A business phone system is a VoIP-powered solution that provides unlimited calling, business texting, call recording, and conference calls for flexible internal and external business communications.
Best business phone systems include unlimited extensions, call flow options, and call management features that make it easy for customers to reach multiple departments, agents, or IVR menus.
We research, rank, and determine the best phone systems for small businesses.
We look closely at voice quality, video calling, messaging, voicemail options, pricing, and other important VoIP features.
This post will focus on the business phone systems we like most, detailing their standout features, advantages, and drawbacks.
Best Small Business Phone Systems
Below is the list of best phone systems for small businesses, with our scores based on pricing, available features, and things that set these providers apart.
- Nextiva — Our #1 choice for customer-centric businesses: 9/10
- RingCentral — Our #2 choice for a small business phone system: 8/10
- Zoom One — Best for channel flexibility and pricing: 7.5/10
- GoTo Connect — Great for companies with high international call volumes: 7.2/10
- 8×8 — Best combination for low-priced plans and international communication: 7/10
- Dialpad — Best multichannel communication platform with built-in AI: 6.5/10
- Vonage — Best for those who need a mobile-only VoIP phone system: 6/10
Nextiva is a unified communications solution with a business phone system, team collaboration, live chat, customer service tools, and more in the NextivaONE platform, which you can download on desktop, mobile, and tablets.
Unlike other business phone service providers, Nextiva includes a built-in CRM and help desk, which removes the need to switch between different systems. This provides a unified voice, video, and collaboration system. Nextiva users can access features like thread conversations, messaging/chat, text and fax, meeting rooms, and Nextiva Call Pop, which instantly displays important customer information before, and during calls.
The NextivaONE application provides businesses with file sharing and editing, real-time chat messaging, texting, unlimited voice calling, email management, conferencing, sales management, integrations, and video calling.
How Much Does Nextiva Cost?
Nextiva offers a 30-day free trial and three paid plans that are available on a month-to-month or annual subscription basis. Nextiva’s Business Communication plans range from $18.95 to $31.95 per line per month.
- Essential plan ($18.95 monthly): Ideal for small businesses, it includes a VoIP phone system, team chat with collaboration features, 45-minute video calling with 2 participants, a toll-free and a local number, basic auto attendant, and 1500 toll-free minutes
- Professional plan ($22.95 monthly): Adds conference calls and video conferencing with 40 users, 1000 SMS per user, multi-level auto attendants, video-collaboration features like screen sharing, and CRM integrations
- Enterprise plan ($32.95 monthly): Expands video meeting capacity to 250 participants and text allowance to 2000 texts per user, adds call recording, voicemail transcription, enterprise integrations, and 12,500 toll-free minutes
For more information, check out our review of Nextiva pricing, features, and plans.
What Sets Nextiva Apart
- Nextiva offers the most well-rounded business phone system on this list, with various multichannel and UCaaS functionality. The affordable Essential plan includes 1:1 video calling, SMS, unlimited team messaging, and 3 team collaboration rooms.
- Unlike other business phone systems, Nextiva offers a free local and toll-free number with each account sign-up–plus 1,500 toll-free minutes. Nextiva video meetings include a built-in calendaring system plus integrations with popular calendars like Google and Microsoft Outlook.
- Nextiva’s Collaboration rooms support UCaaS features like file sharing and storage, plus threaded collaboration channels where users can pop in anytime.
Why We Picked It
- 24/7 support is available to all users, not just those with the most expensive plan
- Includes a 99.999% guaranteed uptime with 24/7 network monitoring, eight global points of presence, and HIPAA, HITECH, SOC2, and PCI compliance
- Nextiva’s threaded conversations make it easy to communicate in various channels while keeping it into a single interconnected thread
- Easy to use and user-friendly drag-and-drop call flow builder and agent setup
- A superior desktop app that offers a unified customer experience.
Nextiva Business Phone Systems
Here is a list of the most popular office phone systems and hardware Nextiva offers:
- Desk Phones: Nextiva X (815, 835, 885 models), Cisco IP Phones (8845, 8865, 6851 models), Poly VVX (411, 350, 311 250, 150 models), Yealink IP Phones (T33G, T46U models)
- Cordless Phones: Nextiva X (651R, 650, 651, 658 models), Yealink W56H DECT Handset with base station, Yealink W59R Handset with base station
- Conference Phones: Poly Trio (8800, 8600, 8300 models), Snom C520 and C52-SP, Plantronics Poly Sync 20
- Not enough integrations: While Nextiva offers 100+ system features, its integrations with third-party software are limited compared to others. This can make it challenging for business owners that want to incorporate Nextiva into existing software you may already be using. Be sure to check if integrations are available for your business needs.
- Mobile App Needs work: Nextiva’s mobile app is not feature-rich and tends to be glitchy with notifications. We’ve also experienced login issues.
