Asking the Right Questions of Your Long Distance Telephone Company

We have worked with many of our customers in recent years as they convert to IP telephony, or SIP, to handle their voice requirements.There are two big reasons why companies are motivated to deal with the conversion –

  1. Their telephone system is antiquated and it is no longer reasonable to maintain it with a “tape and glue” approach
  2. They pay a lot of money for long distance services every month from their long distance telephone company and want to significantly reduce their overall costs

Of course, there are other compelling reasons to make the switch, but the fear of equipment failure and being without working phones and the need to better manage costs are definitely driving the decision.You definitely don’t want to delay upgrading technology until the day AFTER the system completely dies.And, every month that goes by without addressing the long distance charges adds to the costs that can’t be recovered.

We’ve discussed VoIP in the past, so you know my position on it.Still, a quick reminder is in order.

For a business that is considering purchasing a new phone system, the two primary considerations are the monthly recurring cost and the total cost of ownership.Both numbers can be tricky to arrive at if you don’t know where the hidden costs are.

We typically find that even a small company will save $500 to $1,000 per month by moving to a hosted VoIP solution.That may not seem like much, but it adds up!And, you’ll likely need to consider a number of alternatives before deciding whether to go with a hosted solution from a cloud services provider or opt for a premise-based system that you purchase or lease (and maintain).

The primary focus for today is the concern over long distance charges.While it is true, in some respects, that long distance charges are a “thing of the past”.It’s those “other respects” that can get us into trouble.If you don’t understand how telecommunications companies manage VoIP calls and, more importantly, how they charge for them, you could have a nasty surprise lurking just around the next corner – or call.

There is a lot of “fine print” with any contract – and telecom contracts aren’t any different.You could spend a lot of time and/or money trying to make sure you have “crossed every t” and “dotted every i”, but I imagine you’d still miss things that just don’t “compute” for you.

That’s one of the reasons we have a job.While we can’t possibly know everything there is to know about VoIP or any other telecom service, we do have a broad base of experience to draw from that helps us know the right questions to ask.And, as the Chinese Proverb goes, “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

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