In a recent webinar on hosted PBX services that I led, I was impressed by the following question: What are the tipoffs that will tell me whether or not the service provider can deliver on their service offering?
It was a great question and one that I am sure many others had. The good news is that there are definitely numerous signs you can spot.
First, if Quality of Service is a concern, you should ask if the service provider offers the service with High Definition Voice. If so, the vendor will talk about G.722 codec. If not, their service is probably delivered best-effort over the Internet. Also, does the vendor offer solutions that include choices of High Definition IP Phones paired with feature sets you want?
If having the ability to directly manage the hosted PBX is important to you, ask the vendor if they can give you centralized control of advanced calling features with each phone package – both at the administrator and end-user levels.
Another good strategy to determine where the provider stands with their service is to ask for their service roadmap. This will give you an idea of what features and functionality the service provider is looking to add over time and how they match to your long-term strategy.
Benchmarks to determine a provider’s performance and reliability become evident when a provider can give you:
- An SLA for service availability for voice (ideally 99.9% or higher) and the associated credits.
- Description of their pre-qualification process to help you determine VoIP readiness.
- A network-based application or probe at your location that provides quality of service monitoring for call clarity.
- A network map outlining business continuity capabilities built into their solution.
Other signs that tell you a provider is top-notch include:
- They offer more than just a hosted PBX solution. A provider with a complete portfolio of VoIP services will make a recommendation based on your needs, not what they have to sell you.
- They will deliver service over their private IP network, not best-effort Internet.
- They can talk about long-standing partnerships with the leading technology suppliers and the latest platform functionality. Vendor coordination is key to any implementation.
Look for these signs and you limit the chances that you’ve selected a poor service provider.
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