The best VoIP services offer a seamless online telecoms system that can suit any size of office.
The internet revolutionized telecoms by making Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) available, but the development of cloud-based phone systems and the proliferation of mobile devices has transformed the telecoms market even further.
Whereas before it would take lots of hardware and months of setting up to put a business telecoms network into play, now it takes minutes with a cloud-based VoIP solution.
Even better, the costs have gone down significantly due to the lack of need to invest in infrastructure, meaning that the latest telecoms solutions for business are incredibly accessible and very cost-effective.
For the startup business, it's never been easier or so cheap to set up a business phone system or even a call center solution.
For the established business, not only are cloud-based VoIP systems more cost-effective, but the availability of analytics means that not only can staff productivity and the customer journey be better tracked, but it's also simple to gain actionable insights from the business intelligence provided.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly at present, VoIP services usually include some form of video conferencing either as a default or upgrade option.
Whichever VoIP system you're thinking of buying into, here we present the best currently on the market.
The best VoIP services:
RingCentral Office offers a leading cloud-based VoIP platform, with a comprehensive range of features available that should provide everything you need for your business phone system. On top of this, there are powerful customizations available to more fully integrate RingCentral Office into other applications using APIs.
Pricing for RingCentral Office plans varies according to the number of users, plan selected, and whether you pay monthly or yearly, which can produce some extreme variations in pricing. For example, a single user paying monthly, the standard plan would cost a steep $49.99, while for 2 or more employees paying annually the same plan would cost $24.99 per user.
For discussing pricing and features, we'll simplify this by presuming 2-99 users paying annually, with pricing increasing or decreasing for less or more users respectively:
The cheapest plan comes in at $19.99 per user per month and offers a fairly limited range of features, such as unlimited calls in the US and Canada, as well as a toll-free or local number with 100 free minutes - barely just over an hour. On the plus side, however, there are call management features and phone system administration tools, and audio is provided in full HD voice. There's also a voicemail to email feature, as well as voice to text.
It's only really when you go up a step get to the Standard plan at $24.99 per user per month that the full power of this cloud-based VoIP system really begins to show. There's unlimited audio and video conferencing, though with the latter limited to four participants. It's at this level that the multi-level attendant becomes available, along with unlimited internet fax.
However, the Premium plan, priced at $34.99 per user per month increases the video conferencing limit to 100 participants, and also adds Single Sign On (SSO), multi-site support, and integration with CRM software such as SalesForce and Zendesk.
Additional numbers are available for an extra monthly fee, allowing for toll-free, local, international, and vanity numbers as required.
Altogether, while the basic plan is quite basic, the higher level plans show-off the wide range of comprehensive built-in features that RingCentral Office can offer. Additionally, with APIs available in the backend, this is a VoIP solution that can be scaled and customized accordingly.
Ooma Office is a VoIP service which aims to deliver a big business phone experience to small businesses.
Ooma might not be overflowing with the kind of bells and whistles you might find with some VoIP services, but it presents itself as a solution for smaller firms with tighter budgets, and is positioned very well in this respect.
However, don’t get the idea that this is a barebones VoIP offering – in fact Ooma Office gives you all the core features you would expect, plus some more advanced functions like a virtual receptionist that allows for calls to be automatically directed to the right department.
Subscribers also benefit from hold and transfer music, and Ooma provides mobile apps for iOS and Android, so you can set up capabilities such as call forwarding, enabling calls to be sent from your desk phone to your mobile when you’re out and about. That said, some of the online feedback about the mobile apps isn’t great, so bear that in mind.
Generally speaking, though, Ooma gives you a lot of functionality for a relatively modest outlay, namely $19.95 per user per month. There’s no fuss – you get all the features with that one subscription plan – and what’s more the system is easy to set up and get going with.
Naturally, you don’t get everything compared to the feature-sets of the more costly rivals out there, and the most notable missing piece of the puzzle is a lack of CRM integrations.
Aircall is another cloud-hosted UCaaS solution, which can be set up with just a few clicks. This then provides your business with a complete communications center solution for calls, video, and messaging from the web, desktop, or mobile.
Aircall also makes it very easy to set up a call center in minutes, and so includes a wide range of CRM, helpdesk, and productivity functions to both support this, as well as improve how your sales and support teams handle calls, not least in terms of transferring them as well as approaching customers. And, as expected, there's an analytics suite to help gauge efficiency and track KPIs in workflows and look for ways to improve them.
