Thursday, June 13, 2019

“Here are the 5 best VoIP phone services for small businesses - Digital Trends” plus 1 more

“Here are the 5 best VoIP phone services for small businesses - Digital Trends” plus 1 more


Here are the 5 best VoIP phone services for small businesses - Digital Trends

Posted: 08 Oct 2018 12:00 AM PDT

In the corporate world, it's not uncommon for companies to invest heavily in phone systems that route calls, handle voicemails, and ensure employees can get work done wherever they are. But in many cases, those phone systems are complicated, expensive, and need regular maintenance.

For many small businesses, in other words, they just don't work.

In their place, companies like 8×8, Ooma, and others all offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that aim at simplifying corporate phone systems and reducing the total cost to small businesses.

VoIP phone systems run over the internet instead of traditional phone lines and are generally managed in the cloud, where small businesses can create extensions, manage individual calls, and much more. And best of all, they're generally much cheaper than their more expensive enterprise-focused alternatives.

If you're in the market to get a new phone system for your small business, you might find several outstanding solutions. But the next five are the best options you can choose now:

best voip phone service ring central

RingCentral is a popular VoIP phone system that can work for both small businesses and larger corporations that want to break away from traditional systems. But surprisingly, RingCentral has been able to keep its price down, making it nicely affordable for small businesses of any size.

RingCentral touts the fact that you can sign up for its service and get your phone system up and running in just "minutes." In total, the service has more than 50 features you can configure, including the ability to create extensions, use video conferencing for richer communication, facilitate messaging between your team members, and use text messaging for communicating with others.

RingCentral can work on traditional phones that would sit in your office, or you could use it through RingCentral apps on your computer or smartphones. From the service's control panel, you can create call trees to route calls around your system and set up an online fax system, so you can receive faxes without needing a fax machine. You can create directory listings and establish toll-free numbers and if you want an auto-receptionist to handle and route your calls, it's available. There's even an audit trail, so you can see who's calling whom and when.

Interestingly, RingCentral works with a variety of third-party services, like Box, Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft to boost productivity and connectivity across your organization. And all of the aforementioned video calls you can place through the service offer HD visuals.

RingCentral starts at $20 per month, per user for up to 10 users and 100 toll-free minutes per month. Prices go up to $50 per month per user for an unlimited number of employees and 10,000 toll-free monthly minutes.

Learn More

best voip phone service ooma telo

Ooma is a popular phone system that aims at giving you "enterprise-grade" phone systems that are ideal for the small business that wants to "sound more professional."

Ooma's system works with internet-ready phones, as well as analog phones and smartphones. If you already have a phone system, you can keep that number and use it with Ooma. You can also use Ooma's mobile app for Android and iOS and use your current smartphone as your corporate line.

If it's a more sophisticated phone system you're after, Ooma offers a variety of features you'd find in bigger, more expensive solutions, including a virtual receptionist that can answer the phone and direct people to the correct extension. You can assign different extensions to a variety of devices and if you want to hold conference calls, Ooma will get it done. You can even configure music-on-hold through the service.

In total, there are more than 35 VoIP phone features you can configure in Ooma.

The Ooma VoIP internet service is available for as little as $19.95 per month, per user. There are no contracts with the offering, so you can sign up and move on to something else whenever you wish.

best voip phone service grasshopper

In the world of small business phone systems, Grasshopper might be the simplest. And that's precisely why it's an ideal choice for the sole proprietor, freelancer, or anyone else with one or maybe two phone lines.

Grasshopper is designed to work with your smartphone. Once you sign up, you can either create your own 1-800 number or opt for a local number for your area. When you receive a call, you'll find that Grasshopper will alert you that it's a call through the service, allowing you to respond however you wish.

When you place a call in Grasshopper, those you ring will see your Grasshopper number on the Caller ID, even if you're calling from your phone. And if you want to place or receive calls on your PC, Grasshopper comes with a desktop app that will allow you to do just that.

Grasshopper includes the option to text with your business instead of calling and you can even receive voicemail and faxes that you can have delivered to your inbox.

Grasshopper comes in a variety of plans based on your needs. Its cheapest option is just $26 per month for one number and three extensions. You can also opt for three numbers and six extensions for $44 per month or five numbers and an unlimited number of extensions for $80 per month. 

best voip phone service 88

If you're looking for a solution that comes with sophisticated features and is designed for companies that are on the larger side of the "small business" category, 8×8's Business Phone System is a nice option.

Indeed, 8×8's Business Phone System is one of the more powerful small business solutions on the market. It comes with a configuration and administration pane and support for unlimited calling in up to 45 countries. It works with both mobile and desktop apps, so you can take calls from your smartphone or PC, and all of its calls are in high-definition, so they should sound quite good.

Like many of its competitors, 8×8's Business Phone System comes with instant messaging and chat built-in and allows employees to alert others when they're in the office, remote, or off for the day. With help from visual voicemail, you can access your messages anywhere you are. The service even includes full voice, web, and video conferencing, so you can hold meetings.

