Future-forward business VoIP solutions are being embraced by organizations for their internal and external business text messaging and telephony needs in today’s work from home economy. For any company, business communication is crucial for defining the customer experience that the brand cultivates, which can be a determining factor for survival.
Voice over Internet Protocol providers now offer a myriad of useful small business phone system features, but it’s crucial to truly consider which capabilities would best serve your industry and phone service needs.
Businesses need functionality that is just as robust as large enterprises but might not have the budget for them. Most reputable business VoIP systems understand that business owners want to try phone features before upgrading or committing to a full package.
As you shop around, you’re bound to find commonalities between small business phone services promoting advanced add-on features. These can usually be purchased individually without a plan and provide unique insights valuable to businesses across all industries.
- Custom Greetings & Premium Hold Music – no one enjoys being left on hold for long stretches, but many callers also appreciate not suffering call waiting times in silence or being forced to listen to sterile elevator music. Hearing a custom greeting and royalty-free hold music before a call transfer can leave callers with a better impression of the interaction as a whole. It also makes your company seem far more professional.
- HD Video Conferencing – Many business phone service providers offer HD video conferencing capabilities, enabling high-quality web conferencing straight from the platform. This eliminates the need for third-party video platforms like Skype or GoToMeeting. Having reliable HD visuals and sound promises clear communication to simplify internal operations for remote teams.
- Integrations – Integrations are valuable for keeping connected to your other tools, existing customer base and helping the customer service team streamline processes with crucial data. Many phone providers offer an array of commonly used apps that sync seamlessly with your phone system. These pair productivity tools like call tracking, CRM, live chat and other features to the phone system.
- Call Analytics – Just like web analytics and social media reports, call center analytics can provide a wealth of knowledge and help you optimize performance on anything from conference calls to call logs. This is a worthwhile investment for any company looking to optimize campaign impact, track leads, and evaluate the success of call center reps.
- Vanity & Local Business Phone numbers – be on the lookout for VoIP phone service providers that offer free local numbers, virtual numbers, extensions, as well as access to toll-free vanity numbers. Any VoIP number should come with a caller ID.
Grasshopper offers the communication tools your business needs to grow. This business phone service ensures your business will look and sound professional. It is an excellent choice for very small businesses that don’t require advanced features and want to avoid being tied to a contract.
Best features for small businesses — Grasshopper was designed with small businesses in mind as they often have to work longer hours to get their businesses off the ground. One feature that helps with that is Grasshopper’s instant response.
If you miss a call from a prospect, Grasshopper will automatically send out an SMS message to let them know you’re unavailable. Reaching out with this automated message will eliminate the risk of losing prospects.
Getting started — Users can easily get started with Grasshopper in just a few simple steps. First, you pick your number and plan and then you download the app on your mobile phone and desktop. You then need to configure your settings and you’re good to start using your new phone number.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — Grasshopper’s most basic plan starts at $26/month, billed annually. But as it only comes with one phone number, it’s not the best fit for a small business. The best bet is Grasshopper’s Partner plan, which starts at $44/month, billed annually. This plan comes with three phone numbers and six extensions.
Nextiva is one of the leading providers of business VoIP and cloud-based communications and a great choice for ensuring nothing but the best for your organization and clients. Their best-in-class customer service has earned multiple awards and outspoken customer loyalty.
Best features for small businesses — The VoIP provider’s most basic plan offers features that allow users to easily carry on communications with clients and customers. These include free number porting and unlimited calling. That way, you can stick with your old phone number and pick up communications right where you left off.
Getting started — Nextiva offers a thorough page on the website dedicated to helping small businesses get started with their product. You can read about individual features and then see how they come together in Nextiva’s bundled services.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — Nextiva’s Essential plan starts as low as $18/month per user. This gives users the basic VoIP features they’ll need for communicating with clients and colleagues. Here’s a look at Nextiva’s full pricing options.
Built for use by organizations of all sizes, RingCentral Office features a range of plans and utilizes powerful customization options using APIs. RingCentral prides itself on assisting collaborative teams regardless of location, making it another excellent option for remote teams.
Best features for small businesses — The Essentials plan is available for up to 20 users — this is a lot more lines than many of RingCentral’s competitors provide. Purchasing this plan gives you the freedom to grow your small business significantly. RingCentral users can also take advantage of free phone calls and unlimited Business SMS texting.
Getting started — RingCentral’s website states that it’s easy to deploy and scale the tool in minutes. You can set up new teams within the centralized admin portal. It’s simple to add and remove users, set business hours, and build rules for call routing and call forwarding. Any user can perform these actions remotely.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — The Essentials is a sufficient mid-tier plan and includes automatic call recording and an auto-attendant, which ensures users never miss inbound calls and provides virtual receptionist capabilities. These are features that you might not get in a basic plan from another VoIP provider. This option starts at $19.99/user/month. Here’s a breakdown of RingCentral’s additional pricing and plans.
8×8 empowers workforces worldwide to connect teams to each other and their customers so they can collaborate faster and work smarter. The VoIP provider offers real-time business analytics and intelligence so businesses have unique insights across all interactions and channels in order to make data-driven decisions.
Best features for small businesses — 8×8 Express was specifically designed with small businesses in mind. With this option, users will gain access to business SMS and texting, one-on-one group chat, and unlimited dialing in the US and Canada, which is perfect for streamlined unified communications. Features like instant screen sharing and HD voice and video meetings are also standard for this plan.
Getting started — The 8×8 Express plan is ideal for quickly setting up meetings as there is no software requirement – guests can call meetings using a browser-based UI.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — Thanks to a plethora of features and a lower starting price at just $12 per month per user, the 8×8 Express plan by 8×8 is ideal for smaller and larger operations alike. The first month is free and there are no contracts or hardware required.