Our Score for Nextiva: 9/10
- Nextiva’s phone system is our #1 choice for small businesses that are customer-centric. Nextiva has superior customer service and offers many business phone system features at a competitive price, making it easy for users to manage all communication methods.
- Nextiva’s desktop app performs well and is easy to use and understand, with a one-click video launch, chat, SMS, email, and collaboration in one threaded and continuous view
- Nextiva is less suitable for businesses or individuals relying heavily on third-party integrations. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons and consider your specific needs before choosing any communication software.
RingCentral MVP is a cloud Messaging, Video communications, and Phone system designed to simplify and streamline workflows while increasing productivity across communication channels.
With RingCentral phone system admins can use pre-made reporting templates that automatically monitor over 35 KPIs relating to call quality, hold times, resolution rates, agent performance, team meetings, quality of service, and more. Real-time alerts instantly notify managers when performance standards fall below pre-set thresholds.
Small businesses relying on self-service to manage most customer support requests will appreciate that RingCentral allows up to 250 customizable IVR menus and submenus. This allows businesses to cater to each caller’s individual needs.
How Much Does RingCentral Cost?
RingCentral MVP offers a free 14-day trial and 3 plans, with costs starting at $20/mo per user and up to $35/mo for their Ultra plan.
- Core plan ($20 monthly): Great for small businesses, this plan includes VoIP, video conferencing with 100 participants, team chat and collaboration features, 25 SMS texts per user, on-demand call recording, multi-level IVR, basic call queues, 100 toll-free minutes, and limited file storage
- Advanced plan ($25 monthly): Adds adoption analytics and business analytics essentials, advanced queues and routing rules, automatic call recording, call monitoring with whisper and barge, 100 texts per user, and 1000 toll-free minutes
- Ultra plan ($35 monthly): Adds unlimited enterprise-grade video quality and collaboration features, enhanced business analytics, customizable business insights, unlimited file sharing, 200 SMS texts per user, and 10,000 monthly toll-free minutes
Further details are available on our RingCentral Pricing overview.
What Sets RingCentral Apart
- RingCentral is celebrated for its advanced–and highly customizable–real-time call analytics
- Admins can edit phone call flow paths at any time with RingCentral’s drag-and-drop Visual Dial Plan Editor, take advantage of numerous call routing strategies, and rely on NLP and AI to automatically evaluate and respond to customer requests
- All RingCentral plans include video conferencing, supporting at least 100 participants, and lasting up to 24 hours. While some competitors restrict video collaboration tools to higher-tier plans, RingCentral offers whiteboards, notes, AI insights, and live transcription on all their plans. Further, all RingCentral plans include unlimited team-messaging rooms with file sharing and task management, a collaboration tool few competitors offer.
Why We Picked It
- RingCentral offers over 330 integrations to third-party apps–a number few competitors can beat
- RingCentral offers 24/7 live chat and phone support, upgraded paid support options like dedicated account managers, priority support, and personalized implementation and team training via RingCentral Professional Services
- RingCentral University’s free online training program provides a high level of customer self-support that is vastly superior to competitor knowledge bases
- RingCentral offers robust security and consistently high call quality, 99.999% guaranteed uptime, seven layers of network security, end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, and fraud mitigation tools
- The RingCentral App for desktops is intuitive and easy to use, especially compared to other business VoIP providers
RingCentral Business Phone Systems
Popular phone systems and hardware RingCentral offers include:
- Plug-and-Play Desk Phones: Poly CCX (700, 600, 500 models,) Unify CP (400, 600, 700, 700X models), Cisco (8861, 8851, 7841 models), Yealink (T57W, T48U, T54W, T46U models), Avaya (J139, J159 models)
- Cordless: Poly Rove 40 and 30 DECT, Yealink W76P, W79P
- Receptionist IP Phones: Yealink (T54W, T46U, T53W, T57W, T48U models), Cisco 8851, Unify (CP700X, CP700, CP600 models)
- Conference Phones: Poly Trio (C60, 8800, 8300 models) Yealink (CP925,CP930, CP965 models)
- Pricing: RingCentral is more expensive than other business phone systems, which is especially an issue for smaller businesses with tighter budgets
- Poor customer service: We’ve experienced excessive hold times with RingCentral’s customer support, reaching over 10 minutes on hold. Contacting the right department typically required a transfer to another rep and more hold times.
- Time-consuming learning curve: We find RingCentral’s interface and setup process more challenging to learn than other business communication platforms
Our Score for RingCentral: 8/10
- RingCentral is our #2 choice for a small business phone system
- RingCentral has a powerful mobile app that seamlessly combines all the communication channels most small businesses need
- RingCentral pushes hundreds of new system features and advancements per year. Most recently, they introduced swipe to call feature right from the softphone.
