Vonage Business Cloud Communications, one of the top UCaaS providers, offers scalable solutions for SMBs across a variety of industries.
It provides a singular interface for popular communication channels, displays valuable real-time and historical insights into caller and agent behavior, and integrates with many existing communication tools.
Given that today’s customers interact with companies across an average of 6 touchpoints before making a purchase or resolving an issue, a unified communication strategy like the one Vonage offers is essential.
But is it the right choice for your business?
Our ultimate guide to Vonage Business Communications will give you insight into available pricing, plans, features, and user experience to help you find out.
Table of Contents:
- What is Vonage Business Communications?
- Vonage Pricing and Plans
- Vonage Business Cloud Communications Features
- Vonage User Experience
- Who Should Use Vonage Business Cloud Communications?
- What Are The Top Alternatives To Vonage?
- Vonage Business Communications FAQs
Vonage Business Communications (VBC) is a Unified Communications platform designed to streamline conversations across multiple communication channels including video calling, chat messaging, VoIP telephony, SMS business texting, and more within a single interface.
The Vonage Business Cloud provides a high level of flexibility for today’s ever-changing workforce, ensuring that in-house, remote, and blended teams can connect with one another and their customers on their preferred channel — and preferred device — without missing a beat.
Unlike Vonage Communications APIs, which allow users to build a customizable cloud communications tool, the Business Cloud system is a turnkey solution with a simple setup and installation process. VBC works as both a standalone UCaaS tool, or it can be integrated with additional third-party business software like CRM systems or project management apps.
Plus, its scalable pricing and plans means there’s a solution for every phase and type of business, whether it’s a startup, an established local business, or a nationwide enterprise.
Vonage offers three paid plans for between 1 and 1,000 users payable on a monthly basis. (The higher the number of users, the greater the overall cost savings.)
Though Vonage doesn’t offer a free plan, it does provide a free 14-day trial for each of its paid options.
All Vonage plans include:
- Number porting
- Unlimited calling in the United States and Canada
- Unlimited team messaging
- File sharing
- Vonage App Center (limited third-party integrations)
- Mobile phone application for iOS and Android devices
- VonageFlow for integrating voice, SMS, and team messaging in one seamless platform
The below table outlines the pricing model for between 1 to 26 users, the most common “starting point” for Vonage users.
|Plan||Mobile Plan||Premium Plan||Advanced Plan|
|Pricing||$14.99/line per month||$24.99/line per month||$34.99/line per month|
|Video Conferencing||X||Unlimited meetings for up to 100 participants||Unlimited meetings for up to 100 participants|
|IP Desk Phone Compatibility||X||✓||✓|
|On-Demand Call Recording||X||X||Included, no add-on purchase required|
|Visual Voicemail||X||X||Included, no add-on purchase required|
|Call Group||X||X||Included, no add-on purchase required|
As is evident, the above pricing model lacks a mention of what most would consider standard UCaaS features.
Instead of including these features bundled in plans, Vonage requires their purchase a la carte.
Unfortunately, Vonage is not transparent when it comes to determining the exact cost of its add-on features. The below prices were uncovered in direct conversations with representatives or were listed on somewhat buried internal pages of the Vonage website.
The pricing of add-on services include:
- Call Recording: $49.99 for 500 hours per month (company-wide) or $4.99/month per extension for 15 hours of recording (Per extension)
- Call Monitoring: $49.99 per month
- Call Queuing: $250.00/month per call queue with unlimited usage, or $14.99/month per call queue with 3 cents/minute wait time
- Call Groups: $4.99/month per call group (Up to 28 groups)
- Visual Voicemail: $4.99/month per extension
- Virtual Faxing: $9.99/month per line
- Toll-free number: $4.99/number (no usage included)
Below, we’ll outline the most important features of Vonage Business Cloud, which include:
- Business Phone System
- Video Meetings
- Team Collaboration
- SMS Messaging and Online Faxing
- Advanced Call recording
- Visual Voicemail
- Analytics and Reporting
- Third-Party Integrations
Business Phone System
Vonage’s business phone system includes over 50 call management features, accessible via a compatible office desk phone, desktop computer softphone, or Apple and Android mobile devices.
These features are designed to increase first call resolution rates, prevent internal miscommunication, and ensure that the caller is directed to the best available agent.
Vonage’s “Never Miss A Call” suite includes features like simultaneous ringing/ring groups, Find Me/Follow Me, call forwarding and call routing, and Do Not Disturb — all of which can be reconfigured in a few simple clicks according to agent, available hours, or even current call volume.
Its IVR capabilities also include the “Call Announce” tool, which automatically collects caller responses to pre-recorded IVR prompts and plays them for the first available agent. This allows agents to opt to take the call without having to ask the client to provide the same information again, or forward the caller to voicemail or another representative.
Agents can switch devices during a call, take advantage of the spam shield to avoid time-consuming and obnoxious messages, and connect a maximum of 3 separate devices to a single phone line.
