Choosing the Right Ashland, ME Business Phone Service Provider
The ability of your customers to reach out and purchase your product or service in Ashland, ME depends upon your choosing a reliable telephone service provider. Using the telephone remains the number one way most customers still use to get in touch with your business. Choosing the right kind of phone service for your business means contracting with a service that is affordable, dependable, and offers your business the specific features that make doing business with you as easy and convenient as possible. It's important to take the time to carefully evaluate a variety of business phone service types and providers available in the Ashland, ME area before making a commitment. You can choose between traditional analog telephone service, or VoIP service, explained in the comparisons of business phone service providers that follow.
What is Business VoIP Service?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it is the most advanced type of phone service available in Ashland, ME. VoIP phone service offers business customers an alternative to using the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with an analog line. VoIP has been around for over a decade. In the last few years, the service has become more popular as more businesses are making the switch from PSTN to VoIP.
The main difference between PSTN and VoIP is the way in which the calls are carried. A PSTN service offers an analog signal to carry the call, while a VoIP digitizes the calls and carries them through the internet. Before choosing a VoIP service you must make sure that your internet service can handle the bandwidth required. You can use the Wirefly Internet Speed Test to check this. Sending and receiving data from the internet is much cheaper than using the phone network, and if you make frequent long-distance or international calls your phone bill can rise very quickly. However, with VoIP service you will find that the cost of each call is significantly lower to that of a PSTN provider. As well as offering a significantly cheaper service, many VoIP providers also offer a flat-rate package that allows you to make unlimited calls to certain locations without worrying about per-minute charges.
There are many features regularly included in business VoIP service plans. Most Ashland, ME providers offer the regular PSTN services such as multiple extensions and caller ID's, as well as offering other interesting features like remote access to voicemail, ring groups, fax-to-email, call forwarding and many other useful add-ons that will ensure that you get the best service for your business's needs.
VoIP service providers offer many different plans. Whether you are a small company with only five lines, or a large corporation with hundreds of extensions, there is likely a VoIP service provider in Ashland, ME that will offer you a plan that is suited to your needs and budget.
Choosing the Right VoIP Provider in Ashland, ME
You'll find that there are many service providers who will try and get you to hire their business in Ashland, ME. Use the competition you will find to your advantage while you compare and contrast their different plans and rates. Don't settle for the first company that comes your way, and don't let any sales people push you into choosing their plan before you understand what you are getting into.
You'll always want to make a list of the services you absolutely have to have for your company. You may need call forwarding because you close certain days and hours and need to get your calls right away. You could need multiple lines for your larger company or just one for your small store.
Then, look up different offers from business VoIP providers. Check out what type of features they provide and how much they are. You should also double-check their reputation before choosing a company. If they have poor customer service, this isn't a good sign. Remember, your customers need to get ahold of you, so a working phone line is an essential part of owning a business. If a company has too many complaints against them, you may consider passing them by, no matter how cheap they are.
What is PSTN, or Traditional Business Phone Service?
A traditional phone service carries all calls over the PSTN. This stands for public switched telephone network and is generally what most consumers think of when they think phone service providers. This system has been around for nearly 100 years and is made up of cables, telephone lines, satellites and mobile networks. This was the very first type of phone network to ever be used.
However, the PSTN actually is more expensive than VoIP, because of how old and large the PSTN infrastructure is. It requires very regular maintenance and that cost gets passed onto consumers. PSTN is analog, so it is harder sending data over longer distances.
When someone makes a long distance call to or from a Ashland, ME business using the PSTN, the data stops at different places along its journey. The equipment that is in use is also owned by various companies, making these types of calls more expensive. While most of the infrastructure that carries and routes these calls has become digital, the “last mile' is not. The connection between the caller and the local central office is still analog.
Combining PBX Service With a POTS System
Most enterprises in Ashland, ME use PBX (private branch exchange) service, which directs the calls that come into their office to certain departments. PBX is what enables the usage of different professional communications functions like extra lines, live meetings, call redirecting, voice messaging, and others.
With a conventional POTS telephone line, the PBX may be housed either at the customer's location or on a remote server. Regardless of which solution you go with, analog PBX systems have one major disadvantage: They are quite pricey. Configuring a comprehensive company phone network that runs a PBX requires the purchase of different kinds of machinery, which means making an investment of roughly $1,000 at minimum - and that doesn't include installing, setting up, and maintaining the system. For that reason, you'll have to either assign the chore to an on-site worker with technical skills or hire an expert, which could cost upwards of $100 per hour.
In case you do opt for a standard PBX system for your company's communications needs, it's important to remember that updating or growing it might be problematic and cost a lot of money. A lot of PBX circuits in Ashland, ME have limitations on how many lines they can accommodate. If your company expands and requires you to add extra lines, you'll have to buy even more equipment to support this expansion.
Similar to other pieces of digital machinery, a PBX can encounter issues and malfunctions. You might have to spend a lot of money out-of-pocket to repair and replace hardware if some component in your PBX fails. In addition, it could grow to be outdated and require replacement every couple of years.
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