If you don’t know a lot about SIP, that makes you … well … normal. Most people aren’t experts at SIP or any other aspect of business telephony. That’s OK, but some vendors take advantage of their prospect’s unfamiliarity with the technical nuances behind business communications and sell them inferior products or services that they don’t need. In order to avoid this, follow these 6 steps to choose a business SIP provider. We promise to keep the technical jargon to a minimum.
1 – Insist on a Tier-1 network
I know we are getting a bit technical right off the bat, but this is important. Tier-1 carriers are directly connected to the structure of the Internet and can be considered part of the Internet itself. They have the highest connection speeds and are the most reliable network. Voice communications are the lifeblood of your business and you don’t want to trust them to a lower tier network and risk poor audio quality, jitter or loss of dial tone. Some business SIP providers leverage tier 2 or 3 networks in order to offer an extremely low price. Don’t be fooled. You don’t have to understand much about the backend network, but be sure to ask about the tier of their carriers.
2 – Understand All the Fees
SIP pricing varies by the vendor, so it is important that you have a full understanding of exactly what you will be paying. We’ve written about SIP trunk pricing in depth before, but the short version is that you can expect to pay monthly and setup fees for each channel, fees for DID porting, e911 fees, and regulatory fees. If you make international calls or calls to places that are not included with an unlimited SIP trunk, you should expect to pay a per minute fee for those calls as well. Any vendor who isn’t clear and upfront with their pricing doesn’t deserve your business.
3 – Be Aware of Your Commitment
SIP.US does not require any long-term commitment. Our customers can cancel anytime. However, not all vendors work this way, so be sure to understand the agreement and carefully consider any time frame commitments.
4 – Ask About Bandwidth
Some vendors require that you purchase internet bandwidth from them. In many cases, this prevents the customer from getting the best price and most reliable service available in their area. If you run into this and find that you can get a better fit for your business with bandwidth from a provider other than the SIP vendor, look for a solution that will work with any ISP you choose.
5 – Talk about Customer Service
Business SIP providers offer varying levels of service to customers. Some are email support only, others charge for support. Especially if you are unfamiliar with business communications, you’ll want to choose a vendor who will help you get set up and answer questions for you in the future. It’s a good idea to call the vendor’s customer service number and get a feel for the type and level of support they offer.
6 – Test
This is by far, the most important recommendation we can offer. Before signing up for SIP service, you want to test it from your location with your equipment and bandwidth. This is the best way to ensure that the solution will work well for your particular situation. It doesn’t need to be a long test, but be suspicious of any vendor who won’t provide this opportunity.
We hope you’ll consider SIP.US for your business communications needs, but even if you don’t, these tips can help make sure you get a solution that will be just right for this important part of your business. Good luck!