Perhaps you have a startup business and want an inexpensive business phone service with a toll-free number and voice messages accessed through email. Or maybe your business is expanding, and now it is time to consider how to route and manage your incoming phone calls and faxes. Whatever the case, there are a number of online services that can help you implement a phone system to meet your growing business needs.
Not only can these services provide you with local and toll-free phone numbers, but they can also route calls to multiple phone numbers at once or route them in a predetermined order. Additionally, by using a web-based phone and fax service, you can perform many necessary business tasks on the go. No matter your location, you can block calls, retrieve messages/faxes, and monitor call activity.
Premiere phone service providers also offer many online tools that can enhance your business operations. Some of these tools include Internet faxing, detailed call logs, fax and message archives, call recording, voicemail to e-mail services, fax to e-mail services, and one-touch dialing. Even if members of your sales team are located in different cities, states, or even countries, many online phone/fax services enable you to connect
your entire workforce.
If you are looking for a phone system that is on a smaller scale, there are a number of services that can help you acquire and maintain a toll-free number. Using call-forwarding technology, these services route calls to your existing phone numbers in order to reached you at any number of your choosing, anywhere in the world. With a built-in caller ID function, you will easily be able to distinguish between calls being
forwarded to you and those coming in on your regular phone line. In this way, you will always know whether a call is of a business or personal nature.
When looking at different business phone systems, there are certain factors you need to consider. Some of these include:
Features. Does the phone system provide features that meet your needs? Does the phone system have the flexibility to expand as your business grows?
Ease of Use. Is the website easy to navigate? Can you easily select the right phone system features for your business?
Pricing. Is the company's pricing competitive? Does the phone system provide the most bang for your buck?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best business phone systems available today. We hope this information helps you find the right business phone system for your needs!
Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.
ProBusiness - $23.29/month (up to 2,000 local or long distance minutes, and up to 1,000 toll-free minutes)
RingCentral is an exceptional web-based telephone and fax service. Right out of the gate, RingCentral's website is incredibly user friendly, and you can contact their 24-hour support line whenever needed. You do not have to purchase any hardware, and RingCentral offers free rollover minutes from month to month.
When you sign up at RingCentral, your account is immediately activated, and you have a variety of services available to you:
You can choose either a local number or a toll-free number for your business.
Have phonemail messages automatically sent to your email account. Never have to dial in to check messages again; just click on the attachment in your email and listen to the entire message.
Create multiple extensions that route to different phones. The caller answers a voice prompt with the extension of a department or name of a person and the correct phone automatically rings. Your team can be in one office or spread around the country, and the caller will never know.
Call forwarding. Callers into your business number can be automatically routed to any of your phones - cell, home, or office.
Call screening. Before connecting a call, an auto-attendant calls you first, announces the caller's name, and gives you the option to answer or send the caller to voicemail.
Have a professionally-recorded greeting welcome your callers.
Send and receive faxes quickly and easily.
Perhaps best of all, there is no hardware to buy or software to maintain. Ring Central takes care of all of that for you.
RingCentral also offers online tools (provided through a secure web account) that you can use to enhance your business operations. Some of these tools include detailed call logs, fax and message archives, call recording, fax to email services, one-touch dialing, Microsoft Outlook integration, user-friendly system maintenance tools, and the RingCentral call controller. RingCentral also allows you to connect
your entire team (regardless of their location) with a virtual private branch exchange (PBX), and you can add extensions as needed.
Every business needs to project a professional image to their customers. Ring Central makes it easy and affordable for you to maintain that image whether your business employs one person or 100. All of these features work to make RingCentral the best business phone system in our review.
$14.99 per user, per month with 300 shared minutes
$24.99 per user, per month with unlimited minutes
$24.99 per use, per month with unlimited shared minutes
Phone provides a very comprehensive business phone service at a budget price. This company also provides top-notch 24/7 customer service support that you can reach via live chat, email or phone. Phone is designed around meeting the needs of businesses both big and small, which is evident in the long list of services available.
The plans at Phone are flexible and provide a great value, with prices starting at $14.99 per month per user for 300 shared minutes. The useful features seem endless with Phone, and some of those available include:
Free additional extensions across all plans
No transfer charges to move an existing 1-800 number.
$0 set up fees for all plans
Professional recording services
Music on hold
Online account management
Free monthly minutes on all plans
Phone offers some unique features with their plans. Call Tagging, for example, announces to the employee which department the caller is contacting by announcing the department prior to the customer coming on. Another interesting feature is called Call Screening which announces the phone number of the caller and allows you to accept or reject the call, and whether to send it to voicemail instead of answering directly. Also,
phone numbers are portable - which means if you decide to leave Phone, you can take your number with you, so there is no interruption to your business.
