How are you making your business communications more seamless? An increasing number of cloud-based hosted PBX services have expanded their calling features to embrace unified communications (UC). One example is LogMeIn’s GoToConnect, which is an offering that combines the features of Jive with GoToMeeting. With this system, you make calls using cloud technology while also being granted access to web, audio, and video conferencing. There are several advantages to this kind of seamless joining of technologies.

 

What is GoToConnect?

GoToConnect is a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution that is used by companies that need to bring all of their tools for communication and collaboration onto the same platform. This service offering strives to provide a flexible means of communication that most small businesses will want to take advantage of. This is not just a rebranding of Jive; it is an upgrade to the services that they provide.

Some of the benefits of selecting this service over other providers include:

  • Voice features, call handling features, contact center features, and conferencing features are available at every tier.
  • Compared to landlines, going with a cloud-based provider presents major cost-saving and ease of use opportunities for smaller companies.
  • Managing your business from the cloud is simple, especially with features like the Dial Plan Editor (more on this feature later).
  • Communications and collaborations can be done on a single platform with a single, easy-to-use interface.
  • GoToMeeting is included with all tiers.
  • The communication platform is naturally scalable, so it works with any business size without any business worrying about missing key features.
  • It has integration with the most essential software packages that businesses need, which includes Outlook, Salesforce, and Zendesk.
  • The service is compatible with over 180 desk phone models.
  • Online meetings are set up from the UI. This includes one-time meetings and recurring meetings such as check-ins and stand-ups. 
  • The software is cross-platform – it’s designed for mobile devices and as a softphone solution for desktops.
  • There’s no explicit need to download meeting software – the web browser app brings all of the features for conferencing and calling.

 

GoToConnect’s Plans and Pricing Tiers

Like Jive before it, this service has a differing pricing breakdown from other providers. Instead of locking certain features behind higher tiers of their plan structure, the provider delivers the same set of features to every type of subscriber. The main differentiating factor between the tiers is the number of users accessing the VoIP phone system. The more users you have using communications features, the less expensive the price for your organization. 

Here’s a quick look at their tier breakdown:

Plan Tier One Tier Two Tier Three Tier Four Tier Five Tier 6
# of Users 1-4 5-9 10-24 24-49 50+ 100+
Monthly price per user $29.95 $25.95 $23.95 $21.95 $19.95 Contact GoToConnect

 

Included with all tiers:

Voice Features Call Management Features Call Center Features Video Conference Features
Cloud PBX Call Routing Advanced Ring Strategies 250 meeting participants
Custom Hold Music Caller ID Pre-Call Announcement Up to 25 HD Video Feeds
Dial Plan Editor Do Not Disturb Unlimited Call Queues One-Click Screen Sharing
International Calling Find Me/Follow Me Wait Time Announcement Personal Meeting Rooms

 

GoToConnect’s Most Important Features

 

What features come standard with any tier? Well, they have a fairly comprehensive selection that includes features for voice, call management, calling centers, and video conferences. Here’s a breakdown of how each works.

Custom Hold Music

While no one likes being placed on hold during a call, either by an agent or by a call queuing system, having music makes the wait more tolerable. The platform has custom music that allows your team to create entire playlists of music that will help customers pass the time while waiting. By default, the VoIP service already has a preset music playlist that can be set to shuffle, but your team adds custom music as needed. Just remember that your team will need to follow your country’s Digital Rights Management Laws. 

Changing music is done via the dashboard under the phone numbers option. Each number associated with your account is configurable to have its own music playlist. By default, the system has “Use Default Hold Music” selected, but adding various music file types simply takes a few extra steps. Custom hold music is very useful for things like holidays, where you may want to add a more festive jingle to your VoIP system.

Dial Plan Editor

We covered this feature a while back when we did our Jive PBX comprehensive breakdown. In a nutshell, the editor is a convenient means to edit your call flows from start to finish. Everything in the interface is drag and droppable. This means that you quickly change where calls go when a receptionist is away, when there’s a holiday, or when your menus have changed. 

With the system being so quickly changed through an intuitive UI, on-the-fly customization is possible, and it’s even easy to change up your auto-attendant or IVR call flows for better customer routing using this system. To be honest, one of the more efficient features of the editor is the timeout adjustment. 