- Highly customizable analytics provide businesses with actionable data to improve workflow and identify key issues as early as possible
3. Zoom One
Zoom One is an all-in-one communication and collaboration tool combining Zoom Phone, video meetings, team chat messaging, whiteboard, email, and collaboration tools in one system. Though a Free Plan is available, it doesn’t offer voice calling features and focuses primarily on video calling.
Zoom One offers unlimited whiteboards, unlimited calling, 10 GB of cloud storage, and meeting capacities of up to 1,000 participants.
Even though Zoom Phone itself is a bit more basic than most options in this piece, it can integrate with virtually any CRM, project management, marketing, or workforce management tool, making it one of the most customizable business phone systems on the market today.
How Much Does Zoom Cost?
Zoom One Pro is available month-to-month starting at $15.99 per user or annually at $149.90 per user per license, representing up to 21% in savings.
- Basic (Free): The free basic plan includes 40-minute video meetings with 100 attendees, 3 whiteboards, team chat, and some collaboration features like breakout rooms and automated captions
- Pro ($15.99 monthly): Expands meeting time limit to 30 hours, supports 9 licenses, includes 5 GB of meeting recording per license, adds polling and co-hosting capabilities
- Business ($19.99 monthly): Expands meeting capacity to 300 participants, provides unlimited whiteboards, supports 99 licenses, adds admin portal recording transcripts, meeting branding, and live language interpretation
- Business Plus ($25 monthly): Adds Zoom Phone features like VoIP, toll-free numbers, voicemail transcription, IVR, queueing, and call monitoring
- Enterprise (custom pricing): Includes unlimited cloud storage, 500 to 1000-participant meeting capacity, webinar capabilities, and supports over 250 licenses
Check out our complete review of Zoom One pricing plans, which provides more pricing information.
What Sets Zoom Apart
- Zoom is unique in its channel flexibility and pricing, since it offers Zoom Phone and Zoom One as separate products
- Zoom Phone offers a business phone system with just VoIP and SMS, costing just $10 monthly, including a US or Canada-based number, which is ideal for small businesses
- All Zoom Phone plans include auto attendants, call queueing, recording, and call center monitoring–features that some competitors reserve for advanced plans
- Zoom One complements Zoom Phone well, as Zoom One offers a free version with team chat, whiteboards, document co-editing and video meetings hosting up to 100 attendees for 40 minutes
Why We Picked It
- Zoom Customer Support is excellent. They offer all users 24/7 chat with a live agent. Though 24/7 phone support is available only for top-level plans, Zoom’s extensive online knowledge base and thriving user community allow ample self-service.
- Large number of third-party integrations and APIs, plus frequent additions due to Zoom’s overall popularity
- Advanced video calling features streamline remote team collaboration within a familiar, intuitive interface
- Zoom Phone and Zoom One are great for companies that want an advanced business phone system with some multichannel collaboration features–at a budget price
Zoom Business Phone Systems
Some of the top hardware for Zoom includes:
- Desk Phones: Poly VVX (250, 450, 350 models), Yealink SIP (T46U, T54W, T58W models), AudioCodes 405, 445, 450 HD models)
- Conference Phones: Poly C60, Yealink CP965, Konftel 800
- Conference Room Equipment: Yealink RoomCase Digital Signage, Heckler Zoom Rooms Console, Logitech Tap Meeting Scheduler, Neat Board all-in-one touch system
- Limited customization options: Zoom Phone’s interface is fixed, with limited options for customization. This can make it challenging for businesses with unique requirements to customize the plans to their needs.
- Mobile app issues: We experienced a hard time connecting our Zoom phone calls to Airpods. The app had difficulty recognizing/transferring the audio to the already connected headset.
- Zoom Phone requires a Zoom Video account: Zoom phone isn’t available as a standalone product, and you must have a Video account to add the Phone system
- Time-consuming signup and setup process: In our attempt to set up a brand Zoom Phone account, receiving a quote via email took about two days, while with other competitors, we got a quote and phone number on our initial setup call in under an hour
Our Score for Zoom: 7.5/10
- Most Zoom users typically switch to the unified communications plan from Zoom Meetings because they need more advanced business phone system capabilities. Therefore, the team collaboration features Zoom offers are generally the biggest draw.
- Zoom does offer its business phone system as low as $10/mo. However, it is a metered plan and does not offer unlimited calling.
- Zoom is a no-brainer if you already use and love Zoom for video conferencing
- Zoom offers many AI features and third party-integrations
4. GoTo Connect
GoTo Connect is a small business phone system with a cloud-based voice, video, and chat messaging app designed especially for IT teams requiring do-it-yourself scalable solutions.
GoTo Connect is best known for its Dial Plan Editor, popular for its overall ease of use and the advanced call routing and call flow strategies that can be set up in minutes.
