Small Business VoIP Providers Revealed: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” Presented by

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In the swath of slick advertising, teaser-rates, and Johnny-come-lately business VoIP providers, it’s important to read the signs.

The single most important thing to consider before choosing a business VoIP provider is ...

The best “worst kept secret” in business telephone systems is Voice Over Internet Protocol, or simply “VoIP”, telephone service. The cloud-based technology has taken the business community by storm because of the huge monthly savings, versatility, and feature-rich service plans. The sudden popularity of VoIP systems has also produced a landslide of new VoIP service providers to wade through when a business finally decides to switch over to the “next generation” technology. After sifting through the service plans, reviews, and pricing plans of the nation’s top business VoIP service providers, the telecom experts at present: “Small Business VoIP Providers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

1. The Good: Nextiva

Nextiva Small Business VoIP service represents the best in customer service and support, has the most value in their service plans ($19.95/month and 100+ features), and delivers the most reliable service in the industry. When a customer visits the Nextiva website the first thing they notice is that the “Sales” department and the “Service” department receive equal space on the homepage, indicating a genuine concern for their customer’s experience and a dedication to customer satisfaction.

They have a wide array of business VoIP plans for any size outfit, Call-Center plans, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking, Hosted PBX, and preconfigured Internet phones and devices. The one-stop “unified communications” aspect of Nextiva ensures that if an issue arises, different services providers can’t blame “the other guy”. Nextiva’s trademarked “Amazing Service” guarantees that when a customer calls their US-based service center, “95% of calls are answered by the second ring, the service reps focus on your business (not your phone) and there’s “little to no hold time.”

2. The Bad:

The “bad” category is comprised of (too many) companies in the network growth-phase that concentrate more on building a book of customers than keeping the ones they have happy. They are easy to spot. If a SMB is considering a business VoIP provider, they should cruise the website of that company and attempt to locate the customer-service-contact category. If it’s buried in the last page of the “about us” section, that’s an indication of how difficult it will be to garner assistance should any potential issue arise.

3. The Ugly:

Ugly publicity, that is. MagicJack seems to be the most widely panned Internet Phone application on the web bar none, despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact) that millions of the units have been sold. Simply by the law of averages, if any company has 10 million customers, and .001% of them sit down a write a scathing review, there are 10,000 angry reviews out there. The device is cheap at around $40, and with a monthly cost as low as $5.99 for unlimited international calls. The focus of complaints about MJ on for example, is with MagicJacks’s customer service. It seems a moderately proficient techie has no problem setting the device up, but anyone with slightly less proficiency may have problems with set-up and major problems getting help doing it from MagicJack.

Not every business VoIP service provider is going to offer the same service, prices, or sets of features with their plans. In the swath of slick advertising, teaser-rates, and Johnny-come-lately VoIP providers, it’s important to read the signs. The single most important thing to consider before choosing a business VoIP provider is customer service, because it indicates the company's investment in the long-term relationship between the business and the business VoIP provider.

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Anthony Templeton
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