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To answer that question, you first need to decide what exactly you need your system to accomplish. Is it just the basics, like having a separate number for business calls and being able to route them to different employees? Or are you looking for something fully-featured, with the ability to handle video conferencing and file sharing, integrate with apps you're already using, and extend your reach globally?
No matter what type of phone system your business needs, you've got options! Even if you're a solo entrepreneur, there's a provider for you. If you're wondering whether it's going to be a huge investment to set up your business phones, that depends on how you look at it.
Wednesday, June 7th
Phone calls itself "the ultimate communications solution for small businesses" . Their 40,000+ customers come from every industry and are able to use this provider's affordable business phone systems to stay responsive and connected - even in situations that require HIPAA compliance.
Different plans for different users
One thing we love about Phone is being able to mix-and-match plans across all of the users in a company. Maybe you don't need everyone to have CRM integration or call analytics, right? You only pay for the type of phone system each employee needs. You'll see that right on the main pricing page: specify how many people will need each plan type, and see your total monthly price populate in the box underneath. Super simple!
Business Phone System Costs
3 packages available, plus custom options
What will you get with Phone's three plans? At the Basic level, priced at $12.99 per month per user, you'll get 300 pooled minutes, 1000 pooled text segments, and video conferencing with 10 participants. Moving up to the Plus plan for $19.99 per month per user, you'll get unlimited minutes and text messages, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing with up to 25 participants and recording, and IP desk phone compatibility. Finally, Pro users pay $29.99 per month and get all the features of the Basic and Plus tiers, as well as call recording and analytics, CRM integration, 100-participant video conferencing with HiFi transcription and whiteboard capabilities, and voicemail transcription. Those prices are all based on a single user; you'll find lower prices as you add more employees up to 29; any plans you set to 30+ users will prompt you to reach out to Phone for a custom quote.
Plenty of included features and add-ons
Even Phone's standard features are definitely well-rounded for the money. All plans include text messaging, voicemail-to-email, call routing and video meetings. We recommend going to the Detailed Plan Comparison chart to see all of the 50+ possible features with Phone plans, to help you determine which of your users will need each specific plan type. There are several add-ons you can consider for your business system with Phone. Live Receptionist starts at $90/month. If you need your platform to work with IP desk phones, you'll pay $4.99/month per device, only available with Plus and Pro plans. Call recording is $7.99/month (but it's included if you're a Pro user). And, if you need a global number or international dialing capabilities, you can add that to your package as well.
Perfect BBB listing, few complaints
What's the catch? Surprisingly, we didn't find one. With business phone systems, you'll usually either pay a lot or get poor customer service after the fact. It's unusual to find a provider that gives businesses affordable monthly pricing and terrific support, but Phone seems to get it done. The BBB rates this service with an "A+" , and we were almost overjoyed to see only 12 complaints registered there in the three-year period leading up to our evaluation (that's really unusual, for what it's worth).
Unparalleled customer satisfaction
Almost all of Phone's client reviews are positive too. A few say that setting up their business phone system felt a little complicated and that integrations didn't go as smoothly as they'd hoped. On the other hand, we found plenty of praise from businesses that have used Phone systems - some for over a decade! - and describe it as scalable, affordable and easy to use. And, if not, Phone gives you both 24/7 live human support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
First-place winner for business phone systems
For the most affordable and capable business phone system around, choose Phone. You won't find another platform that offers as much at this price point, or that delivers such excellent customer care. Particularly if you need HIPAA compliance for your company's communications, Phone is the best option on the market. This service earns our highest recommendation.
VirtualPBX has been around since 1997 - and it's the only business phone system we know that uses its own platform to be completely remote as a company! You can be confident that this service knows exactly what it means to keep teams connected - wherever their employees are located.
Business Phone System Costs
Getting pricing is easy
Virtual PBX is extremely transparent with their pricing. Use the slider at the top of the price page to select the number of users you anticipate including in your business phone system, and then indicate if you'd rather pay monthly or annually (the latter is discounted). You'll quickly see how much you can expect to pay per user across all four of their package options: anywhere from a starting price of $16.99 per user for the Flex package to $32.99 for Advanced, and $47.99 to $59.99 for the Spark tier (with unlimited users!). Those will differ as you add or subtract from the total number of users in your package.