With it, you set the timeout in seconds so that calls are automatically sent to a receptionist or the attendant. This helps prevent long call waits. It’s essential for any call center that wants to reduce call abandonment rates, which is a call center metric every center must track.

Find Me/Follow Me

Find Me/Follow Me is the service’s version of remote call forwarding. With it, users configure their call flows so that customers aren’t left waiting. For example, Find Me/Follow Me allows you to set calls to exclusively ring your Google Android or Apple iOS smartphone mobile app rather than ring your desk. This way, instead of a prerequisite number of rings before switching to your cell phone, the first ring is received on your device – baked-in features like caller ID remain intact. 

Conversely, there’s also the sequential ring setting that will ring another device after an initial point of contact fails. Finally, for those that are based at a desk but may be asked to go at a moment’s notice, simultaneous ring is a configurable setting. This will ring all attached devices at the same time, which will reduce the chance of the caller hanging up in frustration.

 

Screen Share

Efficient conferences are all about sharing data as clearly as possible, and screen share adds a critical visual element. With screen share, the organizer or attendees share the data on their screen with other participants. There are many screen sharing benefits, and the technology is particularly useful when trying to troubleshoot issues or when trying to demo a new piece of software. This is useful for those looking to give PowerPoint presentations in fullscreen mode.

GoToConnect’s system permits presenters to show multiple monitor displays at the same time or to show a display at the application level. This means that instead of showing things like desktops and windows on the taskbar, just the relevant software will be on display to fellow conference-goers. This service also allows you to blank out the background when sharing your full desktop.

Ring Groups

These work similarly to call queues but are less specialized. Instead of sending a set of calls based on specific preset patterns, calls are sent to larger groups of agents. The provider explains the differences between the two technologies as being similar to the differences between buffet and sit-down dining. With these, the experience is much more like a buffet where calls are meted out based on a first-come, first-served basis. Once a caller dials in, the phones ring for all agents in the ring group.

Voicemail Anywhere and Voicemail to Email

Voicemails are integral for companies trying to provide prompt and responsive service to their customers. There are two features designed to make voicemail retrieval more convenient. Voicemail to email allows users to completely skip traditional voicemail prompts and listen to each recording as a sound file in their email inbox. Voicemail Anywhere permits users to access their email accounts from any device configured to work with the service and via a dial-in number provided to customers.

 

How Easy is GoToConnect to Use?

By its very nature, this service is designed to make business communications easier. As a cloud VoIP provider, making calls requires almost no hardware since everything is hosted on LogMeIn’s servers. This provides redundancy and business continuity because, if a server goes down, the other servers will pick up the load so that you can continue to make calls and conferences. 

Thanks to this georedundancy, this is one of the few providers that have a “five nines,” or 99.999% uptime guarantee as a service level agreement (SLA). This means that you’re guaranteed to experience less than six minutes of downtime per year. 

It’s also straightforward to connect the phones to the provider. The service is compatible with 180 phone models, and they will pre-configure your devices if you purchase them directly from the service provider. If you opt to use your own preexisting devices, the provider’s support team will help you configure the phones for the service.

Configuration is also fairly simple; everything is done using a web portal. This includes setting up phones, configure user settings, assign and retire extensions, manage the editor, change the hold tune playlist, or set up auto attendants. 

If there were a weakness to the service, it would be in the availability of virtual phone numbers. While they certainly offer local and toll-free numbers, which grant you either the appearance of being present in certain markets or a national organization, they don’t offer international numbers. This means that if you’re intending to expand your business’s reach into international markets, you’re going to need a new provider that grants direct inward dialing (DID) numbers in those foreign markets. Still having access to numbers in up to 200 United States area codes is certainly valuable for growing businesses.

 

Bundled Contact Center Features

Unlike several providers that lock contact center features behind upper tiers, this service stands out because all customers are granted access to these kinds of features. Admittedly, the service doesn’t pack in as many features that you might find with Talkdesk or Nice inContact, but for those starting with this kind of customer management, these tools really come in handy. Let’s take a look at what features for centers are included with GoToConnect:

Call Queues

The call queue feature is very nuanced and handy for call centers and teams that receive a heavy influx of inbound calls from customers. Through the platform, the queue feature assigns inbound calls to preset groups based on the criteria that you set up. While your customer waits, the business phone system will provide announcements to let them know the average wait time. 

