This is the first impression I got reading through their web site. It isn’t just their free trial, it’s what else they offer, the little conveniences that will quickly give the first time VoIP user that fuzzy, protected, feeling. You can set up RingCentral on your tablet; you can port your numbers for free; there are no setup or activation fees, they give discounts on IP phones for new customers, or you can use the phone you already have. In short, they offer a slick startup package, confident that once you try their services, you won’t go back to your old provider.
Is it really that easy to get started? Let’s start with the hardware. The cheapest phone they offer is the Polycom IP 321, a basic IP phone. This is a regular office phone that’s light on features, and costs $100. They offer a few other phones from Cisco and Polycom, two top names in the telecommunications business, as well as an Analog-to-Digital (ATD) converter, so you can use your old phone, for $70. RingCentral sells branded phones. The branded phones come with free technical support, and come out of the box ready to use. They also sell other phones that can be set up with online assistance, and phones that you have to set up yourself.
One of their top features is the variety of phone numbers – yes, phone numbers. They offer vanity phone numbers, both 800 and other toll free numbers (877, 888, etc), and local phone numbers. They even offer a feature called “RingMe.” With RingMe, the customer clicks a button on your web site, and then RingCentral will call both your customer’s phone and your phone at the same time. This feature set hints at marketing towards businesses that want to be very easy to reach.
Another hot feature is integration. RingCentral has apps for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry platforms. With the RingCentral app running, your smartphone becomes another extension at your office. RingCentral also seamlessly integrates with MS Outlook, Google Docs, and Drop Box. So, for example, if you have a contact entered into your Outlook, when they call you, your phone will recognize that and show the name on your caller ID.
Another thing I liked is their “CloudFax” virtual fax machine. If you have a scanner, you can send faxes over email. You can do it the other way around, too, using a real fax machine to send copies to RingCentral, which then appear in your Outlook as PDF files. You can even get a text message every time you get a fax. Online fax plans start at only $7.99 per month.
RingCentral has won award after award, including a gold award from “TopTenReviews” three years in a row, and a product of the year award from Technology Marketing Corporation’s Customer Interaction Solution Magazine. Yet, for their central claim of being the “Number One Cloud Business Phone,” I didn’t see any specific award or sales figures to back it up. That said, RingCentral is more than hype. They offer some of the best feature sets on the market, have clear price price plans as low as $19.99 per user per month, and make it easy to get started.
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