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Business Email 101 – Steps 6 & 7: Shopping Providers

Over the last month, we’ve covered the ins and outs of figuring out how to evaluate and choose business email as laid out in the Business Email 101 Guide. At this point, we’re ready to go shopping for email. With the plethora of email providers in the market, it can be difficult to distill provider language, pricing and features. Steps Six and Seven offer guidance about what to look for in a business email provider. Step Six outlines a list of 10 questions to ask a prospective email provider. The top five questions to consider are:

  1. Is your provider here for the long haul? Read up on the provider’s history and successful track record as an email provider. Check out the provider’s customers, leadership team and investors, and look at what the media has to say about its reputation.
  2. Are the provider’s archiving solutions easy to manage? Ask a potential provider to walk you through its policies, capabilities and procedures; pay particular attention to the vendor’s testing procedures for its archiving and backup systems.
  3. Does the provider use state-of-the-art malware and spam protection? Clarify how anti-virus and anti-spam work to avoid a security catastrophe. Grab a demo account to test-drive it for yourself.
  4. How responsive is the provider’s customer service? Look for a provider that guarantees response times, has a documented escalation policy and offers around the clock support.
  5. What does the provider really tell you in its SLA? Know how the provider defines terms like “uptime” and “unplanned outage;” how the provider communicates with customers regarding outages; and how the provider compensates customers for outages.

To help you compare the email providers that make your short list, Step Seven gives you a customizable comparison sheet. Use it as a place to record the data gathered about providers to simplify the comparison process.

For the entire list of questions to ask an email provider and the provider comparison sheet, read or download the Business Email 101 Guide and check out Steps Six and Seven. Catch up on the previous chapter overviews here: Intro, Step One, Step Two, Step Three, and Steps Four & Five.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Lizetta Staplefoote.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


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