With affordable pricing, professional features, and top-notch customer support, Phone is a strong choice for business phone providers.
eVoice makes it simple to get started with their system. Just pick a local or toll-free number, create your account, and enter your billing information. You'll be receiving messages in just minutes - that's all you have to do to get started with eVoice. eVoice enables small business owners, eBay auctioneers, and others to easily get a toll-free or local number for their business.
eVoice offers an extensive array of core features in all their plans. These features include the following:
Local or toll-free numbers
iPhone, Android, and Blackberry apps
Sequential or simultaneous ringing
Dial by name directory
Caller ID & blocking
We found the eVoice customer service representatives knowledgeable and friendly in helping us get our account setup and functioning. If you're looking for a virtual phone system for your business, eVoice is worth a look.
Virtual PBX (Private Branch eXchange) is a feature-rich virtual phone system for practically any sized business. Virtual PBX has been operating since 1997 and offer instant online activation, web management and no system maintenance on the user’s end. All you need to do is add your phones and employees. Their A+ Better Business Bureau rating also sets them above the competition with a strong focus on customer service
and solid business practices.
When you choose Virtual PBX you can anticipate a long list of nice features including:
Unlimited scalability: pay as you grow to match your business needs
Tech support is free and based in the U.S.
Central business number: All employees, regardless of location can be reached at one main number
Extension options: Live person or mail only
Fax with no fax machine
No busy signals: Calls intercepted by Virtual PBX never ring as busy
Mission-critical fault tolerance: 99.999% uptime. System failures are automatically rolled over to working equipment
Comprehensive data security
Offsite data backups
Never full mailboxes: Older messages are automatically archived for 7 days
If you opt to use Virtual PBX’s phones, users will have to ensure your network and Internet Service Provider are compatible with VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology. Virtual PBX’s phones come programmed to configure themselves for use. For those running their business from mobile devices, PBX apps are available for iPhones and Android phones.
Virtual PBX also offers ACD (automatic call distribution). If a caller doesn't know the name or extension of the person they’re trying to reach they are routed through a single digit press to an available employee in the relative dept. If exceptional customer service is part of a company’s mission this could be an important feature to avoid unattended phones and unnecessary shuffling.
With sixteen years in the phone system business, numerous telephony and communications awards, user friendly tools, a variety of features and extensive security and redundancy protocols, Virtual PBX is a solid phone management system choice for small, medium and large businesses.
Grasshopper is an award-winning phone system that helps businesses stay connected and efficiently manage their offices. It is hosted by a private branch exchange (PBX) system and acts as a virtual attendant-allowing you to immediately access voicemail and faxes from your computer or another phone. Grasshopper can be used from any location and on up to six extensions. With options such as having a toll-free number, a local
number, or multiple extensions, a small business can turn itself into a professional, functioning, office on the go. Grasshopper also offers live call forwarding, on-hold music, a dial-by-name directory, and a custom main line greeting option.
Each Grasshopper extension can be forwarded to up to six phone numbers, enabling you to be reached on your home, office, mobile, or voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) phone. With Grasshopper, you can assign extensions to individual employees or departments with the option to forward calls as needed. Grasshopper also allows callers to get product information, store hours, and driving directions through a general information
extension. The studio quality greetings are customized for your business and will simplify the process of forwarding and transferring incoming calls.
The Grasshopper system handles an unlimited number of incoming calls, so no one will ever hear a busy signal. While on hold, callers can listen to music that you have chosen from a number of available music genres or music that you have uploaded yourself.
Finally, as a registered user of Grasshopper, you can receive voicemails and faxes as online audio or picture attachments. Voicemails and faxes can also be e-mailed as MP3 or PDF attachments. Although their pricing is a little more expensive than the higher rated selections, Grasshopper offers a good solution for business phone systems.
Freedom Voice is an advanced phone system for businesses that is offered at a lower price than standard phone lines. It uses network technology and hardware to create a virtual private branch exchange (PBX) and voice messaging system.
Each of the three plans offered by Freedom Voice include the following features:
Multiple Voicemail Boxes
Email delivery of messages
ACD ring groups
Q & A voicemail
Similar to the higher-rated plans, Freedom Voice doesn't require any long-term contracts and offers a free trial period for you to try their system. While we liked this approach, we didn't feel their system was as easy to use as some of the other systems reviewed.
Overall, FreedomVoice offers a good business phone system for a competitive price. While we found their system a little more complicated to work with, you might take advantage of their free trial period to try it yourself.
8x8 is a hosted iPBX system solution for small business and call centers. By combining voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) solutions with minimal hardware, 8x8 is a low-cost phone system that can expand with the growing needs of your company.
