Internet or online fax services is one form of “cloud computing” which has really caught fire with companies – big and small. Mainly because by using an online fax service provider a company can save on space, hardware, inks, toners, papers… and this new modern way of faxing is much cheaper, especially when you consider there are no start-up costs and you don’t have the monthly bill of an extra fax phone line.
When you throw in the fact that online faxing is completely mobile and makes any portable device like a cell phone, PDA, netbook or laptop a virtual fax machine. You can send and receive your faxes from anywhere as long as you have Internet access. This also makes your business available 24/7, 365 days of the year and if your company depends upon faxing to bring in sales or to contact clients; one can easily see why using an online fax service simply makes good business sense.
However, a word of caution, since this is usually a long-term business service or arrangement you have to be extremely careful when choosing a fax service. The prosperity of your business could be at stake if your company depends heavily upon faxing.
So what factors should you look for in a good fax service?
First, reliability is numero uno – you must have a reliable fax service that’s completely functional around the clock. It must deliver all your faxes to you and it must send all your faxes to your clients. Needless to say, missed faxes means you lose business, therefore, reliability of any fax service should be first More info on your mind when choosing any provider. So thoroughly check out any service, read reviews, ask your colleagues or users of a particular service, visit forums to see what other users are saying, and use the vast resources of the web to help you in your quest. Do a little homework now and you won’t be disappointed in the quality of the service you choose.
Second, you must check out all the costs associated with the fax service you pick, make sure there are no hidden fees that will cost you an arm and a leg over the long-haul. Most service are on average around $10 a month and you get 300 free faxes (incoming/outgoing) with your account. You will have to pay for extra faxes, rates go from 3 cents to 10 cents but there are cheaper rates and plans out there so it pays to shop around. Most but not all fax services have no set-up fees and most also let you have a free 30 Day Trial so that you can check out their service before you buy.
Third, most of the higher quality services will have many ways or methods which you can use to send/receive your faxes. Ease of use is one of the major factors online faxing has become so popular. You can send them directly through your email system, your faxes are sent as an email attachment – usually as a Tiff or PDF. Almost all have an online account or interface where you can logon and read your faxes, you can also send your faxes from this online account. Most services also let you store your faxes here for a certain length of time. Many services also have a desktop application you can use to send your faxes.
Fourth, you must check to see what type of support a service provides. Most quality services have 24 hour support which you can contact if you should have any problems. Some services have regular 9 to 5 business hours support which could be a problem if you have urgent faxes to send and you come into trouble and have to wait to contact support.
Fifth, you must also check to see if your fax service is completely scalable for business. Most of the top brand name quality services are scalable for businesses, if you want to scale up or scale down, then you can instantly do this since there is no hardware (fax lines or fax machines) to install since everything is done through your computers and the Internet. Most services also have fax broadcasting, in case you have to send a fax to a large number of people at once, you can do this with one click.