System administrators can create “utility nodes” according to agent schedules, preferred language, caller ID, call groups, etc. These nodes automatically shift according to call volume and agent availability, reducing missed calls and callbacks.
GoTo Connect’s phone system also includes call filtering tools that let users whitelist high-priority numbers so VIP clients avoid waiting on hold. These filters also automatically forward VIP calls to specific preset dial plans or extensions and reject blacklisted numbers.
How Much Does GoTo Connect Cost?
GoTo Connect offers two plans: the Basic plan costs $22 monthly per user, and the Standard plan costs $26 per user.
- Basic plan ($24 monthly): Supports up to 20 users with VoIP calling, unlimited calls in the US and Canada, 40 monthly SMS credits per seat, video conferencing for 40 minutes with up to 4 participants, smart call routing, and 1 of each phone feature: auto attendant, dial plan, ring group, call queue
- Standard plan ($29 monthly): Expands the unlimited calling area to 50+ countries and meeting capacity to 150 participants with no time limit, adds unlimited access to all phone features like call queues and ring groups
GoTo Connect cost breakdown provides additional information.
What Sets GoTo Connect Apart
- GoTo Connect’s phone system is great for businesses with high international call volumes because the Standard plan supports unlimited calling to over 50 countries–a larger unlimited calling area than any competitor
- It offers local, toll-free, and vanity numbers around the world
- While the Basic plan only includes one call queue, auto attendant, and ring group, the Standard plan includes unlimited access to these features–making GoTo Connect’s Standard plan the best option for call centers with a global presence
Why We Picked It
- GoTo Meeting video conferencing is included with every plan
- Compatible with 180+ desk phones lets small businesses keep existing equipment
- Offers native IT help desk ticketing solutions that seamlessly tie into the Voice and Video system
GoTo Connect Business Phone Systems
GoTo Connect works with the following plug-and-play phones:
- Desk Phones: Cisco (8841, 8851, 8861 models) Yealink (W60P, T57W, T54W, T48S, T46S, T42S, T40G, CP960 models) Poly VVX (601,501, 450, 350, 250 models)
- Conference Phones: Yealink CP920 and CP960
- Cordless Phones: Yealink W60P
GoTo Connect Drawbacks
- Expensive plans: GoTo Connect’s Basic plan costs $24 monthly per user–almost twice the cost of some alternatives’ cheapest plan
- Limited Basic plan: GoTo’s Basic plan limits several key features–video meetings have a 4-participant capacity and 40-minute time limit, and the phone system only supports 1 auto attendant, ring group, and call queue. This forces larger teams to purchase the Standard plan, which is a pricy $29 monthly.
- No live AI capabilities: While GoTo Connect offers robust real-time analytics, it lacks some advanced AI-support tools competitors offer–like live transcription and speech support
SMS credit: Each plan offers a preset number of SMS credit per user, capping how many texts a user can send without having to pay extra
Our Score for GoTo Connect: 7.2/10
- GoTo Connect’s Standard plan offers an unlimited calling area with over 50 countries–a number that outperforms all competitors–making it a clear choice for companies with high international call volumes
- The Basic plan is only suitable for small teams, since it caps video meetings at 40 minutes and 4 participants. This plan one offers 1 concurrent usage of key phone features, like an auto attendant and call queue.
- The credit-based SMS structure makes GoTo Connect a poor fit for teams that send a lot of texts, since some alternatives offer unlimited texting
8×8 is a complete business phone system offering unlimited local and global calling in 48 countries and SMS, MMS, team chat, Contact Center, and video meetings.
One of 8×8’s top features is its post-call survey tool, which includes IVR-powered questions that allow you to collect quick–but still valuable–feedback regarding agent performance.
These surveys can pose simple yes/no questions, ask for ratings on a scale of 1-10, and allow willing customers to leave more detailed voice recordings of feedback. Teams needing more conversation-based feedback can automatically transfer customers to dedicated post-call survey voice channels or call queues.
8×8 also includes a variety of programmable ring patterns, including round robin, sequential, simultaneous ring, and more. Ring group members can be re-ordered via a drag-and-drop menu, and admins can set the time before a call is forwarded to the next member.
How Much Does 8×8 Cost?
8×8 plans start at $28/user/mo on their X2 plan. This plan gives access to unlimited voice calling to 14 countries, HD audio and video conferencing, integrations, and more. 8×8 also offers a free 30-day trial, so you can test their phone system before committing to long-term contracts.
- X2 plan ($24 monthly): Includes unlimited VoIP calling to 14 countries, team messaging and file sharing, call queues, multi-level auto attendant, video conferencing with 500 participants, live speech analytics, interactive meeting features like polls and hand raising, youtube live streaming
- X4 plan ($44 monthly): Expands unlimited calling to 48 countries, adds advanced analytics and call monitoring with barge and takeover
For more information, check out our complete breakdown of 8×8 pricing and plans.
