Thinking of Business VoIP? 5 Things to look for in a SIP Trunk provider
Your business is growing and your phone system is simply not able to keep up with growing demand. If you want to enjoy more flexible and cost-effective communications, you should take the time to consider SIP Trunking on your path to Unified Communication & Collaboration (UCC).
Established Business VoIP providers will work with you to deploy a SIP Trunking service that fits your unique needs, that is scalable but fits your company size today. Choosing the right SIP service can go a long way to helping you achieve the cost savings and flexibility you need, without any headaches or surprises; a smooth and hassle-free SIP installation experience is possible. If you are considering implementing SIP Trunking and are looking for the best partner for your business, how do you make the right choice? Here are five essential things to look for in a SIP provider and a few red flags.
- Seek straightforward and predictable SIP Trunk pricing
One of the main reasons companies are moving away from traditional telephone lines and toward SIP Trunk based VoIP is the substantial cost savings. To maximize those savings, it is important to choose a SIP provider that offers a straightforward and easy-to-understand pricing structure. Make sure that you understand not only the monthly costs for each channel, but other setup fees, fees for toll free service, DIDs and ports. If you require international calling, ensure that the provider offers competitive rates. Avoid providers that are not upfront about fees or charge exorbitant rates for basic support and other services that many providers offer at no additional charge.
- Look for flexibility with tools to control your call capacity
Why should you pay for a busy day—every day? Another key advantage of SIP Trunking over PRI lines is the ease and flexibility with which channels can be added or cancelled. Users of SIP Trunks shouldn’t need to guess how many lines will be needed in the future, rather they should be able to add or remove lines as needed without the need for a contract or obligation. You can easily adapt to call traffic fluctuations and add voice capacity on the fly. The best providers offer easy to use self-service tools through a portal or dashboard that lets you customize your solution based on need. The best providers give you control; the power to add, delete or change numbers should be entirely in your own hands. Ideally you would even be able to provision numbers yourself — 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A key feature to ask about is Channel Bursting, known as Capacity on Demand, which allows your business to manage peaks and valleys in telephony usage, to avoid missed calls during busy seasons, plus add or remove phone lines as required.
- Source a provider with a proven a track record of PBX implementation
If you are planning on leveraging your existing phone hardware, ask the prospective SIP provider if they have experience working with the PBX you have deployed, or the systems you might consider using in the future. The top SIP Trunk providers have a deep bench of technical expertise to assess your network and work with you at every step of implementation. Experienced SIP partners will adapt to your existing PBX equipment, and even use progressive rollouts if you need to delay replacing any recently purchased hardware. Gear your search toward providers with Certified Interoperability.
- Partner with a Tier-1 Carrier with reliable and redundant Infrastructure
Reliable voice communications are critical to your business. Great audio quality is essential for any business communications system. The best solutions offer voice quality that is indistinguishable from traditional land lines, but it is important to be diligent about verifying the grade of the carrier network used by your SIP provider. Only Tier-1 carriers connect directly to the backbone of the Internet to deliver the highest possible call quality and reliability. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure that the SIP provider you select has a Tier-1 network with multiple gateways in different geographic locations. This will ensure that you do not put all your eggs in one basket and risk service interruption if a single data center experiences a failure. You want to select one that has made the necessary infrastructure investments to protect your business.
- Customer Support, SLA and QoS
The best SIP trunking vendors can refer to quantitative measurements to track the Quality of Service they provide. To ensure real-time traffic quality, key metrics to consider include latency, jitter, packet loss and availability. Leading SIP providers offer Quality of Service (QoS) enabled connections with the freedom to scale up or down in real time. When it comes to your communications, you should expect nothing less than 100% reliability. Ideally your selected provider will back their QoS with a Service Level Agreement. A leading SIP provider offers exceptional call quality and works to actively measure and improve on these key quality metrics. Top Tier providers offer both technical administrator and end user training to help bolster user adoption.
It is worth the investment of a little time to ensure the Telephony partner you select meets these core criteria. Ask them how they can implement technology that grows with your business and ensure a smooth transition to future deployments of advanced capabilities such as presence management, instant messaging, web/video conferencing and more. The right SIP Trunking provider will be open to and able to discuss laying the groundwork for the eventual transition to Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) platforms.