Ooma Office is a basic service provider for small businesses and startups with up to ten employees. For many small businesses that want to experiment with a no-frills option, Ooma is a cost-effective solution to cover basic needs by supporting a team’s existing analog phones.
Best features for small businesses — Ooma Office’s bare-bones plan offers SIP phone customer support, toll-free number options, group calling features, emergency (911) services, and voicemail-to-email conversions. Users can also leverage more advanced features such as virtual fax and virtual extensions.
Getting started — Ooma offers a page on its website that specifically helps small businesses to get started. It specifically states that setting up your Ooma platform is quick and easy. You don’t need any technical knowledge and should be up and running within 15 minutes.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — Ooma offers simple plans for both new and existing businesses to access a robust communication system at a flat monthly rate without committing to a contract. Their starting plan starts at $19.95/user/month. If you’re still exploring the market and plan to test out more than one VoIP service, Ooma is worth considering.
To improve the shopping process, their site conveniently features a rate calculator tool that estimates your taxes and fees based on location. You’ll quickly know whether or not a plan like this can handle your business as it grows, or if you need to consider a plan with more comprehensive features.
All of Vonage’s small business solution plans include the major features you’d expect from a household name. Designed with a wide range of features, Vonage Business Cloud features Mobile, Premium, and Advanced options to best cater to organizations of varying sizes and structures.
Best features for small businesses — Vonage offers more than 50 features across its plans. Its Mobile Plan offers unlimited outgoing and incoming calls, SMS texting, and team messaging. The Mobile Plan also includes the Vonage App Center. This allows users to integrate whichever business applications they need in order to make sure that the platform is tailored to their exact business needs.
Getting started — As we previously reported, Vonage Business offers a great introduction and setup guide to get users started with the service. If you subscribe to the setup guide service, a sales representative will work with your team to get your account set up the way you need. It’s fairly easy to set up your account on your own as well.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — Vonage’s basic option, the Mobile plan, starts at $19.99/user/month and provides users with unlimited calling and SMS messaging on mobile devices, seamless integration for desktop and mobile apps, and a team messaging service. This kind of plan is perfect for supporting remote teams and those that don’t rely on desk phones for day-to-day operations.
For teams that operate in a more traditional office setting and those who tend to rely on cross-platform collaboration, Vonage’s Premium tier is ideal. Under this plan, business phone service users pay $29.99 per month to communicate or collaborate across all device types, including desk phones. Premium users also gain access to Amazon Chime-supported video conferencing, chat, and file sharing for up to 100 people.
Dialpad is a moderately-priced provider for small to mid-sized businesses. Dialpad plans come equipped with most, if not all, VoIP capabilities a small business would be looking for.
Best features for small businesses — Many find it an ideal office phone software system because in addition to features like voicemail transcription, SIP phone support, and video conferencing, Dialpad focuses on integrations and innovation. For example, Dialpad’s basic plan offers G Suite and Office 365 integrations in order to offer users a well-rounded unified communications experience.
Getting started — Dialpad enables users to quickly get started by offering a 14-day free trial for any of its products. Once you’ve signed up, you can quickly add users and add numbers instantly.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — The basic plan starts at $15/user/month, billed annually. Users also have the option to pay $20/user/month and, in turn, receive software with an emphasis on convenience, seamless third-party app integration, and support for both iOS and Android cell phones.
It’s one of the less-expensive service providers for its advanced business phone line offering, including video conferencing and SMS/MMS messaging services. By forgoing a focus on hardware options and installation/training, teams are left with more time to customize default settings. That way, they can quickly enjoy the benefits of contact management, encryption, and IVR/voice recognition.
GoToConnect is a cloud-based virtual phone system that replaces your older equipment with a PBX to improve interactions. GoToConnect’s impressive portfolio contains over 80 enterprise-class hosted PBX features to give clients an edge over the competition.
Best features for small businesses — The VoIP provider’s Basic plan provides the core features needed for unified communications. Users can leverage advanced calling features like find me/follow me, auto attendants, ring groups, and call queues. This is a step-up from basic calling features offered by traditional landline phone networks. Certain plans also offer real-time analytics, which is vital in making data-driven decisions.
Getting started — GoToConnect’s platform can be deployed in a matter of minutes. The VoIP provider offers a user guide within its support section. Their help center provides step-by-step guides for creating your account, setting up apps and your phone, signing into your account, and more. It also provides guides for setting up ten various preferences within your account.
Best pricing plan for small businesses — GoToConnect offers a Basic plan that starts at $22/user/month, billed annually. As the Basic plan only offers video conferencing for up to four participants, this option is a little limiting. The Standard plan offers a wider breadth of features that is available at $26/user/month, billed annually.
Look Beyond the Price
Reliable and affordable phone plans are necessary for any business, regardless of its size. Traditional phone service providers might be household names, but their small business phone plans are typically lackluster compared to business VoIP. They come with hidden fees and a general disconnect when it comes to managing entrepreneurial needs.
With higher plan base prices and extra charges, digital service providers and VoIP companies present excellent alternative solutions. They deliver cutting-edge business phone service with powerful VoIP Phone options that brands need to survive in a landscape dictated by convenience and accessibility. If you’re interested in learning more about what VoIP phone systems have to offer, take a look at our comprehensive deep-dive of VoIP features.
Frequently asked questions
If you want to take advantage of the HD call quality that VoIP can offer, you’ll need 200 Kbps download and upload.
Yes! Number porting allows for that.
You shouldn’t. Your VoIP provider should offer a thorough step-by-step guide on how to get started with your new service.
Absolutely. You can expect your calls and data to be encrypted for an extra level of security.