If you have decided to switch to using business VoIP services, then you have made a sensible choice. VoIP offers many more benefits compared to traditional PSTN systems, including cost savings, improved efficiency and greater productivity.

But, when it comes to deciding who should provide your VoIP services, it is worth spending some time doing your homework and comparing what you get for your money. VoIP providers vary considerably, so here are five key considerations.

1. What you’ll pay

For the majority of businesses, cost plays a major role in decision-making processes. However, whilst you should certainly bear in mind what you’ll pay for VoIP services, this shouldn’t be a standalone factor. You get what you pay for, so if you choose the cheapest VoIP supplier, you might not get the services or quality you demand. On the other hand, choosing the most expensive provider might prove to be overkill, especially you’re a fledgeling business.

The key thing to think about when deciding on cost variables is the type and scope of services you require from a VoIP provider. Once you know what you need, you can then work out which provider can supply them at the best price. Before committing to any supplier, make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions so that there are no hidden extras which could bump up the price further down the line.

2. Support from business VoIP providers

Whether you are new to using VoIP or an established player, it is always good to know that there is someone you can contact if you need help with any queries or tech issues. This is especially the case if any emergencies arise or your systems suffer from an outage.

Good customer service is, therefore, a critical factor in choosing a VoIP provider. Ideally, look for one that offers customer support services 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Choose a provider that offers a number of options for getting in contact, including options for chat online, phone or email.

Although good availability is crucial in terms of offering customer support, the quality of the support you get is equally important. Pick a VoIP provider who is helpful and knowledgeable, and is able to explain technical issues in simple terms that you or your team can understand.

Another thing to consider – you might think you can save money by choosing an overseas VoIP provider, but make sure there are no language barriers that could compromise the customer support you might receive.

To gauge customer support levels before you pick a provider, get in touch and ask lots of questions. Are they helpful and professional in offering advice? How quickly do they respond? Find out what others have to say about them online.

3. Security levels

If you have gone to great lengths to make sure your business security is robust, then it makes sense to work only with service providers who have the same stringent attitude towards security. Only choose a VoIP provider who takes security seriously, as this reduces the risk of your own systems and data being compromised. In addition to checking a provider’s level of security, ask how often they update their systems and keep on top of relevant industry or technological changes.

4. Contract flexibility

If you have never used VoIP services before, it can be hard to estimate how long you might wish to stay with a particular provider, or the type of services you will need now and into the future. For this reason, it is worth choosing a provider such as IDT that offers flexibility when it comes to arranging your contract. In particular, avoid any providers that demand you make up-front payments for substantial sums, or tie you into lengthy contracts that you can’t get out of. A good VoIP provider will be able to offer you flexibility when you sign up, and may even offer you a free trial so you can try before you buy.

5. Scalable services

As part of your contract flexibility, you should choose a VoIP provider that is not fixed in the type and level of services on offer. It should be able to tailor services to suit your evolving needs and preferences. If you are a new or growing business, it can be hard to predict what telecommunications services you might need over time, so look for a provider that supports scalability, allowing you to adapt your own offering as the market changes.

Crucially, a good VoIP provider should be able to support the seamless growth of your communications systems with minimal disruption and expense to your business. Conversely, if you find you no longer need specific services, make sure your VoIP provider lets you drop these without you incurring a hefty fee.