What to Look for in a VoIP Provider

What to Look for in a VoIP Provider
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The world is getting more and more interconnected with each year as we keep marching forward into this internet age. Because of that, international calling is going to continue becoming more important for all sorts of businesses. Every VoIP provider is going to have varied plans based on different needs such as countries allowed, the amount of minutes given in a month, and whether or not the customer is willing to sign a long term contract or not. Finding the right VoIP provider for your specific needs can be difficult, as youíll need to look at a variety of different metrics. Letís see specifically what to look at to determine if a VoIP provider is good for you.
Service Packages
One of the biggest deciding factors that youíre going to have when choosing the right VoIP service provider is the different type of packaging options they have for their product. There are many VoIP providers who will offer very competitive rates to customers willing to sign up for a one or two-year contract plan but will charge quite a bit in the form of cancellation fees if you decide to stop using their service before the time fully expires. Users who get monthly plans are generally given the freedom to opt out whenever they want but will generally pay a bit more for the service.
One of the biggest advantages that VoIP services offer is their highly competitive long distance and international rates. If thatís one of your own big buying points, make sure to read the fine print closely on those particular features when comparing different providers. Some services will offer unlimited minutes for calling international locations while others will choose specific nations and have different rates for each one. Some providers offer plans that allow for very cheap domestic calls that only offer a limited amount of overall international minutes, which is a very good choice for businesses or individuals who donít make that many calls to overseas areas. Another big bonus that VoIP providers offer and that a lot of people like is the fact that you can choose just about whichever area code you prefer, even if youíre away from home. Choosing an area code in a city that you have a lot of friends and family members in will actually allow their calls to you to be considered local rather than long distance.
Important Features
The major VoIP providers that offer the best service almost always have the following basic features:
Enhanced 911 dialing for emergency calls.
Call return by using *69.
The ability to make a block call list.
The ability to forward calls to other numbers.
Call waiting.
Detailed caller identification.
Free calls (which do not use up minutes) to other users that have the same service provider.
The ability to keep your existing phone number.
Long distance calling.
Easy to use online account management.
Voicemail options.
VoIP companies all provide the basic VoIP phone services, so the area where they truly stand out is going to be in the extra features they offer. Three-way calling is standard in todayís world, but there are many providers who can offer conference calls that can handle even more people. Call transfer lets the user send a call to a different phone entirely, meaning that the different individual phones will each need extensions. Some services also offer a variety of local emergency or community lines, such as 411 for directory assistance.
There are some VoIP services that will give customers a second phone line for free for using the same service. While these do share the same phone number and will both ring when dialed, it will allow one person to dial a number and talk on the phone while another person can use the other phone to talk with somebody else entirely. There are also toll-free or even virtual phone numbers that are offered by some providers that are great for home-based businesses. These latter features are generally not standard and come with an additional charge.
While many of the VoIP service providers are similar at a quick glance and often offer some of the same basic features, the extra features they offer is where a savvy business can really increase the value of their investment.
Extra Features
There are a number of mobile apps that allow people to place VoIP calls on their phone or tablet as long as they have an internet connection. Desktop or laptop computers can even be used as phones (called softphones) with VoIP technology as well.
For customers looking to keep using their business phone while traveling, there are services that allow customers to take the service with them by using a small-sized physical adaptor thatís very easy to travel with. Even if youíve already invested in an adaptor from the previous service, many VoIP providers will still be able to use it.
Technical Support
Another big spot to look at when searching for a good VoIP service is technical support. Make sure to look around for reviews of the company and ensure that the service the provider gives is fast, reliant, and quick. Check the website to ensure that there is email, over the phone, and live chat support and see if there is a knowledge base set up to help customers work through issues on their own.
As we have seen, voice over IP phone systems is a great way to simultaneously reduce a businessís bottom line while also providing a ton of extra features that werenít even possible with traditional phone lines. Itís one of the best and easiest investments to make for an across the board increase to a businessís success.

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