The best business phone systems offer a simple and easy way to manage a feature-rich office phone system for any size business.
Business phone systems have been revolutionized by the move to cloud services, which allows small businesses to have access to telecoms features normally only available to enterprises.
Powered by VoIP services using HD calling, these business phone systems have completely replaced legacy PBX systems for many businesses. Additionally, the rise in the use of business smartphones means these can also now be added to a modern cloud-based businesses phone system, employing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) features though take note to apply Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions for added security.
The result is a feature-rich enterprise-grade solution which is available to any size business, small or large, and offers the flexibility to cater for office or home working.
On top of all this, cloud-based phone systems offer unprecedented levels of software integrations and analytics, allowing you to maximize communications across your phone system. This also makes it easier to discover actionable insights into the customer journey and customer behavior, as well as making it simpler for sales and support to engage with customers.
Here we feature the best business phone systems for the modern office.
RingCentral Office is an all-in-one cloud platform for calls, audio conferencing, online fax, and SMS. It's a powerful but flexible system that allows you to use most any mobile device to run as a softphone, and there's good compatibility with a range of existing PBX phone hardware.
As expected, there is a comprehensive set of features included as standard, including call logging, monitoring, recording, and online faxing. It also offers HD voice and audioconferencing through mobile devices, as well as team collaboration through screen sharing and HD video for both tasks as well as video conferencing.
The central contact center features omnichannel routing, CRM software integrations, agent management tools, as well as actionable analytics. There are also integrations available for a large number of apps, including SalesForce, Microsoft 365, Zoho, Zendesk, Oracle and more.
Pricing depends on the number of users and number of features required, with the best deals available when there are more than two users. There are also option to include the developer network which allows access to APIs to make for a truly integration phone system.
- Read our full RingCentral Office review.
Ooma Office is an internet-based business phone 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.
There is a lot of functionality provided for a relatively modest outlay 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 software integrations.
- Read our full Ooma Office review.
With all of the VoIP solutions featured in this guide, there is a multitude of different features on offer, depending on the particular pricing plan that businesses decide to go for. What makes GoToConnect so impressive is the sheer number of features available, with the platform offering businesses more than 100 calling, collaboration, and mobile features and tools, as well as several video conferencing services.
All of the general features, including custom call routing, team-based call distribution, as well as time-based and geolocation routing, are included, and customers also have access to personal meeting rooms.
Advertising itself as a UCaaS solution, businesses don’t need to install any new equipment and GoToConnect will handle all maintenance and upgrades. That being said, the company does recommend that customers have a business-standard router, an Ethernet switch capable of Quality of Service, and a firewall configured to allow access to HTTP, HTTPS, and UDP traffic on their network.
Interestingly, unlike most VoIP service providers, GoToConnect does not charge businesses more for additional features. Instead, the company’s pricing plan varies based on how many employees a business has. Prices range from $29.95 per user, per month for customers with between one and four users, to as little as $19.95 per user, per month for businesses with between 50 and 99 users. All pricing plans come with access to the majority of GoToConnect’s tools, and bespoke pricing plans are available for businesses with more than 100 members of staff.
Among the available features are Cloud PBX, custom hold music, call management, advanced ring strategies, and one-click screen sharing. Of course, more features do mean a greater potential for things to go wrong, but GoToConnect also offers extensive email and call support should any issues arise.
- Read our full GoToConnect review
Aircall is another cloud-hosted business phone system 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 conferencing, 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, help desk, 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 depends on the range of services required. However, note that a minimum of three users is required to operate this service.
- Read our full Aircall review.
The 8x8 X Series cloud-powered business phone system offers a feature-packed bundle that means even with the most basic plan, you still have a comprehensive set of services as you'd expect with a ful-blown business PBX system.
The starter tier, known as 8x8 Express offers a basic set of phone features that includes all aspects of call handling such as caller ID, call forwarding, call queues, and ring groups, as well as an advanced auto-attendant. Other features at this level include team messaging, voicemail, and voicemail transcriptions, as well as integration with Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
The X Series X2 plan really stands out as being very accessible for small and medium businesses, offering almost everything they might require, with the sole omission of Interactive Voice Response (IVR), but otherwise delivering on most of the features they are likely to need. This is also a very price-competitive plan compared to rivals, though the enterprise plans may be another issue.
- Read our full 8x8 X Series review.
Avaya OneCloud is the latest unified communications offering from Avaya, succeeding the previously successful IP Office platform and expanding its current Avaya IX Workplace and Contact Center range.
The service aims to create a truly scaleable solution using whichever cloud solution you're most comfortable with. For small and medium-sized businesses that are happy to rely on third-party suppliers, Avaya OneCloud can easily run through a public cloud, meaning that you receive continuous service and don't have to concern yourself with software upgrades or IT buy-ins.
For enterprise companies that already have a private or hybrid cloud service, a standard Avaya OneCloud can be setup, or else a customization solution according to needs under the OneCloud ReadyNow service. There's the option of setting up any required server hardware on premises, or else host it in one of Avaya's data centers.
Of course, Avaya OneCloud is more than just calls, and as a unified communications solution it means integrating all communications channels into a single system. Avaya have a solid track record in their expanded VoIP and UC service provisions, and the sheer scalability of the OneCloud solution has to be attractive.
- Read our full Avaya Onecloud review.
Microsoft 365 Business Voice lets organizations make calls from any device to anywhere in the world, leveraging the company’s cloud services to ensure high levels of reliability and good audio quality.
In terms of pricing, Microsoft 365 Business Voice works out to be very affordable - particularly if subscribers are already paying for Microsoft 365. In that case, the standard Business Voice plan is purchased as an add-on to the existing Microsoft 365 subscription (that includes Teams). It includes a cloud-based phone system with advanced features such as call transfer, multi-level auto attendants, and call queues, as well as 24/7 customer support.
The major drawback for users of Microsoft 365 Business Voice is that it comes with a user limit of 300, which makes the service suitable for small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) only. Nevertheless, if that’s not an issue, then Microsoft 365 Business Voice represents a great option, particularly for firms that already rely on a number of other Microsoft solutions.