The VoIP industry is booming, and this has created a significant demand for DID (Direct Inbound Dialing) services and choosing a DID provider has become harder. Very often, these services are essential to the basic premise of the business or enterprise; incoming calls should reach their required destination efficiently with the proper quality and expected reliability.
In all likelihood, voice support serves as the backbone for your business, and it is short-sighted to risk your reputation by exposing employees and consumers to a substandard voice product. Selecting a provider that satisfies your requirements for coverage, quality, scalability, and pricing is a complex issue, and some of the essential criteria to consider during this decision process are:
Ensure that your DID provider includes the geographic coverage of numbers that you require for your business, including toll-free, local, mobile, national and SMS-enabled numbers. In addition, the provider should be actively and continually expanding their coverage and must be responsive to your requirements for additional services.
Number Availability and Scalability
Your provider must maintain an appropriate inventory of numbers in every country and area code in which you operate, and these numbers should be available for immediate activation. Also, ensure that the provider can grow together with your business, and is able to meet both your current and future needs.
It is essential that the voice quality be satisfactory, irrespective of the origin or destination of the calls. There are many factors that affect call quality including VoIP bandwidth, VoIP routes and hardware locations, codecs and voice compression, as well as the QoS (Quality of Service) capabilities of the provider’s infrastructure. Despite the availability of sophisticated products for determining speech quality, the human ear is a superior and objective judge of voice performance, and these services should be evaluated under real-life conditions.
Extensive global relationships with local network operators plus a vast inventory of numbers will enable your provider to offer pricing that is suitable your business. In addition, the availability of flexible billing such as flat-rate or metered services for incoming calls is desirable in affording you with options for minimizing call costs according to your specific business model. Moreover, selected voice providers offer free capacity (unlimited channels) when using inbound calling on toll-free numbers, thus minimizing or eliminating the cost of paid call traffic.
Flexible Capacity Options
Managing concurrent call capacity is critical to your business, and requires a delicate balance between spending money on excess channel capacity, and having customers receive a busy signal. In addition, unpredictable call volumes can occur during events such as marketing campaigns or product launches and recalls that can quickly exceed the inbound call capacity.
Therefore, you should ensure that the trunk architecture includes options such as flexible capacity grouping and both flat-rate and metered channels that allow you to optimize the concurrent calling capacity and, at the same time, reduce operating costs. Also, you must have access to appropriate monitoring tools that assist in effective service management and notify you of events such as insufficient channel capacity.
It is important that you maintain complete control over call termination options and the delivery of inbound calls, as this provides you with optimum quality, security, management, and performance of end-to-end voice services. Therefore, direct peering and interconnection to your voice provider via SIP Trunk or TDM is highly desirable from both an operational and cost-effectiveness point of view.
Redundant Network and Reliability
Ensure that your voice provider has the infrastructure designed to handle origination services in a stable, efficient, reliable and flexible manner. This includes having direct interconnects with Tier 1 providers, offering full geo-redundant and fail-over capabilities, and using secure data center facilities. Of course, technical support is essential, and services must be backed by a Network Operations and Customer Support Center operating on a 24/7/365 basis.
Integration and Programmers Interface
You may require custom integration of your existing services and communication network with those of the DID provider, and it is essential that you find a partner who is able to meet your technological and operational requirements. In addition, you may wish to automate the procurement, configuration and management of the DID services, and an API (Application Program Interface) that is appropriate for your requirements must be available.
It is important that your provider safeguards your communications, including employing authentication and encryption services where appropriate. In addition, anti-fraud monitoring should be present, as well as call barring that allows you to block or modify access to certain nations or destinations.
Ensure that your DID provider has efficient porting policies and procedures in place, allowing you to easily move phones numbers associated with other landline or VoIP providers to your newly selected provider.
Management of Voice Services
It is a priority that you have access to user-friendly, web-based and mobile tools for monitoring and managing your global number inventory and call capacity, essentially providing you with full control over your inbound services. In addition, the availability of operational and performance statistics is highly beneficial and will allow you to optimize performance and minimize operational costs.
Taking all of these factors into consideration will go a long way towards ensuring that you make the correct decision when selecting a DID provider. But in the end, there is no replacement for due diligence, and it is wise to insist on a free trial with companies such as Voxbone, DIDWW and Nexmo so that you can see how these services perform under real-life conditions. By doing this, you will partner with a provider who is able to meet your expectations and deliver the voice quality and reliability that your business demands.