One thing you don't want to overlook in 8×8's Business Phone System is its Operator Switchboard feature, which allows the system to answer a high volume of calls and route them appropriately throughout your company. And if you're worried about security, 8×8 says its service supports TLS/SRTP encryption.

Pricing for 8×8's Business Phone System will vary depending upon your plan. But expect pricing to start at $25 per user per month. 

best voip phone service next

Nextiva is another midrange small business phone system that aims at making it easier for smaller companies with only a handful of employees to get work done. But it also comes with Contact Center and SIP Trunking options that are ideal for medium-sized businesses that have many more employees and need to enhance communication in the office.

Since we're focusing on small businesses, we'll focus here on Nextiva's Office solution for small businesses.

Nextiva Office comes in three flavors — Office Pro, Office Pro Plus, and Office Enterprise. All three offer unlimited calling and virtual faxing and don't come with any setup fees. When you bump up to Office Pro Plus, however, you get access to conferencing and Nextiva's mobile app for communicating on your smartphones. If you want the Enterprise version, you'll add call recording and the option to configure your service with three professional greetings.

When you're up and running with Nextiva, you'll find the option to manage your phone service from anywhere and monitor activity to see what your employees are doing on your system. You can keep your existing number with Nextiva or choose either a new local number or a toll-free number. And if you want to move calls from your desktop to your mobile device without ever hanging up, Nextiva will make it happen.

Indeed, Nextiva is designed to be used just about anywhere. In addition to a traditional phone, you can use Nextiva on a computer, tablet, and smartphone. Nextiva even works with Apple Watch, so you can communicate with people from your wrist.

Nextiva said that its service is ideal for mobile-first companies. And if you're worried about being able to access the service throughout the day, Nextiva says not to worry: it promises 99.999 percent uptime.

Nextiva Office pricing varies greatly depending on the number of users you have and the version you want. Its cheapest plan is $19.95 per user per month.

Looking for more small business solutions? We've found the best antivirus software for business to start protecting your investment.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Editors' Recommendations

How to set up your VoIP service in 5 easy steps with RingCentral - Digital Trends

Posted: 10 Apr 2019 12:00 AM PDT

best home office essentials voip

Landline phone services are slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur, with more individuals relying solely on their mobile devices for making calls. Businesses, however, have continued to rely on traditional landlines for professional use, but that's also changing now thanks to internet-based VoIP services from providers like RingCentral, one of the most popular and highest-rated names in the business.

VoIP, or "voice over internet protocol," simply uses the internet rather than landlines or cell networks to provide voice services. It makes perfect sense considering the internet is just a method for transmitting data quickly across large distances – after all, the internet originally used our telephone lines to do just that.

A good VoIP service like RingCentral is different than a landline phone in a few ways: First and foremost, VoIP is simpler and more affordable for small businesses to set up and manage than the complex and costly phone systems that larger companies typically use. Also, since it's done over the internet and largely cloud-based, VoIP gives you more than just voice communication with additional features such as group chat, automatic recording, voicemail-to-text conversion, app-based network management, and video conferencing.

The process of choosing and setting up your VoIP service is surprisingly easy:

  1. Determine how many users you'll have on your network. For a business, this will boil down to yourself and your employees. This important first step is the biggest factor in determining what sort of service package you'll require.
  2. Assess your office's internet speed. Your VoIP provider will do the heavy lifting when it comes to managing data in the cloud, but as this all works over the internet, you still need a connection capable of handling the load. You can test out your internet speeds to determine if they're capable of supporting VoIP. If they can't, consider upgrading your internet service.
  3. Decide what you actually need and are willing to pay for. VoIP is cheaper than a large enterprise-level landline setup, but there's no need to get carried away by paying for a bunch of stuff you don't need. Write down what features you know you need and will use (for instance, a good mobile app or video conferencing software), what features you'd like but aren't absolutely necessary, and set a reasonable budget for all of it.
  4. Get your hardware. Once you've determined your needs, you'll have a good idea of what equipment (namely phones) you require. You can buy dedicated VoIP phones, but modern providers like RingCentral also allow you to use their services right on the computers and mobile devices you already have. This can be set up for a new user in just a few minutes.
  5. Set it all up. Since RingCentral doesn't require any complicated network equipment, all you need to do after signing up is download and install the software for your service package if necessary (this will be done on each device), follow the instructions, and you're ready to go within minutes.

Learn More

RingCentral offers four service tiers for small businesses. These range from the basic "Essentials" package, which supports up to 10 users and is ideal for home offices, up to the "Ultimate" package, which supports unlimited users and includes a bundle of other advanced features like automatic call recording and voicemail-to-text, among others.

Prices for these tiers range from $20 to $50 per user per month if you pay annually (note that it's $10 more if you decide to pay by the month). Once you've followed the steps above and figured out what you need, then you can check out all of RingCentral's plans and pricing right to find the right VoIP solution for your business.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Editors' Recommendations

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