Integrations done via Zapier
VirtualPBX has plenty of integration options, but they do it a little differently than most of the services we reviewed. Instead of connecting directly with your favorite apps, VirtualPBX goes through Zapier to work with popular services like Slack, Trello, HubSpot, and even Gmail and beyond. This service uses templates for automation, like creating rows in Google Sheets when new VirtualPBX calls start or Pipedrive deals when voicemails are received through the VirtualPBX system. Is that a plus or a minus? For many small business owners, that's a great way to get more efficient without needing a lot of tech know-how. On the other hand, for larger enterprises, it might not offer as much flexibility as business phone systems that allow for direct integrations. The good news is that Zapier integrations are part of every package here, even the least expensive plan.
Compare plans to get your required features
You'll definitely want to visit the Plan Comparison page to see which VirtualPBX plan has the right constellation of features for your business needs: there are too many to list here! You may want to click on the "Schedule a Demo" button to get a better idea of which plan you need. And even if you choose a package that doesn't wind up being the right fit, VirtualPBX has a 15-day money-back guarantee and they give you free one-on-one training sessions.
Almost no complaints!
It's usually a good sign when a company has an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. But, even more impressive is the fact that there were no complaints registered with the BBB. For a business that's been around for the better part of 25 years, that's no small feat. And, most feedback from long-term Virtual PBX clients matches that. A few had some hiccups during system upgrades, but across the board customers say that company reps are extremely responsive, helpful, and reachable whenever there's a glitch of any kind.
Expert service for distributed workforces
VirtualPBX is a reliable option for business phone systems. Especially in today's remote workplaces, it's reassuring to have a company that knows firsthand how important it is to have consistent uptime, convenient integrations, and award-winning customer support. For all of these reasons, VirtualPBX is one of our favorite choices.
Dialpad is one of the newer players in the field of business phone systems, but the company is rapidly picking up the pace. With accolades ranging from Forbes Best Startup Employers list in 2021 to RemoteTech's Breakthrough award for the Overall Remote Communication Solution of the Year, Dialpad is making an impression with its ability to help businesses of all sizes to manage their communication needs - internal and external.
Standard plan just includes the basics
How important is it to have apps and integrations in your business phone system? If you answered that with a shrug, you may be able to stick to the Standard plan here. It starts at $15/user/month, and it includes unlimited calling, custom routing, unlimited SMS/MMS/group messaging and quite a few other features, but it only integrates with G Suite and Office 365. Another thing to note about the Standard plan: it only includes customer support five days a week, and only via web or chat.
Business Phone System Costs
Go to Pro tier if you need integrations
For $25/user/month, Dialpad's Pro tier of service expands on the capabilities of Standard by offering hold queues, international SMS, 24/7 support (web/chat/phone), and many more integrations (Zendesk, Slack, Hubspot, Zapier and others).
Get a quote for enterprise-level services
Need more than that? If you're equipping a large business with a phone system and you need an unlimited number of offices, integrations with Azure/Okta/OneLogin, or a 100% uptime Service Level Agreement, you'll want to reach out to Dialpad for a quote on an Enterprise package. They don't disclose anything about those rates in advance.
A few bits of conflicting info
Dialpad doesn't have a perfect rating from the Better Business Bureau, but an "A-" isn't exactly bad, either. What was interesting about this provider's BBB listing is that it only shows the company as having one employee! That's a far cry from the ample list of officers and board members (including the co-founder of Netscape!) you'll find on Dialpad's company page, the 11 offices and over 800 employees (and growing!). We're not sure why there's such a big discrepancy, but it makes us take that "A-" from the BBB with a grain of salt. (Then again, on one spot on the Dialpad site it said they have 70,000+ customers, and in another it said just 7000, so they've got discrepancies of their own to fix.)
Lots of 5-star ratings from happy business owners
Of course, what matters more is what customers have to say. From what we've seen, Dialpad is keeping up its end of the deal with respect to business phone systems. More than 800 clients have given this provider a best-in-class five-star rating, citing lightning-fast responses from support reps who handle issues promptly and with detailed explanations when needed. Even on the small number of negative reviews Dialpad has gotten, we were happy to see that most of them received a response from the Director of Support for the entire company.