Additional phone system features include:
- Call screening, call hold, call park, call queue, call waiting
- Caller ID
- Call blocking
- Company directory assistance
- Call paging (broadcast messaging)
- Virtual Receptionist
- Conference calling
- Call monitoring, call barge, call whisper
Vonage Meetings is VBC’s video communication tool, and as of this writing, it is offered free for 90 days even without the purchase of a Vonage account.
Up to 16 internal and external users can meet via video, and audio-only conferencing within the Vonage Meetings desktop and mobile app is available for up to 100 participants. Meetings can be started with one-click or pre-scheduled in Microsoft Outlook or in Google Calendar. Team chat messaging is always accessible for the meeting’s duration.
Video meeting recordings of up to 15 hours can be saved and shared via email or chat with others, and users can select from numerous meeting views including active speaker or gallery views.
Note that Vonage also integrates with other popular video calling tools such as Microsoft Teams.
Vonage video meeting features also include:
- Desktop and application screen sharing
- Participant Status
- Invite attendees from the user contact list
- File sharing
- Dial-in meeting access
- Host controls
- Saved chat history
- Meeting histories
- Join the meeting via web browser, no-download option
- Meeting locks
Vonage offers several team collaboration features that are accessible as standalone tools or during audio conference bridge or video meetings.
Though Vonage itself offers more basic collaboration features, its partnership with Amazon Chime gives users access to more advanced capabilities, including file sharing and live co-annotation of files up to 50 MB per attachment.
Additional features include:
- User tagging
- Message pinning
- Message reactions
- Public and private channels
- Calendar integration
SMS Messaging and Online Faxing
Vonage Business SMS makes it easy for agents to communicate via two-way texting on their business telephone numbers — via the desktop app or cell phone interface.
Agents can text their customers and one another in group or one-on-one messages and can send images, video files, photos, and multimedia files. Each text conversation is automatically synced across devices to ensure conversation consistency.
VonageReach is Vonage’s SMS automation functionality, which automates tailored marketing text messages based on customer segmentation. VonageReach uses AI to “learn” from past lead interactions, determining not only the type of message/offer to send, but also when the best time to send it is.
Users can also take advantage of SMS marketing shortcodes, text-to-join keywords, appointment reminders and notifications, pre-written automatic responses, and the option to switch to personalized, one-on-one texting at any time.
Vonage also offers paperless online faxing, so users can send and receive faxes from desktop and mobile devices without clogging up the business phone number. All faxes are automatically saved in a database for easy access, and are even included within the singular voicemail and email unified inbox.
Advanced Call Recording
Vonage’s call recording features are among its strongest and are in full compliance with current call recording laws.
Users can choose from on-demand or automatic call recording, pause and resume recordings at any time, opt to have recordings automatically saved or deleted, and share the recordings via email or by downloading/streaming them on a preferred device.
Vonage stores HD recordings in a user-friendly database for up to 6 months, and this database can be searched by keyword, date, call party, duration, call direction, telephone number, and more.
Recording controls can be managed on a company-wide or individual basis, and admins can set/adjust advanced recording rules in the admin portal. For example, it’s possible to record calls made only during set hours, to/from specific agents or ring groups, by call direction, and more.
Vonage Visual Voice (which comes only as a paid add-on feature) transcribes voice messages into text form.
Agents can opt to receive these transcriptions via email, SMS text message, or both. These messages can be locked with a PIN for a higher level of protection. Additionally, agents can forward voicemail messages to other agents if further collaboration is needed.
In addition to being able to record custom voicemail greetings, users can also specify the number of rings required before a call is sent to the voice mailbox.
Note that, while each agent has their own individual voice mailbox, group voicemail mailboxes are not available as of this writing.
Analytics and Reporting
Vonage provides both a bird’s-eye view of all business communications activity and specific analytics according to date, caller, issue, customer sentiment, and more.
Its best tool is its Conversation Analyzer, which relies on advanced Nexmo speech analytics and NLP to provide information about consistent customer service or sales issues, uptime, call quality and the quality of current support, customer satisfaction and the customer experience, and more. In addition to providing call recordings that can be searched via keyword, users can also sort call data by custom tags.
The Vonage Company Summary analysis provides succinct insight into call activity and trends over the past three months, and agents can click on any of the metrics to learn more about specific interactions or data points.
These call reports can be saved, subscribed to, and shared with others.
Essential call tracking analytics monitored by Vonage include:
- Activity by extension, agent, ring groups, etc
- Call disposition and direction
- Call duration
- Total number of calls
- Number of calls that were answered, missed or went to voicemail
- Most active and least active agents/groups
- Call logs
Vonage’s App Center and Integration Platform offer a high level of third-party integrations that allow users of more basic plans to access advanced functionalities without needing to upgrade to a more expensive Vonage plan.