What Sets 8×8 Apart
- 8×8 offers a compromise between low-priced plans and international communication. The X2 plan includes a 14-country unlimited calling area, plus unlimited queues, multi-level auto attendants, live AI speech support, and call analytics.
- While competitors like GoTo Connect offer a wider unlimited international calling area, 8×8 supports collaboration with up to 500 video-meeting participants, whereas GoTo only supports four participants on their Basic plan
- 8×8 makes a good option for small and large businesses, seeking collaboration tools on a budget, that make international calls within 8×8’s unlimited area
Why We Picked It
- Advanced, AI-powered analytics, including Active Call monitoring, Company Summary, and Call Detail Records
- Wide variety of Global calling options
- 8×8 offers a 99.999% guaranteed uptime and has GDPR, HIPAA, CPNI, FISMA compliance, and TLS and SRTP encryption. The provider also has 35 global points of presence to keep the network running smoothly.
- Extension-level call recording, on-demand or automatic call recordings and transcriptions
8×8 Business Phone Systems
The phone systems and accessories 8×8 offers include:
- Desk Phones: Polhy CCX (400, 500, 600, 700 models), Poly Edge (B10, B20, B30, E100, E220, E300, E20, E350, E500, E550 models), Poly VVX (250, 150, 350, 450 models)
- Conference Phones: Poly IP 6000, Poly IP 5000, Poly Trio 8300, Poly RealPresence Trio 8800
- Cordless Phones: Poly Rove (30, 40, B2, R8 models), Yealink DECT IP Phone W76P, W79P models)
- International calling limitations: While 8×8 does offer wide international calling areas on both plans–14 and 48 countries, respectively–some of these countries exclude mobile numbers, a major downside. Companies should verify that their 8×8 plan supports mobile in the countries they call frequently.
- Pricy plans: 8×8’s cheapest plan is $24 monthly per user–double the cost of some alternative providers
- Setup hassle: Many users have reported that the 8×8 app’s setup process feels unintuitive and lacks the ability to personalize the user dashboard
Our Score for 8×8: 7/10
- While 8×8’s lowest-tier X2 plan costs more than alternatives, it works great for larger teams because it has no user limit. X2 includes unlimited call queues and auto attendants.
- 8×8 offers strong UCaaS collaboration with file-sharing in team chat, plus video meetings that include unique capabilities like instant polls and breakout rooms
- Companies that host webinars, workshops, and demonstrations should favor 8×8 since it supports live streaming to YouTube for larger audiences
Dialpad’s business phone system provides excellent value to businesses with high call volumes, specifically on mobile devices. It includes voice and video calling, team chat, virtual faxing, and SMS texting.
One of Dialpad’s top features is its AI-powered in-call voice assistance, Vi (short for “Voice Intelligence.”)
Vi offers real-time agent coaching, picking up potential action items and caller sentiment according to trigger keywords and phrases. When Vi “recognizes” something a customer says, it pulls up relevant information from the internal knowledge base, displaying vital information on the agent’s screen. This prevents agents from putting callers on hold, and increases first call resolution rates.
Users can also create Dialpad Departments, essentially more advanced ring groups. Departments are groups of agents that receive specific customer calls based on preset criteria. Each Department can contain up to 30 phone numbers.
How Much Does Dialpad Cost?
Dialpad offers a free 14-day trial. Annual subscriptions for the unified communications platform range from $15 to $25 per monthly user.
- Standard plan ($15 monthly): VoIP phone system with unlimited calling in the US and Canada, SMS, team chat with file sharing, video meetings with 10 participants and collaborative features like chat and virtual backgrounds, team chat with file sharing, AI-powered call and voicemail transcriptions, real-time analytics
- Pro plan ($25 monthly): Adds local number availability in 70+ countries, 25 ring groups, CRM integrations, and supports multiple phone numbers per account
Our Dialpad cost breakdown offers further details.
What Sets Dialpad Apart
- Dialpad offers an affordable multichannel communication platform for small businesses seeking AI support and collaboration tools
- Although video meetings are capped at 10 participants, they last 5 hours with a host of advanced features: chat, waiting rooms, whiteboards, and virtual backgrounds. All Dialpad plans include call recording, live speech coaching, real-time transcription, and automated summaries.
Why We Picked It
- Dialpad offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee to all customers except those on the Enterprise plan, who have a 100% guaranteed uptime
- With built-in network redundancy, number failovers, and automated data backups, Dialpad offers high reliability
- Automated post-call notes and speech coaching help agents understand where to improve
- Each plan includes call recording, call transcriptions, and custom routing options usually reserved for top-tier plans
Dialpad Business Phone Systems
Here are some of the VoIP phones and headsets that Dialpad works well with:
- Desk Phones: Polycom (VVX 250, 350, 450 models), Yealink SIP (T3G, T43U, T46U, T48U, T54W, T57W models)
- Small video capacity: Dialpad meetings are full of dynamic features like chat, recording, and waiting rooms–but each plan only supports 10 participants per meeting. This limits productivity for large teams.
