Frustrated with your current small business phone service? Looking for something that will up your game and professional image? Even in this era of instant messaging, texting, and web ordering, the humble telephone remains an important small business tool. It is the phone that allows us to make personal connections with our customers and clients. Adding or upgrading your phone service can help you efficiently manage these important communications seamlessly.
When and Why You Need a Small Business Phone Service
When first starting out, a simple landline or mobile phone was all that you probably needed. However, as your business grows, it becomes harder and harder to manage voice communications with customers and staff alike.
By adding or upgrading to a proper small business phone service, you will gain the ability to do the following:
- Easily track call duration, hold times, wait times, and overall usage
- Share one business phone number amount multiple users simultaneously (using a ‘auto attendant feature to route calls to the first available person)
- Receive and make calls from a desk phone, mobile phone, or computer (with the same phone number)
- Save on local and long distance fees by taking your number anywhere you want as long as there is a high-speed internet connection
- Enjoy mobile phone features like call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call recording and more on your desk phone
- Add new employee lines without calling in an expensive telephone technician
These features are available in cost-effective, enterprise-class solutions from several providers. Read on to see our top five picks for small business Voice Over IP (VoIP) phone systems that are easy to use, easy to manage, and may even drastically reduce your phone bill and associated telecommunication fees.
First on our list is Nextiva, one of the best business phone service when it comes to features and ease of use. They offer a huge set of features, quick setup and very reasonable pricing. The service also comes with a simple web-based administration panel to make it easy for small business owners to easily manage the platform like a pro.
Nextiva’s VoIP business telephone service for small businesses comes with advanced call routing, unlimited free domestic calling in the US, on-line faxing, voicemail to email and text, and ability to text message.
You also get a free local or toll-free number, free number porting, and all the bells and whistles like caller ID, call forwarding, custom greetings, and an interactive voice response (IVR) system to route calls. The Nextiva system also offers other super features like live chat, online surveys, and call analytics.
Customers routinely report that phone call quality is excellent and that their customer service representatives are always helpful. No need to worry that the service will be unavailable as it offers a stunning 99.999% uptime.
The cost for Nextiva’s VoIP business phone service is quite reasonable at around $20 per user per month. Pricing gets even better as you add more users. You can also create a pre-paid account to save more money.
One of our favorite small business features is that Nextiva allows us to add a business line for cell phone, so our technical service team can receive client calls from our office or when working remotely without having to share their personal cell phone numbers. This works via an app on both iPhone (Apple) and Android (including Google and Samsung) smartphones.
If your business needs an office phone system that works with existing handsets, then they offer that as well. Nextiva even supports larger businesses and call centers looking to transition old Avaya private branch exchange (PBX) systems into a powerful cloud based phone system with SIP trunking.
Second on our list is RingCentral, another popular small business phone system that scales for companies of all sizes. They offer one of the most feature-rich small business phone systems on the market.
RingCentral’s business phone platform includes all the typical features you want including unlimited calling, caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting and transfer, text messaging, and the ability to share a single line with multiple mobile devices and users.
The service also comes with video meetings with screen sharing and one-thousand toll-free minutes. Easy integration with cloud apps like Google Gsuite, Dropbox, and Microsoft Office 365 is also available. A cloud based administration portal makes it super easy to set up and manage your calls.
As with Nextiva, plans start out around $20 per month for each user (billed annually), and you can add up to 10 users. As you add more users, the price per user will go down.
RingCentral is a great phone solution for both physical offices that are looking to replace old landline phones as well as those operating virtual offices. In addition to newer digital desktop phones designed for VoIP, RingCentral can work with your old telephone system phones (when compatible) through the use of an adapter. You can also use their virtual phone system through a RingCentral desktop app and/or mobile app. Apps are available for both iOS and Android smartphones.
Next up on our list is Grasshopper. Unlike the previous two options, Grasshopper is a virtual phone number service.
A virtual phone service means that calls received to its telephone number are forwarded to any other phone number or mobile device. However, for outgoing calls you will still need a regular phone line. Still, this is a great option for solopreneurs or very small businesses.
Grasshopper offers easy to use web and mobile apps to manage your account. You can use multiple extensions for your number, and you can choose from local, toll-free, and vanity phone numbers. It offers US, Canada, and UK based local and toll-free numbers.
GrassHopper comes with all the standard features like call forwarding, call routing, waiting, holding with music, and the ability to receive voicemail as an email transcript. It is well suited for remote teams since you can readily add extensions and use them from anywhere via mobile or desktop apps.
Grasshopper plans start from around $26 per month which gets you a single phone number with up to 3 extensions.
Phone.com is another good choice for solopreneurs or very small businesses. Like Grasshopper, it is a virtual phone service.
It offers a simple to use web-based administration panel and standard small business phone service features like call forwarding and routing, caller ID, conference calling, and more.
A nice feature that Phone.com offers is the inclusion of several European countries and Canada in their local call minutes, making calls to those countries from the US much cheaper. It is also possible to integrate your service with third-party CRM software like Zoho or Salesforce.
Pricing wise, there are two types of options: pay per minute and unlimited. The pay per minute plans starts at $13 per month and the unlimited plan start from about $23 per month.
The final member of our list is Vonage. This phone service offers a terrific business phone system with loads of features to make your small business communications more effective. Besides the standard cloud based business VOIP services, the system integrates online meetings and video conferencing into their platform.
Vonage comes with a web-based control panel enabling you to quickly set up, add new users, and manage your calls. It also has features like mobile access making it a good fit for remote based teams.
Although we like the service, pricing can get a bit complex. The basic mobile plan starts at $20 per user per month but has limited features. Premium and advanced plans (in the $30 to $40 dollar per month per user range) are available. These seem to offer better combinations of features and usage limits. Solopreneurs may also want to consider the home service plan at $28 per month, although you might be better off with one of the virtual phone services if you already have a cell phone with a good voice and data plan.
Which is the Best Business Phone Service for Your Company?
To some degree, the best phone system for you will depend on the features that are most important to you. With that said, for most businesses with 5 or more users, Nextiva or RingCentral will make the most sense.
Their plans are affordable for businesses of all sizes, scale up well as you grow and offer a complete set of powerful features with top-notch customer support.
Pro Tip: Nextiva and RingCentral often run free or low cost promotions for advanced business phone systems. These phones, like the Cisco SPA508G, Polycom VVX150 or Nextiva X-885, are used by many professionals for multi-line handling.
We hope this article helped you find the best phone service for your small business. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, feel free to reach out and contact us.