Expect to see good things with this provider
There's no service that will work flawlessly for any business, and it's refreshing to see a provider like Dialpad taking an "our bad" approach when something goes awry for one of their clients. This platform seems to be at the cutting edge of developments within business telephony, and we encourage company owners of all sizes to consider if a Dialpad system would be their ideal choice.
RingCentral is "a complete, global cloud communications and collaboration solution" , offering a single platform for voice, team collaboration and messaging, video meetings and contact center needs. It's one of the easiest business phone systems to use if you've got international teams, with numbers available instantly in more than 100 countries.
Try a product demo
We were excited that RingCentral offers a full product demo if you're still on the fence - but less enthusiastic about having to provide our name, email, business phone number and other identifying details to access it. (Helpful hint: you don't have to enter accurate info there to see the demo videos. Just saying.) Still, we encourage you to get there however you choose: it's a useful way to get an overview of their business phone system components and capabilities, like Cloud PBX, Business SMS, Management and Reports, and Call Management.
Lots of variables will determine your cost
There are three basic business phone plans at RingCentral: MVP, which is their most popular service, Video, and Contact Center. As you start looking into this provider, it gets complicated. Are you paying annually or monthly? How many users do you have? What features are your non-negotiables? We recommend taking a look at their Plans & Pricing page, to get an idea of what it might cost to get the features and users your business will need.
Business Phone System Costs
Slide and choose
Start by using the sliders at the top to indicate how many users you expect to have and whether you want to pay on a monthly or annual basis. Also at the bottom of the MVP page, you'll find a helpful side-by-side comparison of what's included in each tier of service (Essentials, Standard Premium, Ultimate): at a glance, you'll know that you need at least the Standard package if you want quality-of-service reports, or the Premium plan if hot desking is a must-have. Generally speaking, you can expect your RingCentral business phone system to cost anywhere from $19.99 to $69.99 per person per month, depending on how many users you have and which plan and package you choose.
Save money with all-in-one phone systems
Even though that may sound spendy, using a business phone system offered by RingCentral could save your company money in the end. Several case studies on the site describe reducing communications costs by 25-35%. How? Through bundled solutions that eliminate a lot of the smaller costs you'd experience when piecing together a system on your own (like local telcos and third-party add-on services). Whether your specific business would save money depends on many factors, but it's worth reaching out to RingCentral's sales team to see if their all-in-one solution could provide a decent ROI.
Vast options for integrations
How about integrations? RingCentral uses an open API platform that lets you connect with what you're already using, like Salesforce or Zendesk, or with any custom apps or integrations your developers want to create. There's an entire App Gallery you can browse to see which ones are designated as "authorized" , "premier" or "elite" , depending on the level of trust the partner has with RingCentral.
Emphasis on uptime and security
Security and availability are a priority with this provider. With seven layers of security and geographically-dispersed data centers, your phone system is protected from failure - whether due to a natural disaster, cybercrime, or operational error. They also advertise achieving 99.999% uptime SLA.
Mostly positive customer reviews
The company gets some pretty big accolades, like an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, and being selected more than once as PC Mag's highest-rated, Editor's Choice for cloud PBX with collaboration. RingCentral also has a great reputation for regularly added features without driving up their core prices. Their customer reviews are mostly positive as well - although we did find some business owners who complained about mandatory contracts with automatic renewals, or antiquated interfaces in some areas.
Better-than-average for business phone systems
RingCentral has come a long way since their PBX days. They've made huge leaps to keep up with today's cloud-based business phone systems, and they lead the pack in some areas. Be sure you understand what you're getting, and you should be very happy with your business phone system. RigCentral earns very high marks.
You may have heard of GoToConnect under the name of Jive in the past: most of the current buzz about this platform is very careful to identify this business phone system as "formerly known as" . GoToConnect is one of several components of LogMeIn's unified communications and collaboration services and is the primary platform they use for business telephony.
Prices vary by number of users and selected payment plan
When you start to price out your GoToConnect service, you may want to toggle the pricing to Monthly instead of Annual: you'll save money on an annual plan, but you lose the flexibility of cancelling at any time. You can also slide the button for the number of users that represents your anticipated needs, because that will also affect your pricing.