- Limited integrations: Dialpad only supports integrations with 11 external applications. While these include popular software–like Microsoft Teams, HubSpot, and Salesforce–most UCaaS competitors offer many more options. Further, Dialpad’s lowest-tier Standard plan only features one integration–Google Workspace.
- No international numbers on Standard plan: Users on Dialpad’s Standard plan can only purchase DID numbers in the US and Canada. To purchase international numbers, users must subscribe to the Pro or Enterprise plan.
Our Score for Dialpad: 6.5/10
- Dialpad’s Standard plan offers great UCaaS value at $15 since it includes all core communication channels–voice, SMS, chat, video–with advanced features like file sharing, live call transcriptions, and AI support. Many competitors reserved these features for much higher price points.
- While Dialpad’s phone system provides great value for small businesses, larger teams may want another option because Dialpad meetings support only 10 participants, and the Standard-plan phone system only supports 3 separate ring groups
- Teams seeking international business numbers will have to purchase the Pro plan
Vonage offers two small business phone systems options: the unified Vonage Business Communication (VBC) suite or the basic mobile and desktop-only app that allows users to connect on the go.
Vonage’s Call Announce feature automatically plays customers’ responses to IVR prompts to agents before they connect to the customer. It prevents repetition and ensures the agent has the information to assist the caller.
Call tags, summaries of the customer’s issue, contact information, and more are played, allowing the agent to transfer the call to an agent with a more appropriate skill set. If an agent chooses not to accept the call, they can send calls to voicemail or reject it outright.
Vonage’s Conversation Analyzer is an AI-powered tool that uses NLP and Speech Analytics to transcribe conversations automatically, offering insight into support quality, call resolution speed, and customer satisfaction. Vonage users can search transcriptions by keywords and connect them to their third-party CRM for additional data analysis.
How Much Does Vonage Business Cost?
As of this writing, Vonage does not offer a free trial. Vonage Business Communication pricing for 1-30 users ranges from $14.99 to $34.99 per user per month.
- Mobile plan ($14.99 monthly): VoIP with unlimited calling in the US, Mexico, and Canada, SMS, team chat, call queues, basic auto attendant
- Premium plan ($24.99 monthly): Adds unlimited video meetings for up to 100 users with collaboration features like whiteboards and screen sharing, multi-level auto attendant, CRM integrations
- Advanced plan ($34.99 monthly): Adds 15 hours of call recording, ring groups, and video voicemail with transcription
Our extensive review of Vonage Pricing offers more details.
What Sets Vonage Apart
- Vonage’s Mobile plan offers a well-rounded VoIP phone system for businesses that don’t want video–just voice, SMS, and internal team chat in an easy-to-use desktop and mobile app. For those who do want video, Vonage’s Premium and Advanced plans support up to 100 meeting participants.
- Vonage offers a few unique add-ons, most notably their Business Inbox feature that combines all of an agent’s messaging channels into one cohesive list. Agents can respond to customers across digital channels with a few clicks, keeping it all organized in one place.
Why We Picked It
- Vonage is HIPAA, PCI, and GDPR compliant and uses AES 256-bit encryption. It has a 99.999% guaranteed uptime.
- On-demand, company-wide, and automatic call recording rules store up to 15 hours of audio/video per extension and allows admins to email recordings or play them directly in the Admin Portal
- High scalability thanks to add-ons like Visual Voicemail, Call Queuing, Call Recording, Call Monitoring, Call Groups, and more
- Offers a mobile-only plan starting at $10/mo
Vonage Business Phone Systems
Phone systems and hardware Vonage offers include:
- Desk Phones: Yealink, (W60P,T57W, T54W, SIP-T53W, SIP-T48U, SIP-T46U, SIP-T43U, SIP-T42U
- Cordless Phones: Panasonic (TGP600, TPA 60 and 600 models), Yealink (W60 and W56H models), Poly (EM50, VVX 450, VVX 350, VVX 250, CCX 600, CCX 500 models)
- Conference Phones: Poly Trio (8500, 8300, RealPresence Trio 8800 models), Yealink CP930W
- Lacks advanced features: Vonage Unified Communications only includes basic business phone system features, like auto attendants and call queues. It lacks tools like file sharing, AI support, call monitoring, and analytics.