Top third-party integrations include:
- Office 365
- G Suite
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Zoho CRM
- Microsoft Teams
- Sugar CRM
Reviews from current customers consistently point out that Vonage’s greatest strength is its scalability and customizability. Instead of having to pay for features that aren’t necessary at the current phase of business, (or features that are fulfilled through a preferred third-party integration) users can gradually add features and users as needed.
However, its biggest weakness is undoubtedly a lack of transparent pricing and the fact that VoIP features many would consider standard are available as paid add-ons only.
Uncovering the true cost of these add-ons often required one-on-one communication with a Vonage representative, but even then, most were reluctant to provide straightforward answers, attempting instead to steer the conversation towards the features’ benefits.
The below table outlines additional Vonage pros and cons.
|Vonage Pros||Vonage Cons|
|Intuitive user interface, turnkey access, and a simple, quick installation process that is often manageable with a company’s in-house IT team alone||Onboarding training and support included with each Vonage plan is insufficient, often requiring users to purchase costly additional onboarding assistance|
|High level of third-party integrations available even on more affordable plans||Fairly extensive third-party integrations will be required for customers needing more than a basic business phone system|
|Advanced analytics and reporting, especially thanks to Natural Language Processing, AI, and the Conversation Analyzer||Audio-only conference calls can host a maximum of 30 attendees|
|Included VoIP telephony features like the Never Miss A Call mobility suite, Call Flip, and an excellent Vonage app for smartphones allow for a high level of flexibility||Companies with a higher daily call volume will likely need to upgrade to the Vonage Contact Center solution to access more advanced sales and customer service functions|
Speaking in general terms, the Vonage business cloud UCaaS system will best serve small businesses of under 100 employees needing scalable communication solutions that can grow with their business.
Though VBC users likely already use effective team collaboration or communication tools, what they lack is a cohesive, singular workspace to access those tools.
This lack of a central communications hub has led to lost data, frequent miscommunications, and a consistent dip in productivity levels. VBC users will still be able to use the third-party software they’re familiar with via integrations, but with the addition of a UCaaS platform, they’ll now also have a streamlined dashboard that shows essential communications and collaboration updates.
More specifically, common Vonage Business Communications use cases include:
- Potential fraud detection and identity verification in financial services
- Telemedicine (virtual and video doctor’s appointments) on a HIPAA and PCI-compliant platform within the healthcare sector
- Creating a virtual classroom for presenting lectures, sharing slides, uploading homework, and even hosting parent-teacher conferences within the education sector
- Automate shipping and delivery notifications — and deliver updates via SMS message or social media chats — in the logistics sector
- In-app messaging, loyalty program updates, and sales offers within the eCommerce world
The Vonage Business Cloud Communications Platform is a worthy UCaaS system for many, but if it doesn’t quite suit your needs — or your budget — you have several other options.
Though our Business VoIP Buyer’s Guide provides a more detailed comparison of additional solutions, the below table briefly outlines four popular Vonage alternatives.
|Provider Name||Nextiva||RingCentral Office||GoToConnect||Zoom United|
|Price Range||$18.95-$32.95+/user per month||$19.99-$49.99+/user per month||$22.00-$39.00+/user per month||$25.00-$30.00+/user per month|
|Top Features||Cospace team collaboration suite, advanced sales and customer support business telephony features||Task management, clean and intuitive interface, high level of third-party integrations||Advanced Dial Plan Editor and IVR configuration tools||High-quality video calling capabilities (Breakout Rooms, custom backgrounds, advanced in-meeting messaging)|
|Best For||Companies needing advanced analytics for insight into current sales strategies and support trends (contact centers, online retailers, etc.)||Primarily remote companies within the retail, financial, or healthcare sectors||Small to midsize blended businesses that primarily communicate via business telephony and prioritize a higher level of customer self-service||Companies that primarily communicate via video chat, but still want to have a business telephone system|
|Further Reading||Nexiva Pricing, Plans, and Features||RingCentral Pricing and Plans||GoToConnect Review||Review of Zoom Phone|
Below, we’ve answered some of the top FAQs about Vonage Business Communications.
VBC is compatible with a wide variety of desk phones from top preferred providers like Yealink, Panasonic, and Polycom.
Additional hardware from non-preferred providers like Cisco, Grandstream, and Aastra is also usually compatible -- though sometimes with limited functionality -- with Vonage products. Note that all office phones must be SIP compatible to work with VBC.
For business phone systems, the Vonage Service Level Agreement (SLA) requires a commitment of a minimum of 24 months.
Vonage is HIPAA, PCI DDS, and SOC 2 compliant, in addition to maintaining quality management standards outlined in ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004, OHSAS 18001:2007, and more.
Additionally, host and admin controls such as number blocking, spam shields, meeting locks, and more help to keep meetings and calls secure.
As of this writing, Vonage offers several types of virtual phone numbers including toll-free numbers with 888, 877, and 866 number prefixes, international phone numbers in over 22 countries, and local phone numbers.
Users can purchase as many virtual telephone numbers as they’d like, and can also port in existing numbers. Each Vonage number is quarantined and tested to help new owners avoid cross-talk.