Almost (if not) every VoIP provider offers add-on features with their service plans. While the function of each varies, add-ons are typically more involved and tailored for specific use than the features included in your VoIP plan. As providers continue to grow their roster of features, users must define what functions and feature they need; however, this can often be tricky. While the increase in feature options is by no means a negative, could there be too many fluff features flooding the market?
Users should note that each provider’s plan will vary in terms of included feature; therefore it’s crucial that you know exactly what you’re looking for when selecting a service provider. If not, you could end up paying for something you’ll never use, or that’s free with another provider or plan. Additionally, if users do not know the specific features they need, they may select a provider that does not suit their intended usage. For example, providers 8x8, Inc. and Nextiva offer similar services; however, their add-on features are very different. Users need to know their needs in order to select the best provider option.
This is where add-ons get tricky.
Add-on features can have a diluting effect on service offerings. With various features available it can be hard for users to define their needs. Also, with add-ons may appear important (as they command additional pricing); however, they may not be essential for certain users. Even informed users can get hung up on the potential additions. Therefore, users need to discern which provider offers the necessary features with the most cost efficiency based on their knowledge.
Though knowledge can be daunting, many providers offer support options. Tools such as phone support, messaging, live chat, and email can all provide necessary information are typically available to new and existing users; therefore, these services should be consulted. Additionally, add-ons are not irreversible. If users select an add-on feature that they don’t need/use or are unhappy with, they can typically cancel that feature.
While there are variances from provider to provider, many offer similar add-on features such as additional voicemail boxes, conferencing, auto attendant(s), application integration, custom ring back, call recording and professional recording services, voicemail transcription, premium hold music, virtual number, fax number/services, and so on. Add-ons are provided a la carte—meaning each feature has an individual monthly charge added to your bill.
Unlike other industries, VoIP does not have a ceiling. There are new technologies and applications developed every day. While this ensures VoIP’s cost-efficient pricing, it also opens the service up to more and more features and applications. Inversely, as this occurs, more and more information is cycled through as well. Users should be weary of selecting too many unnecessary services. Add-ons are not for everyone—they’re typically highly specialized; therefore, they should only be enacted if necessary.