10 Mistakes To Avoid Before Choosing a Hosted/Cloud VoIP Service
Telecom managers have a tough job. They have the unenviable position of trying to keep up with technologies that are moving insanely fast. Telephone, internet, and other telecom needs are a full-time job to maintain, upgrade, and replace.
When choosing a hosted/cloud service provider, there are many opportunities to make mistakes. Missing some items can cause massive headaches and expense later.
Over the years, we have seen the same mistakes made dozens of times, each of which is easily avoidable. Use this short list to avoid the most common mistakes.
- Choosing a non-regulated provider– Make sure your VoIP provider is government regulated; Sunrocket, a non-regulated company and a VoIP provider with over 200,000 subscribers, permanently closed their doors and shut down their system with little or no advanced notice. This left everybody with a Sunrocket phone number or a number that was ported to Sunrocket from the customer’s previous carrier with no phone service. A lot of customers lost their published phone numbers forever.
- Not confirming redundancy– The smaller carriers providing Hosted\Cloud VoIP service typically house their equipment and servers at one facility. They pay for wholesale circuits to be brought in to their building via underground or overhead. Their method of redundancy is running multiple servers in case one fails.Typically power is maintained by a gas powered generator if power is lossed. There is a weakest link to this scenario, the circuits coming into the building. If a disaster strikes, like hurricane Sandy, the carrier could lose all of their circuits. If that were the case, all customers connected to the carrier’s facility will be out of service. A carrier with one facility is called a single node. The carriers we represent invest millions in their fault-tolerant redundancy infrastructure which include multi-node meshed locations spread out over a wide geographical area. A meshed multi-node backbone means a customer’s call is connected at the same time to a minimum of two nodes. If any one node fails the customer call stays connected. Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call for everyone, especially businesses. Disasters can and will happen and that's why it's important the carrier you choose has the infrastructure and redundancy to keep you in business.
- Not checking out the financials – Consider companies that are financially strong with an established track record. Checking out their Better Business rating is always a good start.
- Not requesting a site survey – To ensure a successful VoIP solution, we recommend the carrier visiting your location to conduct a thorough site survey before ordering or installing any equipment.
- Not confirming installation services – Stick with companies that offer in-house installation services because VoIP technology is rarely plug-in-and-play. Hiring an outside IT technician can be costly, especially if they are not familiar with the carriers network or equipment.
- Not checking out the service department – One of the worst parts of a new contract is finding out that the customer service is really terrible. It can sometimes be worth testing it out before you even have the service. Call the customer service line and see how long it takes you to get a human that can help you. If you are on hold for half an hour or more, you might look at working with a company that is there when you need them.
- Signing up for unnecessary services– Sometimes your VOIP contract will have services that you will never need. Ask the provider if those items can be removed and if you can save by taking them out.
- Reading Quickly– Don’t just scan a document. Be sure that you read every line of a contract carefully. There can be a hidden landmine in any contract.
- Not Staying flexible – Your new service provider should be able to adapt to any future changes in your business model. Your contract should be able to account for mergers, growth, shrinkage, and relocations. If it doesn’t you might find yourself paying a huge fee simply to be able to make your business the way you want it to be.
- Not Planning ahead – What can you foresee your needs to be in the next three to five years? Your new contract and provider should be able to demonstrate their ability to keep up with new technologies. They should be able to show the newest technologies that they are using and tell you what new items might be coming up in the near future.
Making a mistake with a new VoIP system or provider is rarely the end of the world, but it can be expensive and stressful if you find yourself having to deal with your provider to solve a simple problem.