7 Questions to Ask a Managed Voice Services Provider Before Signing a Contract
You’re in the market for a new business phone system, so you need a managed voice services provider to help you upgrade and install the best system to meet your needs. However, you’re not 100% sure which type of phone system is right for you.
Whether you’re currently using a traditional (or legacy) system and are looking to make the switch to VoIP, or evaluating whether your current VoIP platform is the most cost-effective solution available – you’ve come to the right place. We want to help you make the best decision for your business when it comes to choosing a VoIP system and provider.
Before discussing the points you should be conscious of before entering into a contract with a provider, let’s make sure you understand what VoIP is and how it can benefit your business:
What is VoIP?
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a telephony system in which calls are sent and received using a broadband internet connection VoIP works by converting your voice into a digital signal that travels over the internet.
One of the biggest benefits of VoIP is that because calls are made over the internet, the cost of using VoIP is significantly less than compared to traditional phone lines. With VoIP, you can make calls directly from a computer, an IP-based phone system, or even connected mobile devices.
Reduced cost and greater mobility are just two of the reasons that switching to VoIP seems like a no-brainer, but choosing a new provider isn’t as straightforward. However, we think it should be. If you ask the following questions before signing on the dotted line, you’ll be able to better qualify any company you’re considering.
Questions to Ask a Managed Voice Services Provider
How long have you been in business?
It’s important to know whether the company you’re considering has an impressive track record of clients, or at least a reliable business history. That’s not to say you should always ignore a start-up, but you should still understand the background and experience their leadership brings to the table.
If you’re curious about nimboIP’s history, we’ve been in business since 1989. However, our leadership has been a part of the telecommunications industry since long before that. You can learn more about us here.
What type of VoIP solution do you provide?
Some providers offer on-premise VoIP solutions only, whereas others provide both on-premise and hosted. If you’re not sure what the difference is, an on-premise VoIP system (also known as an IP-PBX system) resides at your office while a hosted VoIP system resides off-premise (like in a data center).
We recommend finding a provider that offers cloud-based VoIP, like we do. A cloud VoIP system differs slightly from a hosted system in that it increases interconnectivity, is typically more scalable, and can be customized on an individual basis. A hosted system tends to be more uniform, while a cloud system is truly designed for growth and flexibility in companies of all sizes.
Will your service work with my equipment, or do I need a specific make and model?
Some providers require the installation specific hardware and handsets to be able to use their service. Many platforms also require licensing, accompanied by annual software, maintenance and miscellaneous fees. Unfortunately, not all providers will tell you this upfront. That’s why it’s important to ask, so you don’t get hit with additional expenses after you’re already locked in.
In contrast, our cloud VoIP platform does not require licensing. We can use any broadband network, IP phone system or IP handset you choose. Our open source platform also eliminates restrictive terms or fees. Unlike traditional hosted VoIP platforms, you only pay for what you use on a month-to-month basis.
How will you transition me from my current phone system to my new VoIP system?
If a provider doesn’t have a proven process they follow for installing phone systems, it’s possible you’ll end up running into a few too many roadblocks. On the other hand – if they do have a process, you’ll want to make sure you understand it so you know what to expect and prepare for internally.
At nimboIP, we have a proven 6-step process for onboarding clients and installing phone systems – including training your staff on how to use your new equipment. You can learn more about our process here.
What if I don’t like my new VoIP phone system?
With many providers, if you don’t like their phone system – too bad! You’re left to reinstall your original system or replace it with a new system, on your dime. You’ll want to make sure you understand this expense upfront, so you know the risk you’re actually taking.
With nimboIP, you’re not taking any risk. We provide a 100% performance guarantee and offer a 90-day trial. If you don’t like our VoIP phone system, we’ll reinstall your original system for free.
Do you have experience transitioning businesses like mine?
Is your business one that needs to be concerned with compliance? Perhaps you have multiple office locations, or remote workers that all need to be in constant communication. Or, maybe you have 1,000 seats and need a provider who has experience working with enterprise organizations.
If you feel your business has a special need, you’ll want to make sure the provider you decide to work with has experience helping similar businesses. If you’re an enterprise, but a provider only has experience working with small businesses, it’s probably not the best fit.
At nimboIP, we have experience working with companies of all sizes (5-1000 seats). You can check out a few of our client case studies and testimonials here.
Where is your customer service and support located?
This can be an important factor in your decision of which provider to go with, specifically if you’re concerned with ongoing on-site moves, adds, or changes. However, any provider worth their weight should include remote HelpDesk support and first call resolution.
nimboIP is located in Indianapolis. Most of our clients are located in Indiana, or throughout the Midwest. We provide repair and MAC services, as well as first call resolution whenever possible. We also provide ongoing HelpDesk support to all our clients, as needed.
In conclusion – if you get straight answers to these 7 questions, we’re sure you’ll be able to suss out whether the managed voice services provider you’re considering is the right one for you.
And if you like our answers to these questions, contact us to learn more about how we can help you get ahead!