Posted: 28 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST
The world of Voice over IP (VoIP) is as varied and enormous as any area of tech can be. In rating their favorite VoIP solutions for work, PCMag readers selected big and small companies alike. In the end, we decided that the days of only giving out one award in this category are gone, as the different types of VoIP systems can all be easily recognized in our top three rated services.
This year we had 12 VoIP systems/services make the cut to be rated in our Business Choice survey, but the top slot is a familiar one. Ooma takes the crown for the sixth time in a row, thanks to a top overall score (8.8 out of 10) and an almost astronomically high likelihood to recommend score of 8.9.
That's not to say things are all sunshine and roses. Ooma's overall score this year is actually down from 2018's 9.2, and that likelihood to recommend doesn't seem as astronomical when compared to last year's 9.3. Those numbers likewise brought down its Net Promoter Score from 89 to 69. Those needing support also rocketed from 7 percent in 2018 to 35 percent for 2019, while overall reliability dipped, too.
Rather than have Ooma carry the torch alone, it will share the spotlight. That's because the second and third place spots are occupied by two distinct types of VoIP service. The first is RCN, which is an ISP first, but offers business customers in its service area a full-fledged VoIP service. The second is enterprise VoIP provider 8x8, our 4.5-star Editors' Choice pick for Best VoIP Provider.
RCN VoIP and 8x8 tied in the score for overall satisfaction with an 8.4 out of 10. In the other metrics we measure, they were neck and neck. RCN was a tenth of a point ahead on management capabilities, setup and ease of use; 8x8 was a tenth of a point ahead on reliability and a fifth of a point ahead on call quality.
Both had pretty bad numbers for tech support: 49 percent of RCN users and 58 percent of 8x8 customers had to call for help in the last year. But the final category is whether people would recommend the service, and RCN's 8.5 is nicely ahead of 8x8's 8.2. That said—RCN's territory is limited to service areas in the northeastern US, whereas 8x8 is available nationwide, so it's a no-brainer to have them share the award and let new VoIP customers pick based on availability.
The second place spot for setup of a VoIP service went to MagicJack with an 8.9, which is not surprising for a service that requires nothing more than plugging a device into your PC. MagicJack was right behind Ooma (and ahead of ahead of RCN and 8x8) in scores for management (8.7 to Ooma's 8.8) and ease of use (9.0 to Ooma's 9.1). The actual ease-of-use winner came out of nowhere: Spectrum with a 9.2. MagicJack also had the least number of people calling tech support, only 15 percent.
Vonage didn't do badly with an overall 8.3; Overall scores of 8.1 for RingCentral (another Editors' Choice pick) and Cisco aren't bad either, despite both having a massive 63 percent of users who needed support.
After that, everyone is at a 7.7 overall or lower. Worse, the likelihood of them being recommended grows so dismal that at least two vendors in the list have negative NPS scores. The worst is Microsoft's Skype at -23; its overall score also dropped from 7.3 to 7.0. Most improved is probably Avaya, which last year only managed a 6.9 overall and this year comes in at 7.7.
WINNERS: VOICE OVER IP SYSTEMS
The PCMag Business Choice survey for Voice over IP (VoIP) Systems was in the field from Jan. 28, 2019 through Feb. 18, 2019. For more information on how the survey is conducted, read the survey methodology.
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