The features and functions of a new VoIP phone system are exciting and important–but that’s not all you should be looking at! There are a lot of service providers, and each of them has pros and cons. Some companies are much more upfront about their pricing, while others have a laundry list of “extra” fees. Whether you choose a solution that will be installed on your local network or you subscribe to a cloud-based voice service, you should always look at the fine print. When researching a new phone service provider, we recommend looking at pricing, the contract itself, and any customer service reviews or reputation scores.
Look Closer at the “Total Price”
The basic cost of any service is not typically the total cost involved. From service add-ons to installation costs, pricing for VoIP services can vary a lot from advertisements or even quotes.
If you’re choosing a solution that will operate on your local network, installation costs need to be estimated and clearly identified. These depend on a number of factors, including hardware and the size of the system. Depending on the service provider, you may incur fees with cloud-based service providers too, including consulting fees when testing your network’s capability of handling VoIP.
You’ll want to be sure that any estimate includes consulting, hardware, installation, network integration, customer support, and additional fees like sales tax and VoIP taxes and fees. The estimate should look as detailed as an invoice, and your vendor should be able to provide an accurate total cost.
Even when you receive a detailed estimate, you should always overestimate your costs. If you’re upgrading to a completely new phone system, there are a few more considerations that are not dependent on your vendor. You may have to install additional hardware that isn’t provided by the vendor, or upgrade your Internet package to support the bandwidth needs of your VoIP solution. Budgeting for a new phone system should be as complete as possible.
Look Over Contracts Carefully
Any kind of contract should be looked over carefully, but when it involves a large project or a substantial amount of money, every line should be completely understood. While talking to a vendor is helpful to determine the range of services and prices, that conversation means nothing unless it’s in print, in detailed and clear language. If you have any doubts whatsoever, remember this: you can ask the service provider at any time before signing for clarification or a change in the contract. They may not have to agree with your suggestions or demands, but you do have the option to negotiate and clarify!
Depending on the project, the contract should cover the overall project plan, the expected timeframe, and every item you’re being charged for. A hosted voice service provider contract should list specific service rates and fees, monthly requirements, contract termination policies (including the contract expiration date), and any service level agreements. They should also provide a very clear listing of the taxes and any fees that will be assessed on your monthly bills. While there can be some variance with these fees you should know a ballpark figure on what to expect for these. Some carriers are as low as 15% while others can be as high as 50%! Don’t ever be fooled by VoIP quotes that don’t include their taxes and fees.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Customer Support
So you’ve negotiated your contract, you know how much the project will cost, and you’ve accounted for the extra costs. But have you considered their customer service?
This can throw off a lot of seasoned professionals, many of whom assume that customer service will be excellent, or that it doesn’t matter. Not so! Your interaction with this provider should be friendly, easy, and trustworthy. If you see any signs of poor customer service or reluctance to be flexible, polite, or helpful, reconsider your decision to go with this vendor.
Research the company’s reputation and customer reviews online. While you should always take a bad review with a grain of salt, you may see emerging patterns of a bad experience. Know that with America’s Phone Guys you have multiple options for customer service; the first is with our local staff and the second with the carrier itself (noting that each carrier we work with provides US-based customer service).
Telecommunication Systems are Complex
A new addition to your company is always a major decision, but a new phone service might be doubly so. Your phone system is an integral part of the success of your company. Depending on your business, you may not be able to function without it! By valuing transparent pricing, solid contracts, and excellent customer service from your chosen service provider, you’ll be that much closer to a successful experience. If you have any questions about VoIP service providers or would like a quote, contact America’s Phone Guys today!
Don’t Get Caught by These VoIP Contract Pitfalls in Portland OR - Vancouver WA - Oregon Coast
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