In the last couple of months I have found it interesting the number of phone calls received from businesses that have tried to implement some form of SIP communications system. After enough pain experienced, business owners call very frustrated in their attempts to resolve the issues. Good news is, we still take frustrated customers.
The first one came from a company in Calhoun, Georgia that had bought a product at a wholesale club. This was a surprise for me because the last I heard, wholesale clubs were in the business of selling food, jewelry, lawn furniture and other consumable items but not in the phone business!
This customer stated that the system just was not working for him. He was tired of dealing with the constant issues and felt he spent his time managing the “phone system” and not his business. They bought a Samsung OfficeServ 7100 from Rottweiler Systems and the last conversation that he had with me stated he was impressed how versitle it is.
Since that system installation, we have had multiple customers with similar issues trying to run their businesses with VoIP lines, another using a “talkswitch” and yet another that had finally given up of using an Internet SIP solution placing the phones in boxes in a closet. With similar encounters of problematic issues it becomes necessary to bridge the topic of SIP.
It has been my observation that any time someone has to explain how something works (as they are selling it), that it will cost you more money the closer towards the “yes” that the salesman is looking to receive from you. I believe this is very true of SIP and the way it is being marketed. Often explained as VoIP, (which it actually is not), customer service reps and associated sales staff often diagram that it is what makes an Internet phone work, that too is incorrect. So lets clarify what is SIP and what is SIP Trunking?
What is SIP? In its simplest form SIP is an application. The biggest use of this application is found in the Internet world and is used in the set up and tear down of voice calls and video applications that are used with newer IP telephones.
Here are a few suggestions when considering purchasing a product that uses SIP or the vendor offering it.
- Don’t purchase SIP services from an Internet entrepreneur that is trying their hand in the “phone-business”. You may find that two years ago they worked the help desk of the local computer service center. So, the first rule is…if the vendor you are considering has been in business less than 5 years, don’t carry the conversation any further.
- Don’t sign any contract that locks you into service for years into the future. Good vendors don’t require contracts of longevity. However, we know that uninformed and unsuspecting businesses make the mistake of moving too quickly and often will.
- Don’t let a SIP provider provide you with your business numbers! This will cause you the greatest pain when you can’t take their pain any longer.
- If they don’t have local field technicians, don’t buy it! You’ll be throwing away your money.
- Make sure that any IP phones purchased carry a warranty longer than any contract. Didn’t I say don’t sign a contract?
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
With promises of savings, hosted VoIP companies that utilize SIP often look like this. First they’ll sell you their version of SIP phones (that will be your first gulp), then there usually is an installation charge (usually in the hundreds of dollars) and then soon to follow will be the technical support calls. Prior to this they often will bring a contract. At that you should run! Often accompanied by an illusion of savings, which if you look at it long enough will make you wonder.
I believe that SIP is here to stay and that businesses will continue to implement various versions of telephone equipment that utilize SIP and will use this form of communication. In my opinion, Samsung makes the best VoIP phones on the market today and in Atlanta, Rottweiler Systems does the best installations of VoIP business systems.
SIP, implement it correctly and you will be satisfied, but if you don’t hire the right company, the taste of SIP will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.