Business Phone System Costs
Entry-level plan has basic features
The Basic plan is for 1-20 users, priced from $21 to $29 per user per month. Described as "a simple business phone system with chat and video conferencing built right in" , you'll get ample essential features like ring groups, call forwarding, team messaging and audio conferencing, unlimited extensions and smart call routing, among others.
Standard plan is affordable yet robust
GoToConnect's Standard plan can be used by any number of users from 1 to 100+. With a monthly cost of $20 to $39 per user, this tier takes all of the features of the Basic plan and makes many of them unlimited, like ring groups, call queues and customizable dial plans. It adds capabilities like hot desking, e-faxing, no per-minute fees to 50+ countries, voicemail-to-email, real-time analytics, and so forth.
Premium plan = premium cost
The Premium business phone system is GoToConnect's creme de la creme - and with the corresponding cost at $30 to $49 per user per month. Most of the extra features you'll get at this level revolve around the customizable Cloud Contact Center: call analytics, inbound/outbound call monitoring with listen/whisper/barge, a supervisor dashboard and customizable admin controls, real-time queue updates, and agent effectiveness reporting.
Might need more GoTo systems to get what you need
Where we started to feel a little in the weeds was when we realized how many other platforms exist in the GoTo family, like GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar. For example, when we wanted to know more about how this service handles integrations, we wound up in the Integrations Marketplace and saw that some apps go with the Connect package, like Zendesk and Slack, but others seemed to require another component to function (such as Hubspot). If integrations are an important component of your business phone system, it would be advisable to click on the "Contact Sales" button and determine which configuration of components would work best.
Part of the LogMeIn family of tech brands
Some of this is likely related to the brand family that GoToConnect is part of. It's included in the LogMeIn network of services, which also includes LastPass. That's not a compliment or a criticism, just an observation that you might get more than you expected when choosing this platform for your company's communications.
Strong recommendations from current customers
Does GoToConnect get good feedback from users? Definitely. We considered hundreds of independently-verified customer reviews and found that most give this platform a rating of four or five stars. Some of the noteworthy aspects highlighted by clients are getting more features for less money than with competitors' business phone systems, ease of setup, and having all communication channels unified in a single place. Also, parent company LogMeIn has accreditation and an "A+" rating with the BBB, though that applies across all of the brands in the family and not just the GoTo services.
A few complaints
Any downsides? Users mention a few. They usually relate to features that are not as robust as they expected, like not having breakout rooms in video conferencing or easy and instant call blocking. Some customers complain about missed calls due to the phone system disconnecting randomly from the internet or getting choppy audio when talking over the app. Fortunately, none of these criticisms are pervasive.
Scalable and dependable business phone systems
GoToConnect has a lot of promise, and because it's so easily scaled to match growing business needs, this platform is an excellent choice for any company that plans to expand in the future (and which one doesn't!). You'll probably need to reach out to a sales rep to make sure your GoTo business phone system includes all of the must-have features your employees need right now. But, knowing that your plan can expand as necessary should leave you feeling very confident about choosing GoToConnect.
FreedomVoice's CloudNumber lets you get a business number you manage through your smartphone. Since 1996, they've worked with over 250,000 small businesses, providing affordable, reliable service. If you're just getting started and you need to separate your business and personal calls/messages, but you want the convenience of routing both through your current mobile phone, FreedomVoice could be the solution you've been searching for.
You choose the phone number
With CloudNumber, you can choose the number you want for your business - including transferring your current number. Want a vanity number, like 1-8**-THE-BEST? You can check during the sign-up process and see if your preferred number is available, no problem. Just be aware that you may be charged a one-time activation fee of $30, and FreedomVoice will assign you a temporary number to use while your vanity number is being activated (because it can take up to 3 business days).
Business Phone System Costs
30-day trial and straightforward pricing
Pricing here couldn't be easier to understand: it's all based on how many numbers you want and how many minutes you need. Plans start at $9.95 per month for 400 included minutes, $19.95 per month for 1,200 included minutes, or $29.95 per month for unlimited minutes. Simple as that! And, every plan comes with a 30-day free trial.
