Market musings

Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Business VoIP Phone Contract

by Sasha Viasasha
January 29, 2018

A lot can happen in a year, let alone 24 months. Yet that’s the length of a typical VoIP phone contract for many business phone systems. A 2-year contract might make sense for a larger enterprise where things tend to move slowly and changes require plenty of  lead time. For a small business with less than 50 employees, though, a two year lock on telecom options can be too constrictive. For an agile company looking for growth and opportunity, such a contract can have real consequences if your company outgrows its terms or moves in a radically new direction. 

First of all, small companies tend to grow in spurts and could easily outgrow their phone line maximums, or fall beneath their minimums, over the course of six months. Secondly, these plans often require you to use specific phone networks, which may not be in your best financial interest. Thirdly, not all of these phone systems are available in every location that you might expand into in the months ahead, which means either trying to work with more than one phone system or letting go of a great expansion possibility that may never come again.

Before you sign up for a two-year contract with a VoIP phone service provider, find answers to these questions:

  • Where does your service area cover?
  • Which mobile phone companies do you work with?
  • How easy is it to make changes to the system if you switch mobile carriers?
  • What is the penalty for early termination? Is that fee per user?
  • Does the entire yearly fee have to be paid upfront?
  • How long does it take to add on new users or remove users?
  • Does your contract automatically renew?
  • How many days notice must you give if you intend on not renewing it?
  • Does your contract auto renew? Some contracts requires non-renewal notice at least ten days before the end of the term. 
  • What are the interest rates and extra charges for late payments?
  • What are the service level agreements and what will the provider do if they don’t meet their end of the bargain?
  • Can the customer cancel the contract if they are not satisfied with the quality of service?
  •  Will you need to buy specialized routers or other additional equipment when 5G comes online?
  • What are the fees or consequences for exceeding your usage allotments?  Do you alert your customers when they are getting close to their maximums?
  • Are there regions of the country that aren’t supported?  Which countries are part of the service area? Does the provider have partners for service in areas you don’t support?
  • Are there provisions for canceling the contract if the customer’s main office moves to an region outside the coverage area?
  • Are service and support open around the clock? How long does it take to resolve problems on average?

Business phone systems are notoriously complicated, and the terms of service can be just as difficult to understand. Pay-as-you-go is a great option for young and growing companies who want to avoid large capital expenditures, but the benefits can be offset by terms that are too restrictive, and penalize you for making changes.

Contract vs subscription

In many ways, a contract is a vestige of the legacy world. As the old analog system continues to be disrupted by the cloud and VoIP technology, new models of delivering service can offer greater flexibility for agile companies, while still securing you a great price. Software as a service is designed to service agile companies, allowing you to pay as you go without the inflexibly and hard terms of the contract era. 

Greater flexibility, greater mobility

Spoke Phone doesn’t lock you into a hard contract. We condensed the essential features of an enterprise-class phone system into a solution for your existing mobile phone. You can use desk phones if you'd like, but you don't need them. The entire application can be managed from your smartphone, and allows you to easily capture and access essential call data, including:

  • Call logs, including missed calls and messages
  • Contact information, organized in a smart directory
  • Availability, live presence, and office hours

Spoke Phone offers features that drive better productivity and business outcomes, allowing teams to easily document and save vital information, and to communicate easily in the field. They can transfer calls, set up call groups, and easily access a shared call log. Missed calls stay visible in the system until someone follows up, allowing a busy team to easily track and manage call traffic. An AI attendant ensures that your callers are always greeted professionally. 

Best of all, there is nothing to setup, install or configure--and it offers a significant cost savings-- up to 88% cheaper than traditional phone service.

Our subscription pay model and features package is just as simple. Our terms are transparent and flexible, so you won't have to worry about getting locked into a contract that can't work for you. 

Spoke is the only business phone system that is dead simple to setup and use, yet has the enterprise phone system features your business needs. 

Want to check out a demo of Spoke and see how it works? We're always happy to show you around.  

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