I decided to research Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone for my business. It felt like the industry had reached a point where voice quality, features and price made it a smart choice. I was also very frustrated about my phone bill from Verizon. They were charging me for calls to Annapolis and when I called to ask them about it they gave me some double-talk about Latas or Stratas. I told the operator to "get real". Do they really expect businesses to pay a premium for in-state calls? OK. We aren't in Maryland. But Annapolis is only 45 minutes away. I guess they feel like they might have an advantage with call quality or service. Or maybe they think people want to work with a big name company.
Well, I decided to call on my old friend, Allen Kadis of EMC. Allen has a lot of experience with VOIP and small businesses. He immediately recommended Vocalocity. So, I did some more research and they received good reviews for service and price. I also learned that there is a bit of a price war going on in the VOIP phone industry. It seems that there might be too many players for the market. And VOIP phone companies just handle the phone traffic and do not make their own phones. So, you buy industry standard phones and pick your carrier. It is a very competitive industry.
So, I chose Vocalocity and got my phones in the mail in about 2 days. I was very excited because I would have a phone that I could take anywhere and that had auto-attendant and other great business features. Actually, it seems to have all of the features of a standard business phone system. I plugged it in and it worked. I was very impressed. But then I started experiencing some problems with the service. I found that about 1 out of every 5 calls would lead to the caller not being able to hear my voice. So, I called in to Customer Service and was told that I might need an adjustment to my firewall settings.
The technician worked remotely and eventually gave up. She told me to get a technician on-site to make the changes. I called back a few days later and was told that my firewall was too old and would not work at all. So, I removed the firewall. Well, that just made my phone worse. That made it so that the phone once and disconnect. I called in again to Vocalocity and was told that my router was also too old and that it was incompatible with VOIP.
So, I ordered a new D-Link Router for $45 (including shipping) and plugged it in. That made my VOIP phone die. I had "No Service" on the phones. No dial tone. No ringing. Nothing. When I called into Customer Service they told me to get Verizon (my Internet Service Provide) to "bridge my router". So, I called Verizon and I spent about an hour working with them to change the settings in my modem and my new router. I was told by Vocalocity that this would be the last step. But after the bridging process I still had "No Service" on all of my phones. Grrrrrrr.
Now this was my 3rd day without a business phone. All of our calls were being forwarded to my cell phone. I called Customer Support and Jack Jackson spent about 45 minutes gettings the phones corrected to communicate with our new "bridged router". Jack was very helpful, knowledgeable and patient. And he got our phone system working.
The lesson I would like to share with you is this.
Switch to VOIP. You will save a lot of money and you will get MORE features than you have now. And the sound quality is excellent. But before committing to a VOIP phone system, make sure you tell them the make and model of your router, firewall and modem at your office. Otherwise, you might have 2 or 3 days of no office phone! The other consideration is to make sure that you have enough Internet speed. Check your speed at Speedtest.net. How much speed you will need will depend on the number of phones at your office.
I highly recommend Vocalocity. They ultimately did help me find and fix all of the problems. And I now have a really great VOIP phone system that is packed with lots of great business features. So, if you want to make the switch, give them a call at 1-877-862-2562 and tell them that Progressive Office referred them to you.
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