Lots of phone features, but no integrations
You might be surprised by all the features that come with your CloudNumber. Most of them work via the FreedomVoice mobile app, from checking messages and voicemails to looking up call reports or changing where your business calls are directed. You're not going to get some of the most advanced features out there; this isn't a service that gives you video conferencing or integration with apps like Zoho or Zendesk, for example. But, you'll get plenty of phone-related capabilities like unlimited extensions for forwarding and voicemail, smart number routing, online faxing and dial-by-name.
Exceptional customer support
FreedomVoice, despite its simplicity, does a world-class job with respect to customer service. In this industry, it's easy to find companies that make big promises and fail to deliver on them; this provider does almost the exact opposite. We found over 950 5-star reviews from clients who praise the support they received from reps who "didn't give up and spent as much time as we needed to get our problem solved" and who took an approach of "let me take care of that for you" to resolving issues.
Most affordable option for simple business phone needs
For most small businesses who need a cost-effective way to get a company phone number and lots of features, CloudNumber from FreedomVoice is an excellent option. You'll love the friendly, knowledgeable customer support team too! While you may need to choose another provider as your business expands, particularly if you need integrations or video conferencing functionality, FreedomVoice can still keep your communications humming along in the meanwhile.
Grasshopper is a virtual business phone system that piggybacks off your current mobile service. You can get all of your business calls (and everything associated with a business phone number, like texts, inbound faxes and more) routed to your existing cell phone - but with a separate phone number. Choose from standard local, vanity, or toll-free numbers, or port any current business phone number you have to the Grasshopper service.
Take advantage of a one-week free trial
We think it's a good idea to use Grasshopper's 7-day free trial before committing to a plan. With this trial, you'll get one phone number and three extensions, 100 Business Talk minutes, 100 Business Texts, and all of the features you'd get with the full version of the service. And, even if you decide to continue on as a Grasshopper customer, consider paying monthly for a while before switching to an annual plan - just to be sure that the business phone system works well for you in the long run.
Business Phone System Costs
3 plans to choose from
How much does a Grasshopper plan cost? There are three to choose from: Solo, Partner, and Small Business. The Solo plan is, as the name suggests, for a single phone number with three extensions. They call it "perfect for the entrepreneur with a side gig" and it's $29/month. If you've got a growing business with up to three employees, the Partner package has three phone numbers and six extensions, priced at $49/month. Finally, if you need five phone numbers and unlimited extensions, the Small Business tier is for you; it'll cost you $89/month. All three plans are discounted 10% if you pay annually instead of monthly.
Add-ons for a fee
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you want add-ons like Call Blasting (ringing up to 15 of your lines simultaneously to reduce wait times), professionally-recorded greetings, US-based receptionists through Ruby, extra numbers or extensions, or international calling, those come with extra fees.
Not the only company in the portfolio
It's not necessarily easy to tell how well Grasshopper is doing reputation-wise. The parent company is LogMeIn, Inc., which also happens to own the LastPass password management system and another one of the business phone system providers in our evaluation. Overall, the business earns an "A+" and accreditation from the BBB, but that doesn't really tell you much about Grasshopper specifically.
Some customers love the system...
Customer feedback for Grasshopper is just average. Some business owners enthusiastically recommend the provider for its easy-to-use phone systems, especially being able to keep their personal mobile phone and get business calls routed there - with clear identification that it's a customer and not a personal contact. It's encouraging to find reviews from clients who have used Grasshopper for several years and still rely on it to keep them connected with their team and their incoming calls.
...while others have voiced complaints
On the other hand, we also found more than a few complaints. Some described issues going unresolved with Grasshopper's customer service team: big ones like mysteriously losing ownership of their business phone number or calls not going through on any of the phone lines or extensions. Plus, for users whose businesses grew in leaps and bounds, the Grasshopper system couldn't keep up and they had to switch to a new provider (often one of those featured in our evaluation).
Not the best, not the worst
In general, Grasshopper is what it claims to be: an entry-level business phone system that's ideal for startups, sole proprietors, or other small companies. It doesn't offer the most value, and you'll need a different provider if you want advanced features like integrations or video conferencing. However, it's not the worst way to get a separate business phone number without having to change anything about your current, personal mobile service.
