, choosing between VoIP providers can be quite challenging given that there are many types of providers, packages, features, and technologies involved.
The increased use of artificial intelligence in customer service and rising security threats faced by contact centers have also made choosing a VoIP provider a nightmare. Hence a lot of firms are skeptical about switching to VoIP technology despite its obvious advantages. To help such organizations, we have compiled a list of the most crucial factors for choosing VoIP providers in 2021 and beyond.
So, here is a list of things you must check before zeroing in on your VoIP provider:
1. Your Business Requirements:
The most common mistake that businesses make while choosing a choosing a VoIP service provider is choose their solution based on their popularity and discounts offered. Sure, the pricing and market reputation are important factors for choosing VoIP providers, but you also need to ask yourself – is this the best match for my company’s goals?
A significant number of businesses fail to look inward and analyze their unique business requirements before selecting a VoIP partner, which is the prime reason they fail. The best way to choose a service provider is to understand which business category you fall into, your present and future needs, and the kind of solutions your competitors are using. Additionally, make a list of all the features you would need and compare it with the features provided by your VoIP provider.
After your needs are evaluated, pricing is the most important consideration that you must make. Most VoIP providers offer a variety of pricing plans which cater to different organizational needs. However, some providers provide quote-based pricing, making their pricing translucent. Other VoIP providers may also have hidden pricing, which is often difficult to see. Additionally, you must be aware of surcharges, costs per user, costs per feature, and costs for various countries before choosing a VoIP partner for your business.
Scalability is one of the principal factors for choosing VoIP providers since both your business and the market are subject to change with time. As your business expands its horizons and caters to more individuals, you will need several additional features from your VoIP software. At such a juncture, staying with your existing provider’s limited features would stunt your firm’s growth. At the same time, moving to a new service provider and learning to operate a whole new software would also be stressful.
To avoid the above scenario, look for VoIP providers with multiple pricing plans. This will allow you to adjust your calling needs with changing times and market fluctuations, enabling you to scale your operations smoothly.
Ultra-light and portable smartphones have significantly benefited the telecommunication industry. However, their impact on VoIP telephony has been even more tremendous. Cloud-based VoIP telephony has made it easy for smartphones to make and receive calls from anywhere in the world without having to depend on any specific infrastructure. This is why several businesses switched to VoIP providers during the pandemic to save themselves from losses.
Even before the pandemic, VoIP providers with dedicated Android & iOS apps have been quite popular since they allowed teams to connect and collaborate remotely. Thus if you work with a large and distributed team, choosing a provider with mobile applications can cause fewer disruptions in business.
5. Collaborative Tools & Integrations:
Modern-day VoIP providers understand the needs of teams working remotely and offer many tools to improve customer communication and team collaboration. This includes tools for internal messaging, video conferencing, SMS, voicemail, and email.
Collaborative tools are not only great for internal communication but also facilitate a better customer experience. For instance, a technical assistance team can profit significantly from a video conferencing tool, allowing them to see what problem a caller might be facing. Not only does it solve the caller’s problem faster, but it can also reduce a firm’s costs by enabling technically sound individuals to assess a problem without a physical visit.
Integrations are one of the most ignored factors while choosing VoIP providers.
Choosing an application that integrates smoothly with your existing tools and applications not only automates data transfers and offers real-time information but also reduces your workload significantly. This allows your contact center to perform more efficiently, solve customer issues faster and save time that would otherwise be spent switching between multiple applications to find information.
6. Call Management Features
Each organization’s call management needs are unique, even if they hail from the same industry. Factors like call volume, offers, distribution, number of queues, geography, repeat customers, type of assistance needed, and the amount of oversight/control needed over agents can vary greatly. Therefore, it is wise to opt for VoIP providers that fulfill your calling criteria.
Since evaluating all variables is not always possible beforehand, it is better to choose a provider that offers you a free trial. Although a free trial has several pros and cons that you must be aware of, it allows you to test out the VoIP solution before implementing it throughout the organization, helping you avoid possible mistakes.
7. Training & Support
Surprisingly, training and support were not considered to be important factors for choosing VoIP providers in the past decade. However, organizations have come to realize that without the support and training necessary, achieving their goals becomes increasingly difficult.
With technology becoming more complicated each day and competition becoming fiercer, firms need more assistance and better support from their VoIP providers. Thus training manuals, videos, and live assistance (preferably via multiple channels) are extremely important in today’s times. In addition, if your contact centers are located worldwide, ensure that your VoIP partner offers 24×7 support so that your business is never on hold due to minor hiccups.
The above considerations would enable you to pick the right VoIP solutions for your firm, which will help you improve returns, efficiency, collaboration, and customer satisfaction.