Here's How We Rate VOIP Service Providers
When we developed our rating methodology we knew that we had to look at VOIP providers from the perspective of real-world potential customers. We put ourselves into the shoes of business owners, wanting the best value and features for a fair price. In addition, we concluded that customer service and reliability would be critical to a business's mission success. This lead us to use the following rating criteria in our reviews.
Can you depend on them?
Do they deliver?
Worth the expense?
How do they fair?
VOIP technology has matured in recent years to the point where the technology itself is fairly robust and reliable. In most cases one need not be worried about whether or not a VOIP system will fail due to the technology being used. The technology is stable. However, the reliability of a VOIP service implementation executed by a given provider can be less reliable than desired. Providers are in control of audio codecs and hardware updates among other technical applications. Additionally, the provider's data network and Internet speed can affect the robustness of your service. We take all of these factors into consideration when we rate a VOIP provider's reliability. Reliability contributes 25% to the overall score a provider receives from us in a given category.
As mentioned elsewhere, VOIP technology has matured significantly in recent years. Gone are the days where you'd compare a small handful of features between providers. Now days, VOIP services offer up dozens and dozens of features (we currently have 104 in our VOIP Features list) to sway your judgement on which provider to choose. This can be overwhelming. That is why we included Features as a rating criterion in our methodology. We know which features matter the most in a given category. Providers that offer a robust feature set that aligns with current business needs (efficiency, flexibility, cost-effectiveness) rate higher in this area than those that just offer standard or irrelevant features. Features contribute 25% to the overall score a provider receives from us in a given category.
Conscientious consumers and business owners are constantly looking at the bottom line. When purchases or other expenditures are made, it is becoming more and more necessary to evaluate the overall Value of a given product or service. VOIP is a perfect example of an expenditure that needs to be justified in terms of value to the company or it's strategic goals. We look closely at several factors for each VOIP service provider and then assign it a value score. The score is effectively a way for you to know how much you're getting for your money when you select a given provider, with respect to other providers in the system. Value contributes 25% to the overall score we give a provider in a given category.
Whether we like it or not, technical innovations like VOIP service hiccup or even fail at times. VOIP consumers (individuals or businesses) rarely become experts in troubleshooting and fixing the problems. In addition, consumers don't want to be bogged down by administrative or billing issues. This is where good, responsive customer support comes in. We included Customer Support in our list of rating criteria to give you some indication of what to expect from a provider's support team. The rating reflects our investigation of a providers support system, support knowledge, support timeliness, and support effectiveness. We factor in what current users say about the support. Customer Support weighs in at 25% of the overall rating for each VOIP provider on our site.
Consumer Confidence Ratings
We assign each VOIP provider a Consumer Confidence rating. This value provides you a measure of how strongly consumers might feel about the provider. The consumer confidence criteria (CCC) are explained below. The Confidence rating is a weighted combination of the CCC values.
Years in Business
While many different factors can affect one's confidence in a business, the number of years a company has been around is a good indication of that company's ability to serve its customers well. This factor may be more relevant when it comes to a technology company like a VOIP service provider. This is because the technology changes so quickly, and it stands to reason that if a tech company can last in an industry that changes so quickly, then that company can better serve its customer base. Granted, this analysis may not always hold up, but it's a good starting point. We use this metric with the others described below to determine how confident you should be in selecting a given VOIP service. We assign 25% to the Years in Business criterion in our Consumer Confidence ratings.
Bureau & Consumer Rating Organizations
The Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection and rating organizations are invaluable resources to use when evaluating a potential service provider. While the ratings and information provided by these types of organizations are not perfect, they do tend to give an accurate overview of how a company is perceived by its consumers. Therefore, we take time to investigate what is being said about the service providers on our list. We've discovered that you can learn a lot about a company by seeing what consumers complain about and how the organization responds to the complaints. We research the VOIP providers on our site and determine a score that accounts for 25% of the Consumer Confidence rating.
Google's influence both culturally and technologically can not be understated. Virtually everyone is familiar with the search giant. 'Google' is both a noun and a verb (e.g. 'just Google it'). Most people have come to trust the information that Google serves up on a myriad of devices including your laptop, desktop, cell phone, and more. But Google isn't serving up information and search results randomly. Google's algorithms employ ultra-cutting edge quality evaluations such that the content is usually the best available online. This is why we include Google placement (e.g. search results, maps, ratings, and more) in our consumer confidence criteria. We do a deep dive into the Google universe for each VOIP service to determine how they stack up against the other providers. Google Presence weighs in at 25% of our Confidence calculation.
Social Media Score
Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. LinkedIn. These are all names we're familiar with. In fact, these and other social media websites and apps have become staples in our online experience. Here are some interesting statistics (source): 88% of 18 - 29 year olds, 79% of 30 - 49 olds, and 61% of 50 - 64 year olds are on Facebook. More than 65 million businesses have Facebook business pages. 88% of businesses with over 100 employees use Twitter for marketing. Over 1 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube per day. 49% of college graduates use LinkedIn. These statistics just begin to demonstrate the amount of time people spend on Social Media. Time spent, among other things, discussing, rating, recommending, and criticizing businesses and their products. Consumer confidence in a VOIP provider can certainly be instructed by what is said of it on Social Media. We monitor the social landscape for each provider and assign a Social Media rating, accounting for 25% of our Consumer Confidence rating.
Consumer Confidence Calculation
After we've determined a score for each of the Consumer Confidence Criteria listed above, we combine the criteria into an overall confidence score using the respective criteria weights. We present the total Confidence score as a percentage (e.g. 90%). Find a VOIP provider's Confidence score on their review page.
See our Overall VOIP Reviews
The user ratings on Top VoIP Reviews are sourced from the top VoIP ratings and comparisons websites online. We compile and weigh all user ratings sources into the composite user ratings you see on our site. The sources we use include GetVoIP.com, WhichVoIP.com, VoipReview.org, and more.