Nextiva got our attention by being selected as U.S. News' best business phone system for two consecutive years. Companies ranging from small-scale to industry leaders are featured in Nextiva's customer stories - like Nothing Bundt Cakes, Stanley Steemer, and even Conan O'Brien's roadshow team. Read on to see how this provider's business phone systems measure up against the competition (or how they don't!).
Big discounts with annual payment plans
Keep an eye on the settings when you go to price your company's business phone system. The Nextiva site defaults to annual pricing, which comes at a significant discount over month-to-month payments.
No shortage of included features
You'll find four total service packages on business phone systems here: Essential, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. All of them come with unlimited calling within the US and Canada, unlimited video calling, team messaging/collaboration/video, voicemail-to-email notifications, integrations with MS Outlook and Google Contacts, 24/7 customer support, hold music, call groups, call history and log reports, plus a handful of other features. If that's all you need, the Essential plan will be your pick: it's priced from $24.95 to $30.95 per user per month.
Business Phone System Costs
Jump to the Professional plan for greater capabilities
Moving on to the Professional package at $29.95 to $35.95 per user per month, your business phone system will include unlimited conference calls with up to 40 participants, unlimited video conferencing with up to 250 participants, call pop for up to 250 contacts, more integrations (with apps like Hubspot, Salesforce and Zendesk), mobile SMS/MMS, and professional setup.
Enterprise package adds even more
Small-to-medium teams may want the extra features included with Nextiva's Enterprise package, priced at $39.95 to $45.95 per user per month. Your users gain extended integrations (Microsoft Teams, ServiceNow, Oracle Sales Cloud), voice analytics and voicemail transcription, single sign-on, and unlimited call pop, voice and video conferencing, and video conference/call recording.
Most management and productivity tools with Ultimate
Finally, the Ultimate package incorporates every feature of the first three tiers and adds automated surveys, customer journey analytics, plus management of sales productivity, pipeline management, service productivity, and ticket management. As you'd expect, the business phone systems at this level aren't cheap: $60.95 to $75.95 per user per month.
7-day trial but may need a rep to authorize
Nextiva offers a 7-day trial on three of their four plans - but the main pricing page only makes that obvious for the lowest tier, Essential. We saw the free trial options for the other plans when we went to the comparison page. When we reached out to a sales rep via live chat, he confirmed that Nextiva offers that trial period for the Essential, Professional and Enterprise plans, but that it would be best to set that up directly with a representative (because it might not show up during the online quote process otherwise). That comparison chart also had different pricing than the dynamic page, so don't trust it to be up-to-date.
Compliments from some users
At the outset, Nextiva seems to check all the boxes to have a good reputation, like an "A+" rating and accreditation from the BBB. And it's true that you'll find some businesses who have nothing but sunshine for this provider, saying that their account reps and support team have been friendly and available whenever needed.
Not just minor failures here
Unfortunately, it appears that when Nextiva lets a client down, it's in grand fashion. We found reviews from doctors' offices and emergency responders whose phone numbers gave callers a "this call cannot be completed as dialed" - for a week at a time! Some business owners who have been Nextiva users for years theorize that this service grew too quickly and now puts too much emphasis on sales and not enough on service. From hidden or erroneous charges on accounts to monthly fees skyrocketing within a short time after starting service, there are indicators that even the billing aspect of Nextiva service is subpar.
A service that disappoints
Perhaps if you've got a well-known, large-scale business, Nextiva makes sure to keep you happy. But from what we've seen, solo-preneurs and small companies don't get the customer support they need from this platform. And, given the higher-than-average cost of service and the number of options out there that seem to do a better job of taking care of "the little guys" , we can't recommend Nextiva for most business phone system needs.
Vonage is a big name in business phone systems, serving over 100,000 businesses worldwide and 25+ billion minutes and messages completed every year.
VoIP-based phone systems
It's important to understand that all Vonage plans are VoIP. If you've got a strong, reliable internet connection, fantastic! This could be the ideal system for your company. On the other hand, it's not the best choice for some rural customers or in areas with limited internet connectivity.
Business Phone System Costs
Choose from 3 affordable packages
This provider offers pretty straightforward pricing. Specify how many employees are in your company and you'll see the cost populate for their three plans: Mobile, Premium, and Advanced.
