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How to Choose the Right Business VOIP Service

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As with many of the products and services we review, there’s a lot of competition in the VOIP services market, making it difficult to know which service to choose. No.1 Reviews has compiled a collection of great specific, in-depth reviews to help all of our users choose the service that is right for them and this buying guide helps bring all of that information together to give our readers an idea of what they should be looking out for when reading those reviews and choosing a service.


What are VOIP calling services?

VOIP stands for voice-over-Internet Protocol and is the general term for telephony services that are provided using internet technology. The precise nature of particular VOIP services varies considerably, from services that simply offer cheap or free PC-PC calls between users, to those that offer more advanced services such as hosted virtual PBX, ideal for business users. For all the information you need about the most commonly used specialist terms in this industry, follow the link to our glossary, which should help demystify some of the more unusual terms.


How can VOIP help you save money?

There are two main ways in which VOIP services can help you save money. Firstly, and most obviously, VOIP services offer reduced call fees when compared to standard landline and cell phones, and PC-PC calls are provided free of charge. This can have a significant effect on the overall cost of calls, both for private and business users. Importantly too, VOIP services (particularly those that are more advanced) can offer business users substantial efficiency savings, improving productivity in the answering and management of calls and thus improving customer satisfaction. All of this can be achieved with a relatively low-cost system that operates without substantial amounts of hardware. It’s easy to see, therefore, why VOIP services are becoming more and more popular in the business context.


What Import Features Should Be Considered?

The exact range of features and tools on offer at each service, along with the precise manner in which these features operate, differ considerably from site to site. In order to give our readers a thorough idea of the sort of features that they should be looking out for when they read our in-depth reviews, we have set out some of the most important features below.

  • Auto-Attendant
    Auto-attendants are automatic services that “answer” calls, rout calls to appropriate individuals or staff members or offer a range of automated options to help direct callers to the information/individuals they need. In the context of business phone systems, auto-attendant can help small companies appear to be larger, more successful or more professional than would otherwise be the case (without the costs often associated with these technologies). If you’re a business user, look out for these services if you’re looking to improve the way your business communicates with its customers.

  • Voicemail Features
    As with landlines and cell phones, VOIP calling services also offer voicemail services to their customers. Unlike regular voicemail services however, users of VOIP services can benefit from more advanced voicemail features including visual voicemail, email notifications, voicemail-to-email services and more, which help to improve the way users can pick up and respond to their messages. For business users, this helps businesses deal with their messages from customers more appropriately and improve the storage and management to build customer satisfaction.

  • Call Features and Extras
    One of the reasons VOIP services have become so popular is that it’s extremely easy, with these services, to integrate a range of great features that would normally only be available with a very expensive and hardware intensive phone system. Examples of these features include call waiting, caller ID, call blocking, call forwarding and more. In addition, many VOIP services integrate other communications functions, such as SMS, messaging, fax and email, helping to bring all communications systems into one, ‘cloud hosted’ service.

  • Inclusive Minutes & Calling Plans
    As with most cell phone calling plans, many VOIP services offer customers complementary or inclusive minutes to specific countries (often the US and Canada for services based in the US, and to the UK for British-based services) as part of their calling plan. For many users, these minutes will form the basis of their calling, so they should seek to ensure that their plans reflect their calling patterns to get the best deal. Don’t just be hooked by the free minutes though – be sure to check out the per-minute rates offered by each service to ensure that, once the minutes run out, you don’t run up a huge bill!

FAQs, Customer & Technical Support

While definitely not one of the more exciting elements of any product or service, we always consider it important to examine the extent to which services provide technical and customer service support in the event that anything goes wrong. Look out for services that offer such support throughout the day and night, by a number of different means (such as email, telephone or live chat). With telephone services, this can be particularly important – especially if a problem with your phone service would mean  you couldn’t get in touch with your provider by phone! Extensive FAQs are important too, helping users correct simple problems quickly and easily.


The Bottom Line

As with many services we review at No.1 Reviews, users have to weigh up a lot of factors in order to decide which service is right for them and their business. The most important factor, as you would expect, is probably the monthly cost of the service but prospective users should also take care to check out what our reviews say about the reliability of the service, the particular features on offer and the satisfaction of existing customers. Most importantly, finding a service that suits your needs and will actually make your communication with customers or acquaintances easier, should always be the ultimate aim. Enjoy!