- Call recording as an add-on: While many alternatives include automatic call recording as a built-in feature, Vonage offers recording as an add-on at $4.99 monthly per user
- Key features are overpriced: Video meetings and multi-level auto attendants are only included with the Premium plan, costing $29.99 monthly per user. Many competitors include these features in their basic plan for half Vonage’s price.
Our Score for Vonage Business: 6/10
- Vonage Unified Communications does include basic UCaaS features, but many of them require the Premium plan which is overpriced compared with other platforms
- Vonage video meetings offer engaging features like whiteboards and chat, but they are limited to 100 users and lack advanced collaboration tools that competitors offer–like polls and breakout rooms
- The business phone system includes call queueing on all plans, which is a useful feature some competitors don’t have
Business Phone System Essential Features
Though there are over 100 VoIP phone system features, we’ve highlighted the most important features for small businesses below:
- Call Routing
- Call Forwarding
- Omnichannel Communication
- Visual Voicemail
- Automated Callbacks
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- Call Recording and Call Monitoring
- Call Reporting and Analytics
Call Routing is a business phone system feature that automatically distributes calls to specific agents, ring groups, departments, or voicemail boxes according to preset rules and/or responses to IVR prompts–without putting the customer on hold or forcing them to hang up call another number.
Popular call routing strategies include list-based routing, skills-based routing, VIP/relationship-based routing, time-based routing, most idle routing, and round-robin routing.
Call Forwarding automatically sends (forwards) unanswered calls to additional business telephone numbers instead of sending them to voicemail, ending the calls, or making customers call additional phone numbers themselves.
For example, if you miss a call at your desk phone, call forwarding will instantly forward the call to your mobile phone. If you don’t answer on your cell, the call is forwarded to your home phone, your voicemail box, another agent, or the main menu. Call forwarding settings can be customized and edited at any time, and admins can set the number of rings before the call is forwarded to the next number on the list.
Omnichannel customer service and communication combine all your business communication channels (video, calling, SMS, etc.) into one unified, automatically-synced interface.
Customers and employees can easily switch between channels during a single conversation or support interaction without missing a beat. For example, a customer could start a customer support interaction with a phone call and end that interaction on a video conference with screen sharing for better assistance.
Omnichannel communication not only cuts down on app switching, it also lets customers choose their preferred way to connect with your company. Plus, it makes it easy for multiple reps to work on the same support ticket without the customer needing to repeat themselves each time they speak to a different agent.
Visual Voicemail automatically transcribes voicemail messages, then sends these transcriptions to agents as emails, text messages, or displays the text directly in the softphone interface.
This way, agents don’t lose time listening to longer messages, can better prioritize callbacks, or send reply texts to callers they’ve missed with relevant information.
Automated Callbacks (also called Customer Callbacks) let customers select their preferred date and time to receive a callback from a business, allowing them to avoid waiting on hold for extended periods or having to call back multiple times until they reach an agent.
Once the customer schedules their callback, the call is automatically placed in a relevant agent’s call queue, speeding up the resolution process and keeping customer satisfaction rates high by reducing hold times.
Third-party integrations allow businesses to connect existing software and other applications they’re currently using to their business phone system, eliminating the need to switch between windows to access multiple tools.
Integrations make it easy for teams to access additional features that the VoIP provider may not offer, while APIs let IT teams customize their own features and apps to integrate with their phone system.
Common third-party integrations include marketing tools like MailChimp, chat apps like Slack, project management apps like Asana, CRM software like Salesforce, and industry-specific apps like Canva, Curve Dental, or Shopify.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
IVR is an interactive call menu that automatically plays when a customer dials your business phone number, providing prompts and information that allows for a higher level of customer self-service.
Callers can enter their responses to IVR system prompts via dial pad touch-tone or speak their responses into the phone directly. NLP (Natural Language Processing) and editable call flow paths analyze the customer’s response, sending calls to relevant agents and departments or playing helpful pre-recorded information.
Call Recording and Call Monitoring
Call recording records all business calls automatically or on-demand, saving these recordings in a searchable database that lets managers conduct quality assessments, review call histories, and protect themselves in the event of a false accusation by a client. Many recording tools allow agents and admins to pause and restart recordings during conversations, protecting clients’ most sensitive information.
Most call recordings are also transcribed, allowing faster call reviews and letting managers search for specific words/phrases or review detailed voice analytics.
Call monitoring lets managers listen to agent conversations with clients in real-time, while call whisper lets managers advise agents during live conversations (without the caller hearing.) Call barge (call takeover) lets managers immediately take control of any customer-client call that needs a higher-up’s intervention.
Call Reporting and Analytics
Small business phone systems offer customizable and pre-made reporting templates that offer insight into customer and agent behavior, call center and contact center activity, and even AI-powered analysis.
These reports can be generated automatically or manually and shared and exported to other team members.
Common metrics to track include:
- Daily/weekly/monthly call volume (total number of business calls, calls per department, calls per agent, calls within a specific date range, etc.)