Because Aircall looks beyond unified communications and toward CRM solutions as well to better provide for sales and support teams, it also provides a large number of integrations, not least SalesForce, Zendesk, Hubspot, Zoho, Freshdesk, and Slack.
Pricing starts at $30 per user per month for a limited set of features, with this rising to $50 per user per month to unlock the rest of Aircall's functions. However, note that a minimum of three users is required to operate this service.
8x8 Inc provides cloud communications and customer engagement solutions. These include voice, contact center, video, mobile and unified communications for small, medium to enterprise business.
There's a basic 8x8 Express plan available from $12 per month per user, which offers a basic if decent range of services that could be especially attractive to small businesses.
The X Series X2 plan plan starts at $25 per month per user and includes unlimited calling within 14 countries, phone number, extension dialing, voicemail, auto attendant, click to dial, music on hold, call recording, call queues, mobile/desktop apps, team messaging, unlimited internet faxing, 100 participants and analytics essentials. The system also integrates with G Suite, Office 365, Outlook, NetSuite, Salesforce and ZenDesk.
The X Series X4 plan costs $45 per month per user and adds unlimited calling within 47 countries, an operator switchboard, and reporting analytics. The X Series X6 package starts at $110 per month per user and offers 4,000 minutes within 47 countries, skills-based routing, multi-level IVR, callback, and contact center analytics.
The system is easy to setup and has a variety of features. The lower end could easily suit a small business, while the more expensive options are specifically aimed at enterprises.
GoToConnect represents the merger of LogMeIn's Jive VoIP platform and their GoTo conferencing platform into a single service offering that provides a comprehensive range of features.
This, of course, includes unified communications through the bringing together of VoIP calls and messaging, as well as web, audio and video conferencing, helping to create a complete package.
General features include custom call routing, team-based call distribution, as well as time-based and geolocation routing to ensure that calls are picked up fast. Screen sharing and personal meeting rooms are a standard part of the package, and users can easily join in with a single click rather than wait around or have to generate a PIN.
What's even better is that rather than have differently priced plan levels with an increasing range of unlocked features, GoToConnect has a single pricing system based on the number of users. This could be especially welcome to small and medium-sized businesses who can enjoy all of the same features as an enterprise would, but without having to pay extra for the privilege.
Altogether, GoToConnect advertises itself as a unified communications and collaboration platform, that will surely work well for a lot of business set ups.
Dialpad was founded in 2012. The company is most known for its video and audio-conferencing software, Uberconference. Dialpad Talk is their VoIP system.
Pricing is a lot more small business-friendly than some of the above, with the ‘Standard’ plan costing $15 per user month. It includes toll free numbers, unlimited calling in US/Canada, call forwarding, call controls, HD video calling, call waiting, voicemail greeting, unlimited, SMS, MMS, group texting US and Canada.
The ‘Pro’ plan starts at $20 per month per user. It includes all the ‘Standard’ plan has to offer plus hold queues, 24/5 days support, international numbers, international offices in over 40 countries, multiple offices supported, Zendesk, Salesforce and Slack integration.
The ‘Enterprise’ package include extras such as 24/7 support, Enterprise SLA, professional services support, admin APIs, custom analytics and reporting.
Users can also try the service with a 14-day free trial. The annual subscriptions offer discounted monthly rates making it even more cost efficient.
The basic tier offers single sign-on which is missing from a lot of other providers. The basic plan includes integrations such as G Suite and Office 365.
The pricing structure for Dialpad makes it much more accessible for businesses of any size, which is welcome as other providers favor enterprises over small businesses.
Mitel MiCloud Connect offers a unified communication solutions for business. Its main focus is almost entirely on VoIP products for the enterprise market.
Pricing below assumes between 50-100 users and doesn't include taxes, fees, or surcharges, so expect pricing to cost more for fewer users. However, there may be potential discounts for higher volumes of users:
The ‘Essentials’ tier starts at $20.99 per user per month. It includes PBX features, collaboration, conferencing, call routing, personal agent queuing and reporting.
The ‘Premier’ package, said to be the most popular, weighs in at $26.59. It includes extras such as CRM integration, call recording, outbound dialer, callbacks, skills and priority routing.
The ‘Elite plan starts at $38.49 per month per user. It includes archiving, operator and multimedia routing.
Mitel MiCloud Connect has many features which aren’t commonly found with most VoIP provider. These include the ability to link your cell number to your work extension, customizable hold music and voicemails can be transcribed and emailed to you.
Users can also access more common features such as auto attendant, rerouting, call forwarding, call holding and call parking. The system is also available on your browser as well as on desktop and mobile applications.
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