Call center queues are managed via the editor under the extensions subcategory, and you’ll be able to select the extension number and name each queue. You even will be able to assign preset agents to each queue. With this feature, you add pre-call announcements as well as hold music in the editor.

Advanced Ring Strategies

When setting up your contact center, you’re going to need to have a system that helps you manage inbound calls. For example, The advanced ring strategies system allows you to have multiple phones ring simultaneously when you receive a call or have only individual lines ring. Conversely, it also allows your team to set inbound calls to ring a preset number of times before sending the call to another extension. 

In addition, when you combine the editor with the advanced ring strategies system, calls are routed even better for inbound call centers. With that system, your call strategies happen dynamically based on your preferences. Have a receptionist that has limited hours due to a lack of available childcare? This system helps you set up calls to reach the front desk after four rings between the hours of 8am and 2pm. When the receptionist is no longer available, calls will transfer to the attendant system after just three rings.

Here are a few settings that are configurable in advanced ring strategy for your agents:

  • Ring All: This will ring all agents in a group. This setting is most similar to ring groups.
  • Round Robin: This ring strategy allocates calls based on the order in which agents entered the call queue.
  • Least Recent: If an agent has been off of a call for an extended period, the system will place priority on their station. Agents that have been on recent calls receive less priority.
  • Fewest Calls: If there are members of your team that have received fewer calls throughout the shift, these agents will receive priority.
  • Random: This is a randomized system of call distribution.

Pre-Call Announcements

The pre-call announcement feature may seem a bit bare-bones to some, but it is very useful for agents that want to be informed about each call. At its base level, pre-call announcements serve as a sort of caller ID for the agent. The system announces the number of the caller so that the agent can load the information into their CRM. This makes for more informed agents because previous histories with the caller are easily retrieved as the call is connecting. 

Queue Barge, Spy, and Call Whisper

All of these features are integral to a contact center. Queue barge, which is the provider’s version of call barge, allows supervisors to “barge-in” on a call and address the customer directly. This is particularly useful when an agent is struggling to address the customer’s needs. 

Call spy is also known as call monitoring in the industry. Call spy allows supervisors to listen in on a call, which is useful for ensuring that agents are sticking to scripts, upselling services, and for identifying coaching opportunities. Neither the agent nor the customer will be aware of the supervisor’s presence on the call, so this is an excellent way to hear what’s happening on calls without the agent changing up their call practices because they are being monitored.

Sometimes an agent needs to coach an agent as they are on a call. This is needed for new agents that are still learning the ropes and for those calls that are more difficult and may need a supervisor’s input. With call whisper, the supervisor speaks directly to the agent without the customer’s knowledge. This helps improve customer service since it makes your agents appear more knowledgeable.

 

Comparing GoToConnect vs Industry Leaders

You may be asking yourself how GoToConnect compares to other industry leaders for your business. Since there are quite a few options, the best way to consider which one is going to be best for your needs is to look at the features of each side by side. Here’s a glance at what each provides.

 

RingCentral Office

RingCentral Messaging

 

Plan Essentials Standard Premium Ultimate
# of Users Up to 20 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Monthly Price per User $19.99 $24. 99 $34. 99 $49. 99

 

RingCentral Office is another provider that’s great for businesses that are scaling in size. Its cloud-based phone system provides a great way to integrate messaging, phone calls, videos, and real-time meetings into a single solution. There are four RingCentral pricing plans, so you will have a versatile plan structure to grow your communications profile gradually. 

Each plan offers unlimited calling, unlimited SMS messaging, 24/7 customer tech support and more. Plans range in price between $19.99 and $49.99, and each plan has an increasing amount of unique offerings as you scale upwards. If you commit to an annual payment, the monthly price is greatly reduced. Let’s take a closer look at what the provider offers.

How Does RingCentral Compare to GoToConnect?

RingCentral GoToConnect
Call queues are only available for Premium and Ultimate Call queues are unlimited and available at all tiers
High-definition video isn’t available under Essentials High-definition video is available via GoToMeeting which comes standard with GoToConnect.
Automatic call recording is available for the top two tiers, and on-demand call recording is available on Standard. Call recording is available with GoToConnect, but there’s no automatic feature.

