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The slower spring /summer months can present an ideal opportunity for many businesses looking to conduct important research into service provider options that could better position their companies for fall. When it comes to deciding on the right phone provider, there is often a great deal of investigation required and Toronto-based Epik Networks has tips for companies going through the process.

“Voice Over IP technology (VOIP) is a cost-effective alternative to traditional analog phone systems and is seeing marked increase in popularity. The global VOIP services market is expected to grow to $82.7 billion by end of 2018.” said Epik Networks Vice President Operations and Marketing, Claudio Nespeca.  “Obsolete phone systems, equipment break down, office relocation, service issues, business expansion or the need for better integrated solutions are the typical drivers of new customers exploring the world of hosted VOIP for business.”

When choosing a hosted VOIP provider, it’s important to be aware of all the variables that could determine the quality or efficiency of the service that best suits the needs of the business.

The following list of questions will help focus the research process when choosing a voice solution provider:

1. What are the phones and system technology being used?

Consider the phone hardware and system technology the hosted VOIP provider is using. Some may be easier and less costly to maintain than others. Generic or older systems may be less costly initially, but may become scarcer down the road.

2. What is in place for disaster recovery?

During times of crises, it is especially vital for many companies to be accessible and maintain consistent access to the company’s main network. Some hosted voice providers give the benefits of built-in disaster recovery to allow access to work phone calls, voicemails and e-mail remotely.

3. Does the service operate on a private or public connection?

To ensure excellent quality and reliability, a private, dedicated and bi-directional data connection is recommended as public high speed internet upload and download speeds can vary. This can result in dropped calls, jitter, and poor voice quality.

4. What is the escalation process in the event of problems?

When facing a problem it is vital to have responsive technical support at any given time. The best providers should have mandated customer service standards with specific response and repair time.

5. Is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) provided?

The Service Level Agreement or SLA is the promise behind the provider’s advertised service; it dictates what level of internet and phone services the customer can reliably expect. A reliable provider will have a fast response time and will take responsibility for any service errors.

6. Are customer references available?

It’s important to check references diligently in order to know the company’s service history. The best way to know exactly what you’re getting into is by talking to someone who already has the services you are interested in.

7. Is the company economically sound?

A good hosted VOIP provider will be financially healthy, experienced in technology, well established and well managed. Much of this information can be found through some thorough online research – if it can’t, then that should raise some concerns.

 

Selecting a hosted VOIP provider can be a daunting task for many managers and decision-makers. Asking the right questions early in the process can ensure the company selected will provide the best results.

Claudio Nespeca is Vice President Operations and Marketing at Epik Networks, a leading VOIP and Internet service company headquartered in Toronto.

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