Because of the vast array of essential business services being provided, choosing the right UCaaS provider is like no other business service or investment. It is of the utmost importance to make a precise selection the first time since most providers will require that you commit to a full year-long contract from the beginning.
In the following article, we will cover some of the more essential things that you should look for when choosing a new service provider. If you can cover each of the topics listed below, you can rest assured that the UCaaS provider you have selected will at least fit your business well and be a benefit to your operations.
The Unified Communications Services on Offer
The first and most important thing you will want to consider is the services the Unified Communications provider is offering. For the most part, the variations are limited, and most providers will offer the standard instant messaging, video conferencing and secure file sharing as well as the usual internal or internal and external voice calls. Of course, you will want to consider what are the most critical services that your business requires and make sure that these are also provided.
Internal-only voice calls mean that your staff will not be connected to real phone numbers and will not be able to make phone calls for work or other reasons from the UCaaS Platform. For some operations, this will be perfect.
If you already have a VoIP service in place and it is working well for you, but the VoIP provider doesn’t offer the full range of services you will need. You may consider continuing to use this to make all external phone calls and choose a UCaaS provider that provides internal communications. This would be a good fit and ensure you are getting all you need.
Keeping your internal and external communications separate will make an excellent solution, but there are alternatives. If you are looking for a seamless external and internal communications plan, many UCaaS providers offer business phone connections to the external phone lines. This can be either a standard feature or an added bonus to their regular communications plan (such as you will find from Microsoft with their Phone System Ad-On License).
Nevertheless, we would like to caution our readers about the idea of choosing a phone service that is an add-on. Remember that communications are essential to the smooth working of your organization. Unlike the internal communications that are merely vital to functionality, external communications are that link to customers that fuel your operations. If your customers begin interfacing with problematic or low-quality phone services, you could lose customers in the most vital moments of the sales process where they should be converted to paying customers.
This will eventually strike at the very heart of your business’ prosperity. So, even though it is convenient to have your internal and external communications in one system, it is far more important to ensure that your external communications are supplied by a provider with a history of supplying top-quality services.
Integration: Service-to-service and Third-Party
As mentioned, Unified communications include a variety of services. It takes special skills and experience to deliver each service perfectly. This means that even if the provider you have chosen has a wide range of services they offer, it is more important that these services function well and integrate with the third-party apps you are using. CRMs are one of the most important because this facilitates the process of bringing in new customers and maximizes the efficiency of your sales efforts.
Then you will need to consider the level of integration offered by the different services provided. There is typically no reason this should not be of the highest grade, no matter the provider you choose. It stands to reason that these services have been brought and developed together, and the user experience should be top-notch. Of course, you will find that some of the providers can do this better than others. A provider that offers seamless compatibility and no-hassle integrations is always going to be more popular, which is why the Microsoft option has such a large following of satisfied customers.
Unified Communications Features
Different businesses will have different needs from their communications networks, and this is a good reason to do in-depth research into the various services your prospective UCaaS provider is offering. For example, the phone systems and the instant messaging provided. Taking the time to become acquainted with each one will also allow you a feel for how this technology will be incorporated into the business. If your business needs top-of-the-line phone service, this is a solution you will want to look for. You will also have a list of the specific phone services and qualities you need.
You will need to be sure that each of the services is exactly what you need. It may say that a phone system offers a ‘call recording’ service, but what does that really mean? Is this only turned on for global communications? Can it be used for calls between staff members? Is this a user-friendly option? Do recordings occur automatically, or is this something that has to be turned on and off by the user for each phone conversation? These questions will allow you to begin a Free Trial service or a conversation with a sales provider with the perspective to know what is and is not a good fit for you and your needs.
Another example is the IVR menus, also called auto attendants. These services can be multi-level or single-level. On a single level option, callers will be able to select between options 1, 2, 3, etc. But will not have the option to branch off. So, after making their selection, the caller will then be routed to the department they are looking for and will require a further response from that department. This may work well for a small organization, but larger operations will find this limitation too constrictive.
Another service that requires some examination is the file-sharing offered by many Unified Communications Providers. It should be noted that the protocols and encryption used are offered at different levels by different providers. You will want to check the level of encryption currently used by your security advisors to ensure you are getting the right match.
So, begin with a clear understanding of which services are essential to your needs and then ask yourself exactly what you expect from an improved service. This places you in the best position to get exactly what you are looking for and how a UCaaS will fit your current needs.
Customer Support / Reputation
The fact of the matter is that nothing works all the time perfectly, and at some point, things are going to go offline and fail for one of many reasons. When this happens, it will be reassuring to know you can count on a knowledgeable professional to get you back on track fairly quickly. This is wh6y working with a trusted provider is so important. Those providers with a stellar reputation and enthusiastic following of customers are always the better choice. But don’t rely on the marketing schemes of the provider for your information. Be sure to ask around with colleagues and friends in similar situations and study customer reviews on third-party review boards. When a service is truly amazing, the results will speak for themselves.
The software systems that will allow clear communications between your team and your clients outside of your organization are critical to your business and should be treated as such. This is why it is important to consider what you will need as the vital first step in your plan to find the best UCaaS provider. Once you know what you are looking for, you will be able to delve more deeply into the history of various service providers.