Too many included features to list
Beyond the features specific to each Vonage package, there are plenty that come as standard. We encourage you to click on the Features tab to see the full spectrum that comes with all Vonage business phone systems. But, to give you an idea of what's included, we'll say that you can benefit from over a dozen Mobility and Omnichannel capabilities like Voicemail to Email and Call Flip, several Collaboration and Productivity features like Call Monitoring (including "whisper" and "barge" options) and Conference Bridge for connecting up to 30 participants, plus two dozen other functions to enhance the customer and employee experience and give you a ton of flexibility.
Get a discount
At the time of our most recent visit to the Vonage website, there was a promotional discount in place. New customers could get their business phone service for as low as $13.99 per line per month; no savings applied to any features, one-time charges, add-ons or hardware.
An increasing number of complaints
It's hard to understand Vonage's flawless listing with the Better Business Bureau - an "A+" and accreditation - with the customer complaints and reviews we found on the BBB site and elsewhere. The biggest gripe is that customer service has been moved completely online to chat and support tickets: phone calls to Vonage's toll-free number just result in automated messages telling clients to refer to the online system for help. That even happens to brand-new clients encountering errors in the set-up process and who get stuck with a system that isn't operational. Why?! We talked to a rep in live chat: she said that "sometimes people don't adapt to change" (?!) but that Vonage does offer both chat and phone "life support" - unfortunately, that's not what we're hearing from actual customers. The rate of complaints seems to have accelerated over the last year as well.
Not enough support for small businesses
It seems that Vonage does right by the "big guys" : their site proudly shows how a large company like Doxy.me was able to handle 600,000 doctor-to-patient video sessions in one day, and they include heavy hitters like DHL, Allstate and The Princeton Review in their list of businesses that trust Vonage with their business phone systems. But for the "little guys" : everyday small business owners who just need an affordable, reliable way to handle their calls? Not so much.
Get a different provider for better customer service
As much as we like the affordability and features Vonage delivers with their business phone systems, we can't get past the recent comments from customers who said they couldn't wait to get set up with literally any other service besides this one. You've got lots of options, and we strongly suggest choosing a provider that places more emphasis on attention to customer service.
There are more than two million business users who partner with 8x8 for their phone systems, from small insurance companies and banks to big names like Acer and the Kansas City Royals (you can even click on those businesses' names on the main 8x8 site if you'd like to see case studies!)
5 tiers of service
We appreciate the simplicity of the pricing structure with 8x8. There are just five overall plans to choose from: 8x8 Express ($12/user/month), X2 All-in-one Voice/Video/Chat ($32user/month), and X4 with advanced call handling and analytics ($57/user/month). If your business also needs to have contact center features, your price will jump to $125/user or $138/user per month. The prices shown by default on the 8x8 site reflect discounts when paying on an annual basis instead of monthly.
Business Phone System Costs
Calculate your potential savings
Can switching to 8x8 save you money? It's possible. On their homepage, look for the link towards the bottom that says "Calculate your savings in 60 seconds" to use their ROI tool. Of course, you can always click to chat with a sales rep or schedule a meeting if you want to discuss your business' specific needs in more depth.
Check out all features with a one-month trial
Speaking of money, you get a lot of advanced features even with the most basic business phone system they offer. The 8x8 Express requires no contract, only costs $12/user, and you even get a one-month free trial. It includes unlimited domestic calling with visual voicemail and advanced call management, unlimited video conferencing for up to 100 participants, and unlimited chat with both team and 1:1 instant messaging plus file sharing.
X series is where the best features are found
However, if you need more advanced capabilities, you'll be turning to a package from 8x8's X series. Still, starting with the X2 plan at $24/month per user (when paying annually), you get a lot of bang for your buck. It features unlimited voice calling to 14 countries, integration with apps like Zoho and Hubspot, and more. It was a little awkward having to consult a data sheet to compare the X series plans instead of having a handy side-by-side chart right on the site, though.