 

Intermedia Unite

Plan Unite Unite Pro
# of Users Unlimited Unlimited
Monthly Price per User $28.99 $38.99

 

Even though Intermedia Unite wasn’t on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS in 2019, it’s still a competitive VoIP solution to consider. As we covered in our guide to Intermedia Unite, it offers a unified communications platform that combines calling features with team collaboration software to make business communications much easier to manage. 

To help provide the best user experience for their customers, Intermedia Unite stands behind a 99.999% uptime guarantee. Security is also important, so all data is encrypted before it’s transferred as well as when the files are at rest. Integration with this platform is simple, and the higher the tier you select, the more software connections will be available.

How Does Intermedia Unite Compare to GoToConnect?

Intermedia Unite GoToConnect
99.999% uptime: About five minutes of yearly downtime 99.99% uptime: About 52 minutes of yearly downtime
A limit of four video conferencing attendees for Unite and 30 for Unite Pro (200 audio attendees) 250 video conferencing attendees for all tiers
Two gigabytes (Unite) and 100 gigabytes (Unite Pro) of file sharing and backup per user No real file sharing with the exception of pdf., image files, and videos through display only

 

Dialpad

dialpad small business phone service

 

Plan Standard Pro Enterprise
# of Users Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Monthly Price per User $15 $25 Contact Provider

 

We covered Dialpad in our RingCentral vs Dialpad guide a few months back. It’s a competitive platform for businesses of all sizes, and it offers several plans to accommodate the specific needs of different businesses. All plans come with unlimited calling as well as unlimited SMS and MMS messaging in the United States and Canada. 

Customizable hold music and simultaneous ring is available to make call routing more convenient. Uberconference is included with all plans for up to 10 participants per conference.  Phone support varies based on the plan that you select, and only the Enterprise level plan has support that’s available 24/7.  

How Does Dialpad Compare to GoToConnect?

Dialpad GoToConnect
Phone support starts at Dialpad Pro and above Phone support is available on all tiers
Upper tier plan pricing details aren’t published Upper tier plan pricing details aren’t published
Dialpad allows you to connect up to five devices per user Unlimited number of connectable devices – based on preset rules established by the administrator

 

8×8, Inc.

 

Plan X1 X2 X6
# of Users Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Monthly Price per User $15 $25 $115

 

8×8 is a unified platform that offers businesses multiple methods of communication that they can use. Plans vary from about $15 a month per user to about $115 a month per user. All tiers have unlimited calling available in the United States and Canada, but if you want to call to other countries without paying a fee, you may want to consider a higher plan than the basic 8×8 Express. 

Instant messaging and file sharing is included in all plans. In addition, all 8×8 Meetings video conferences allow 50 participants in the conference, and cloud recording and screen share features will be available as well.

How Does 8×8 Compare to GoToConnect?

8×8 GoToConnect
Speech analytics to gauge customer sentiment based on calls Speech and text analytics for visibility into call traffic and customer sentiment
1:1 instant messaging for team collaboration 1:1 instant messaging through GoToMeeting platform
File sharing across all tiers No real file sharing with the exception of pdf., image files, and videos through display only

 

Is GoToConnect a Worthy Successor to Jive PBX?

We’ve always been big fans of Jive PBX, and with the addition of GoToMeeting providing a stable means of creating any kind of conference you like, GoToConnect is definitely a platform to consider if you’re looking to foster better communications. 

With its cloud features, communicating with customers and managing their experience is relatively easy. You receive a competitive feature set that includes internet faxing, a comprehensive desktop application, and hassle-free technical support for call setup. In addition to this, their video platform is a leader in the conferencing field for a reason, and having HD conferencing for team collab is a feather in the cap of the provider

Still, the platform could definitely use some dedicated file sharing, and conference calling is only available for up to 10 callers, but overall, this is a very useful solution. This is particularly true for businesses that are in a period of growth; having preset features and a scaling plan structure that gets cheaper as your business grows is VERY useful. 

Wondering what other kinds of business VoIP solutions there are out there for you to consider? Take a look at our guides, we review each provider in an in-depth manner and tell you the pros and cons of each so that you make the most educated decision possible.