Communication is the backbone of any business. This applies as much to small businesses as to the big ones. Phone calls are the oldest way to connect people remotely in real time, and in many ways they are still the best method. Advances in the service reliability of VoIP and reductions in cost has meant that there has never been a better time to invest in VoIP for your small business. More and more businesses are turning to VoIP to handle the calling needs they have, and moving away from traditional phone plans. If you want to replace your existing phone set up for greater flexibility, and lower cost, then VoIP is the way to go. We’re going to be looking at the best VoIP services for small business to help you make that leap.
Advantages of VoIP for business
- Save money with lower rates.
- Enjoy the same quality and reliability as regular phone calls.
- Talk on your computer and your phone.
- Additional features like sending your voicemail to your email.
- Mobile apps that allow you to place and receive calls on your smartphone.
What business VoIP is for you?
Consider both your overall budget, and what your calling needs are when making this decision. Other factors to consider are how many employees you need to cater for, and what features you need. Some of these guys offer video conferencing, which is useful for customer support and working with remotely located employees.
Also consider the type of contract you want to set up. An annual contract is cheaper per month, but entails a long term commitment. You can get monthly plans which cost a little more, but give you the freedom to move on when needed.
Watch out for hidden fees such as early termination fees or startup fees.
The best VoIP services for small business
We have chosen a few services we think are particularly excellent. Have a look at these and decide which one is for you.
- RingCentral integrates with other apps like Dropbox and Zendesk, making your life easier.
- For very small businesses or single customers, the pricing may be a little expensive.
The plan from RingCentral has got a lot of love from businesses around the world. They are noted for having loads of features, great customer support and different ways to distribute calls.
Calls are made through the cloud, and you’ve got a fantastic sleek interface that links up with Google, Office 365, Zendesk, Dropbox and Salesforce to make you more productive.
Take advantage of their call-distribution ques, call monitoring and the intuitive mobile app.
You can either go for a contract, or a no-contract monthly option which is a little more expensive.
Jive is another VoIP service based in the cloud.
- Advanced features like call monitoring for no extra cost.
- The software design is now a bit out-dated.
Jive has loads of features, and comes at a more reasonable price point than RingCentral. They have also been commended for their simple and hassle free set up for new users.
- 8×8 offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
- Frustratingly, many of their features cost an additional fee.
There are multiple calling plans to choose from which will suit a range of business customers. 8×8 are considered to be particularly reliable among VoIP for small businesses.
Unfortunately they don’t have advanced queuing options like many of their competitors. That’s gonna cost you extra on top of the plan you have. They also charge for call monitoring which is included as standard with providers like Jive.
On the plus side, like RingCentral, 8×8 has made sure their service integrates fully with other useful business applications. This includes integration with Outlook, SalesForce and SugarCRM.
That helps you keep tabs on customers, improve relationships with prospective clients and existing contacts.
8×8 also has a comprehensive analytics suite that includes agent performance, call quality, active calls and call queue status. You can even make a graph out of all this data if you so wish.
In terms of call management, 8×8 offer basic features like call waiting, hold music and caller ID. They also have voicemail to email, so you can get your voicemail direct to your inbox.
Other cool features include being able to set up a toll-free number, send and receive faxes and set up extra phone lines. Again, all this is extra unfortunately.
24/7 customer service support comes as standard.
- Excellent voice quality.
- Mobile and desktop calling apps.
- Full set of business features.
- A little less expensive than many of its competitors.
- Many of the features available at no extra cost.
- Trickier set up.
- The interface isn’t quite as slick and intuitive as some others.
Vonage is very well known with VoIP and often considered to be one of the best VoIP services for small business. Sign up with these guys and you get over 40 additional features as standard. Many of these will cost you extra with the likes of 8×8.
Some of the excellent features here include call screening, hold music, caller ID block and a virtual receptionist.
When choosing the best VoIP services for small business we took a look at the price, features available and the quality of service.
For me, Vonage Business is currently one of the best VoIP services for small business.
Many of the features they are offering as standard, will cost you extra with other providers.
Ring Central also provides an excellent service, with top notch features. However, I feel that they are just too expensive for small businesses. They really are more for medium businesses who can afford to fork out up big prices.
Jive ought to be commended for how easy they are to set up.
Lastly, 8×8 could be a top service if they focused on providing more of their features as standard. You shouldn’t have to pay out more for advanced business features when Vonage are providing them as standard.