You’ve settled on embracing the cloud for your phone system needs by using a Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP, service provider. But does your search for the right SIP service provider have you feeling like you’re walking through a fog?
You’re not alone.
U.S. revenue for Voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, such as SIP trunking, was around $1.6 billion in 2009. And the demand for SIP service has been growing in popularity since then.
In other words, many business owners have been jumping on the SIP bandwagon. But that doesn’t mean they’ve chosen the right provider.
Not all providers are equal.
We’ve compiled a guide on what to look for in an SIP service based on your budget and business needs.
Let’s dig in!
SIP Service Should Make Your Phone System Scalable
One of the most important qualities to look for in a SIP service provider is scalability.
In other words, when your business grows, it’s paramount that your SIP solution can grow with it.
Not having a scalable solution is like outgrowing your shoe. You then have to buy a new shoe because you didn’t get a big-enough shoe in the first place.
It costs you extra money, time, and energy to remedy the situation versus getting it right the first time.
A SIP trunking company that is well equipped will get it right the first time. The company will be able to add lines or remove them with ease as your company’s needs change.
Remember that you might need to make adjustments to your VOIP call bandwidth as your SIP provider removes or adds lines as well.
A strong provider will help with this. The vendor’s goal should be to make sure that the scaling process is as smooth as possible for your business.
Features to Fit Your Needs
When dealing with SIP trunking system functionality and features, you need to research which features are the most critical for your business.
After all, not all providers offer the same features.
One particular feature that business owners like is the capability of controlling their accounts with a user-friendly control panel.
For instance, with the control panel, you can change your service as needed. You can also manage your phone numbers and even export your call data records any time of day or night.
These real-time data records are powerful, as they give you an accurate idea of your company’s communication needs.
They also provide you with a glimpse of your business activities, even those dating back one year.
Yet another popular phone service feature is an inbound direct inward dialing or DID. This is the route that goes to both a primary IP-PBX and a secondary IP-PBX — phone systems that use internet protocol communications.
With the inbound DID route feature, your service provider will try to deliver an inbound call to the primary IP-PBX first. Then, if this fails, the call will go to the secondary one.
Your provider can also forward inbound calls to a backup public switched telephone network number, or PSTN number, if a routing failure happens.
You can configure for this to take place in your control panel.
A Secure System
As SIP phone services are internet based, they are cost-effective for businesses of all sizes.
But there’s always a downside to every upside. And with SIP service, the downside is that security can be a potential problem with the cloud in general.
This is why you need a service provider that offers international fraud protection. Your service provider’s system will watch for fraudulent activity and immediately kill any unauthorized call in progress.
Your provider will then notify you of the suspicious activity.
These fraud protection systems offer the benefit of protecting you even if the phone equipment at your business location has been compromised.
With the right level of protection, you can be confident you’ll stay in business no matter what potential security hiccups you may face.
A Reliable System
Your outgoing and incoming calls are essential to your company’s success. As a result, choosing an SIP service provider that uses Tier 1 providers for routing traffic is expedient.
Not every provider builds strong relationships with such Tier 1 providers. Instead, some providers buy routes and connections from intermediate carriers.
The problem with this?
If the network ends up going down due to a malfunction, these intermediate carriers must get in touch with the reseller. The reseller then must investigate where exactly the failure happened.
Meanwhile, if your SIP service provider is directly connected to Tier 1 providers, you’ll experience more reliability and greater performance.
On top of that, you can get the highest-quality voice possible.
The best providers use several gateways throughout the United States, which eradicates any single failure point.
Solid Customer Support
If your potential service provider isn’t willing to put you, the customer, first, then it’s not the provider for you.
That means being upfront with you about the company’s pricing.
In general, expect setup and monthly fees per channel, along with DID porting fees and regulatory fees, for example. You’ll also have to pay per-minute fees for calls excluded from your SIP trunk.
Be sure to get a feel for how the company communicates with customers as well. Some companies provide only email support and charge for extra support, which isn’t always helpful.
Particularly if you don’t have a strong background in business communications, you need a company that will help you to get your system set up. The company should also field any questions you may have both now and down the road.
Being able to test a service before you get it is also important. You need to know upfront if an SIP service provider’s solution is suitable for your company’s unique needs.
Stay clear of any vendor that is unwilling to provide for you a testing opportunity.
How We Can Help
We offer top-notch SIP service that works with your current internet connection.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you to keep your company’s phone system up to date and running from one year to the next.