You may have heard of ITSPA – the Internet Telephony Service Providers' Association. What you may not know is the important contribution they make to the field, or the ways they help both customers and providers.
One of the main ways ITSPA helps customers is by providing free, impartial advice. You can read through their website to find all the latest news in the VoIP arena. You can read through their list of approved Providers, see who has been awarded their Quality Mark, and see who has won their annual Awards.
Their annual award is a no-expense spared affair. Hopeful entrants turn up in formal attire, waiting to hear if they have been successful. ITSPA have a history of providing lavish locations for the award ceremony. Last year the ceremony was hosted at the National Theatre in London. This year, it is being held at the Tower of London!
In keeping with the prestigious atmosphere which surrounds the ceremony, attendees receive an all-day pass to the Tower, and drinks and canapés are served.
The Awards are regularly attended by the main brands familiar in the VoIP field.
It is a great resource to see the most respected, and respectable, VoIP Providers.
They run Awards covering various categories of VoIP Provider.
The Best Business ITSP for Small Enterprise will be of particular interest if you own or manage a small company. This lets you see the best Provider operating in the market place who have been given the ITSPA award.
Providers operating in this arena are generally good at servicing smaller requests, offering applicable products and services. Communication must be of a high standard, and the end user should be guided through the enquiry stage, and beyond. The Provider's Technical Support must also be able to assist those who's VoIP knowledge may be limited. Companies in this bracket are unlikely to have an advanced level of technical knowledge. They rely on their Provider to guide them, offering applicable products and reviewing these products to keep abreast of customer requirements.
SureVoIP® are Finalists in this award category for 2017.
The Best Business ITSP for Medium Enterprise will interest you if are involved with a larger company. Medium sized companies will have a different list of interests and requirements, and this will be reflected in their VoIP needs.
They are more likely to have more involved call routing, use advanced service functions, and require a different level of support. They are more likely to have more knowledge in the field, either through experience or through having performed research.
Supporting this level of customer requires a different skill set. They are more likely to have larger numbers of users, but will probably not be big enough to have specialist IT or telecoms staff on site. Therefore, providers working with this market segment need a specific set of skills and resources.
As with any VoIP service, the infrastructure behind-the-scenes must be solid and robust. Both call quality and resilience rely on this fact.
The feature set must be applicable to organisations of this size. This market segment is far removed from the cheap call, low quality approach. They are likely to require Conferencing, IVR menus, Call Recording and Music on Hold at the very least. Whichever VoIP Provider is chosen must be able to deliver these requirements, and others.
Providers in this category must deliver a robust, resilient service with a focus on quality. VoIP services must include the most-used features and functions, and some development work in response to customer requests would also count highly. Customers in this category require a responsive, proactive Provider, able to develop and deliver contemporary services in-line with current customer expectations.
SureVoIP® won this category outright in 2016.
The Best Business ITSP for Corporate Enterprise is an award which will be monitored by larger organisations using VoIP.
Providers in this category are required to work with contacts from a variety of departments. The Provider must have their own administrative system efficient and fit for purpose. They will be required to liaise with many different contacts, from IT and telecoms people to purchasing, invoicing and end users. Many of these will have limited knowledge as to VoIP. Providers must be capable and willing to help. A snobby, superior attitude to those with limited IT knowledge might be funny in sitcoms like 'The IT Crowd', but it won't win any new customers – in fact it will probably lose you some!
Providers will be required to work with users from all lines of work, and must be equally prepared to listen to all. Not everyone will be a member of the IT department, or have previous experience in setting up telecoms equipment.
By the same token, Providers in this category must be flexible. They will also be required to work with professionals with in-depth industry knowledge.
This can be a fast-paced environment, relying heavily on documentation, and controlled work-flows. All aspects of changes, solutions and specifications will be recorded. Transparency is required at all stages and within all processes. All service aspects must be fully and diligently recorded. It must be possible to undo anything which has been done, and for any other Technical Team member to effect any changes required.
Customers in this category require a very high level of expertise. Services and solutions need to be cutting-edge. Staff need to be trained and experience, and the Provider needs a forward looking approach to technical development and innovation.
Providers will be required to support advanced equipment, supply advanced features, and handle enquiries from staff from all departments, from IT to HR.
A full-time, experienced technical team will be required, with the appropriate infrastructure and resources behind them.
SureVoIP® are Finalists in this award category for 2017.