Since 1999, RingCentral has been providing new ways for businesses to work collaboratively even when their employees are not in the same office. Of course, in doing so, the company has had to break down the many barriers of communication that exist when you’re working with people remotely.
Almost 20 years have passed since RingCentral was initially founded, and today it offers one of the best VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions around. With a relatively easy setup, an affordable range of prices and a versatile, cloud-based management system, RingCentral Office remains a top contender for the enterprise phone system crown.
Pricing and key features
RingCentral Office starts at $19.99 (£15.41) per month per user for the rather limited Essentials plan, which just supports up to 10 users, four of which can partake in video and audio meetings at a time.
The RingCentral Essentials plan gives you unlimited phone calling, 100 toll-free minutes, call management and phone system administration and access to the RingCentral’s 24/7 customer support agents, with a few other basic features in between that we’ll touch on later.
The next tier up from the Essentials plan is RingCentral Standard. This plan costs $24.99 (£19.26) per month per user, but gives businesses a lot more headroom because it puts no limited on the number of users, though there is still the restriction that only four people can join a meeting at once.
Ideal for larger businesses that don’t need all the bells and whistles of the more expensive plans, RingCentral Standard offers all the same features as the Essentials plan, plus it includes a ‘multi-level auto attendant feature’ – basically a virtual receptionist for redirecting calls to the right department – as well as internet fax and call log reports.
If that’s not enough of an upgrade from the base plan, RingCentral says that its most popular business phone service is its Premium plan. For this, your business can expect to shell out $34.99 (£26.97) per month per user. However, that jump in price is mostly justified when you consider all of the additional features you’re getting.
Subscribing to the RingCentral Premium plan gives you multi-site support, custom app development and deployment, integration with prominent help desk software, single sign-on and voicemail-to-text transcription. It bumps the video and audio meetings limit up to 100 people at a time and the toll-free minutes all the way up to 2,500. It also has integration with Salesforce.com, ZenDesk and Desk.com.
Last but not least, the $49.99 (£38.55) RingCentral Ultimate plan doesn’t differ all that much from the Premium plan. It packs in all the same functionality but increases the video and audio meeting bandwidth to 200 people. Additionally, you get 10,000 toll-free minutes, a dramatic 300 percent increase from the 2,500 toll-free minutes that come with the Premium plan.
Establishing a connection
When setting up RingCentral, you have a couple of different options: You can use your existing phones or buy new equipment directly from RingCentral. Opt to use your current desk phones and all you have to do is plug your phones and your computers into the internet jacks you already have. Then, install the RingCentral app onto all of your employees’ smartphones.
Because RingCentral is cloud-based, you can use its dedicated app for making voice calls, faxing and texting as well as audio and video conferencing. Rather than relying on ageing PBX hardware for managing your company’s phone system, you can look forward to a more flexible cloud PBX system, complete with access control that you can divvy up by role, multi-level interactive voice response (IVR), hold music and a wealth of other features put in place to ensure that you never have to worry about missed calls again.
Furthermore, RingCentral has a lot of call management features in tow. With this VoIP service deployed, administrators can configure automatic call recording, call forwarding and they can set their own answering rules if they’re so inclined. For instance, admins on the system can send callers straight to voicemail during off hours. And, as we briefly mentioned before, there’s an auto attendant feature you can customize to present callers with a series of prompts, the responses to which will be used to point them toward the right department.
Competition and verdict
Assuming you don’t mind giving up your classic PBX system in favor of a more contemporary cloud-based system, there’s a lot to love about RingCentral Office as a candidate for your business’s next VoIP provider.
While the $19.99 (£15.41) Essentials package lacks some of the more interesting features, such as the aforementioned auto attendant and automatic call recording, the Standard $24.99 (£19.26) includes heaps of additional features at an inconsequential difference in cost.
In general, you can count on some of the same limitations from Vonage Business Cloud’s Essentials-adjacent Mobile package, also priced at $19.99 (£15.41). In the same vein, Vonage’s mid-tier Premium – which costs $29.99 (£23.13) plan shares many qualities with RingCentral’s Standard plan.
The main difference between these two rival VoIP packages is that RingCentral’s Premium plan costs $5 less a month whereas Vonage Business Cloud’s Premium suite comes with CRM integrations at a lower price point than RingCentral, whose CRM benefits are tied to the $34.99 (£26.97) Premium and $49.99 (£38.55) Ultimate plans. In the end, which is the better VoIP provider depends on the needs of your business, your budget and the importance of CRM integration.
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