Rapidly declining reputation
Still, it all sounds really good - on paper, anyway. Sadly, 8x8 tanks when it comes to customer satisfaction. Their listing with the Better Business Bureau is nothing but disappointing: a "B-" rating and no accreditation. There were over 130 complaints filed there in the year leading up to this evaluation, with comments like "worst customer service ever" and "corrupt company" as just a few of the ones that jumped out at us. Even more troubling are the clients who say that 8x8 continued to bill them for service months after cancellation: not because of a dispute over a contract or a missed automatic renewal, but just straight-up error. That's hard to reconcile with some of the kudos 8x8 gets from experts at places like PCMag - but those evaluations tend to stop after they've tried it out and don't get into what customer service is like after several months or years down the road.
Consider other business phone systems first
Is 8x8 the absolute worst choice for business phone systems? No. Could you wind up with a configuration that works well for your company? Yes. However, you could also spend a ton of money and wind up deeply disappointed if that feedback from former clients is any indication. We suggest checking out a few higher-rated providers before getting a quote from 8x8.
Ooma was founded in 2003 and focuses on small to medium-sized businesses. Their cloud-based VoIP platform can be set up in less than 20 minutes.
Over three dozen features included
There are two basic business phone plans with Ooma, Office and Office Pro. Both come with over 35 user-friendly features, like extension dialing, forwarded calls during device outages, call flip, SMS messaging, and many more. The Pro tier adds some of today's more advanced features: video conferencing, desktop app, call recording, voicemail transcription and caller info match, plus higher usage limits for call park, extension monitoring, and audio conference room participants. Both plans are affordably priced: you'll pay $19.95 per month per user with Ooma Office and $25.95 per month per user for Ooma Office Pro.
Business Phone System Costs
Schedule a consult if you need enterprise-level features
If you're looking for more advanced capabilities, like API integrations, customized call center flows, SIP trunking and so forth, Ooma offers Enterprise Solutions. These business phone systems are custom-designed to meet your company's unique needs, and you'll need to schedule a consultation to even get an inkling of what your monthly or annual costs would be. You can get that process started by selecting the Enterprise option in the Business Phone dropdown at the top of the page.
Not so up-to-date?
However, we're not entirely sure Ooma is keeping pace with the times. Not only did we find several typos and strangely-worded phrases on their website, but also their Awards section seems to have petered out in 2016. That gives the impression that Ooma was a go-to service a decade or so ago, but not so much anymore. There's also a heavy emphasis on desk phones throughout their business phone system descriptions and quote process; most small businesses today are looking for quick, seamless integration with the mobile phones they already have. Ooma can do that, but you might not know it if you just glanced at their site.
Customer service hassles
Beyond that, Ooma's reputation is definitely not on par with our higher-rated providers of business phone services. Despite having an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, Ooma's BBB listing had over 100 complaints and negative reviews in the year leading up to this review. Our biggest concern stems from client comments about Ooma's requirement that service be cancelled strictly by phone, but attempts to do exactly that result in endless wait times and unexplainably-disconnected calls - effectively leaving small businesses with no way of getting out of the service. Other customers describe problems getting Ooma to release their business phone numbers when trying to port their service to a new provider, having to change their credit card number to get Ooma to stop billing them for services they're no longer receiving, and other significant issues.
Lowest-ranked option for business phone systems
Ooma has business phone systems that won't cost an arm and a leg - but their service is inconsistent at best. Some business owners love what they've gotten here, but others call the Ooma experience a nightmare, unreliable, and even fraudulent. You've got other inexpensive options for decent business phone coverage among the higher-rated platforms in our evaluation.
Gone are the days of having to buy equipment and install landlines: most business phone systems today rely on mobile phones and can often use what you already have, minimizing hardware expenses like never before. That doesn't mean it's going to be cheap, though: expect monthly costs ranging anywhere from $12 to over $100 per user, depending on the features you require and which provider you choose.
However, that doesn't mean you'll end up spending more money. Those costs can quickly be offset by increased productivity, getting more customers because of faster response times, and all-in-one packaging that eliminates the need for multiple vendor contracts.
There are a lot of business phone system services out there, and it can be a little daunting narrowing down the possibilities. Want some help? Keep these four Cs in mind as you look for the one that will be the best fit for your company:
To help you get the right phone system for your business, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the top providers on the market today. We're confident that this information will help you easily sort through the options and find the perfect match for your company!
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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