However, in order to purchase 8x8 you must call their sales rep; they don't provide any way for you to review their plans and sign up online. We found this to be a major drawback. In today's world, you want to be able to compare products and prices without having to talk with a salesman.
8x8 uses advanced private branch exchange (PBX) functionality to route and manage multiple incoming calls for one number, and there are no expensive on-site hardware requirements. Additionally, you can use 8x8 for unlimited nationwide or global calling with minimal start-up costs and a reduced cost of ownership.
The 8x8 Virtual Office can meet all of your basic business needs such as voicemail, conference bridging, caller ID, and hold options. Additionally, the 8x8 Virtual Office integrates with Microsoft Outlook, and their online billing system makes checking your records easy.
Virtual Office also has several components that can be selected to enhance your basic incoming line service such as Virtual Attendant, Unlimited Extensions, Metered Extensions, Unlimited Fax, Global Extension, and Softalk Office (a PC-based software phone, which allows for scalability as your business grows).
Although you can install many of 8x8's services and hardware options yourself, you can use 8x8's professional on-site and over-the-phone support for any difficulties that may arise. If you already have a current phone number or fax line, it can be integrated into the 8x8 system as well.
8x8 is an effective phone system that is feature rich, versatile, and easy to use. However, the fact that they don't readily provide their system and pricing information online, and instead require you to talk with a salesperson to get that information, is a major drawback.
Kall 8 allows small businesses and self-employed individuals to acquire and maintain toll-free numbers. Kall 8 uses call-forwarding technology to deliver quality service over your existing phone system. With Kall 8, you can be reached at any number of your choosing, anywhere in the world. A caller ID function is provided to help you distinguish between calls being forwarded to you with Kall 8 and those coming in from your
regular phone line. In this way, you will always know whether a call is of a business or personal nature.
Kall 8's pricing plans are different than the other companies in our review. They don't include any minutes in their monthly billing plans. Instead, they have a low monthly fee and then charge for every minute that you use. We found this a little more complicated than the other systems, and makes it harder to manage expenses since you don't know from month to month what your fee is going to be. However, if you don't plan
to use your phone system very much, Kall 8 may be the best choice for you.
Kall 8 allows you to receive voicemail and/or fax messages. You can record personalized voicemail greetings and determine the number of rings before callers are connected to voicemail.
With Kall 8, you can conduct teleconferences with up to 25 people for a limitless amount of time. Additionally, you can customize the area in which you want to receive calls. For example, if you are vacationing in another state, you can block certain work-related calls based on the state in which the call was made, area code, area code + prefix, or on a number-by-number basis. Along those same lines, if you only wanted
to receive work-related calls until a certain time, Kall 8 will automatically forward incoming calls to a different number based on time, day, area code, the state in which the call was made, or on a number-by-number basis. All of these options can be customized to fit your personal needs.
Kall 8 tracks and sends an instant e-mail notification every time your toll-free number is called. This e-mail includes the caller ID information, time, and call length. Finally, online management tools are included with your service, which can greatly simplify things for you.
Overall, Kall 8 provides a number of useful features. However, the services provided are not as comprehensive as the higher-rated selections, and their pricing plans could lead to some unforeseen expenses.
When Do You Need A Business Phone System?
On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell – the inventor credited with creating the first telephone – uttered the first words ever spoken into a working device.
The telephone has come a long way since its crudest form in those early years. With crystal clear reception and phones available in all sizes, Bell would surely be shocked at what has become of his modest invention.
Phones can now be found in just about every household and business in the industrialized world. And for some businesses in particular, a working phone system is the difference between being in the red and being in the black. The kind of business phone system that is ideal for you depends on the nature of your business and the size of the company.
For some businesses, there is no need for a fancy telephone system that is capable of transferring calls to 20 different offices, complete with voicemail for every employee and videoconferencing capabilities. Small companies may find that they can get along just fine without a big, expensive business phone system, and instead opt for a cloud-based business phone system.
So when do you need a business phone system?
The first thing to ask yourself is what you intend to do with the phone system and where will you be using the phones.
Most businesses require a phone at the main reception desk, as well as one in every office or cubicle. Also, if you have data ports for computers, you will need a line for each of those. If you have a fax machine or credit card terminal, those also will require phone lines. Once you have decided on the number of phones you require, you will need to determine the number of phone lines required to guarantee calls
can be received and made simultaneously. A busy signal on a business phone is the worst thing that a company could have happen. If a customer can’t get through, they likely will give up and take their business elsewhere.
The important thing to keep in mind is that there is no “one size fits all” model of business phone system that will work for every business out there. For example, smaller companies likely have little need for a receptionist option on their system. Callers can be greeted with an automated message directing them to dial the person’s extension they wish to reach. A separate option that lists extensions for every
employee can be a part of that automated greeting.
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