- Outbound Calls: Incoming Calls ratio
- Percentage of missed calls transferred calls, and calls that went to voicemail.
- Call Abandonment Rate
- Cost per Call
- Average call length
- Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSAT)
- First Call Resolution Rate (FCR)
Types of Business Phone Systems
Here, we’ll explain the available types of business phone systems, focusing especially on the differences between premise-based and cloud-based solutions.
Premise-Based Phone Systems
An On-Premise (Premises-Based) business phone system means all necessary telephony equipment and hardware (servers, handsets, wiring, etc.) are physically located on the business or office premises.
It also means the end user (AKA, your company) is responsible for managing business phone system installation, upgrades, maintenance, and security–not the phone system provider themselves.
Traditional Phone and Landline Phone Systems
Though standard landline telephones operating via the PSTN are still available as premises-based office phone system solutions, most companies have made the switch to on-premise PBX systems.
Because not only do old-school landlines and cordless phones lack the features of cloud-based VoIP phone systems, but they’re also incredibly expensive to operate and don’t cater to the business needs of most companies. Above all, standard phone systems are on their way to becoming entirely obsolete–with most experts estimating they’ll be mostly gone by 2025.
Traditional PBX Systems
Like landlines, Traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange) also uses the PSTN to manage inbound and outbound business phone calls.
However, an on-premise PBX essentially provides your business with its own private telephone data network, meaning you’ll cut down on the costs of additional phone lines.
Although this offers your company greater control, note that a standard PBX phone system is fixed to a single location (within your office building, where the hardware is located.
It’s also accessible only to connected devices, like IP phones–so agents can only use their business telephones when they’re physically at the office. Finally, the sheer expense of an on-premise PBX system, which can easily run up to $20,000 to install, means it’s just not an option for small businesses.
Cloud-Based Phone Systems
A cloud-based phone system uses Internet-powered VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to offer provider-managed business telephone communications hosted offsite, within the virtual cloud.
Cloud business phone systems are much more affordable than on-premise systems. They can work with existing equipment, don’t require in-house IT teams since the provider manages maintenance and upgrades, and offer scalable month-to-month bundled payment plans. Most companies switching from landlines to virtual phone systems save at least 50% on business communications costs.
Because VoIP isn’t connected to the wired PSTN, your business phone system is accessible anywhere and on any device with an Internet connection. This means agents can take calls on their desktop computers via a softphone interface, on mobile phones via iOS or Android mobile apps, or on tablets.
VoIP phone systems offer flexibility, scalability, and the incalculable benefit of numerous advanced VoIP service features–all for a fraction of the cost of premises-based systems.
Cloud PBX Systems
Cloud PBX (Hosted PBX or Virtual PBX) phone systems also provide businesses with their private phone system. However, unlike on-premise PBX, cloud PBX is hosted in an offsite data center and managed by the third-party PBX provider, not the end user.
This means businesses avoid the expenses of purchasing hardware, in-house IT teams, and maintenance. Hosted PBX makes it much easier to scale phone lines up or down, as it doesn’t require the installation of physical wiring and cabling.
Best of all, Cloud PBX systems give users access to VoIP business phone systems’ mobility and advanced features. Our overview of Virtual PBX phone systems provides additional details.
SIP Trunking is a gateway that establishes a connection between your existing premise-based PBX system and VoIP virtual telephony, allowing you to simultaneously keep your on-site PBX equipment and get the benefits of VoIP.
The below diagram offers a visual explanation of the differences between hosted PBX and SIP Trunking:
SIP Trunk users are still responsible for purchasing and maintaining their own PBX equipment. However, SIP Trunking creates a virtual connection to the PSTN that makes adding virtually unlimited phone lines and communication channels much easier–while combining all telephony solutions in one structure.
How to Choose a Business Phone System
Here are the steps to choose the best business phone system for your company:
- Determine business needs
- Identify the features and channels you want
- Set a budget
- Compare features and pricing
- Utilize free trials and tutorials
Step 1: Determine Business Needs
Before comparing business phone systems, reflect on your current phone system’s shortcomings and create a list of business needs – features and qualities that you desire in your ideal phone system.
When outlining business needs, consider the following:
- Current phone system shortcomings: Discuss your current phone system with agents, noting its friction points and inefficiencies. Learn if agents have to open multiple apps to do their daily tasks, or if any workflows consume a frustrating amount of time.
- Current phone system usage: Analyze your current call volume, including the times of day and weekdays that you receive or make the most calls. Note your frequent calling destinations–and if they’re inside or outside the US.
- Business size: Note how many agents you have, where they’re located, and your team’s remote, in-person, or hybrid status. Consider where your agents work–home, coffee shop, office–and if they need a phone system with a strong mobile app, or call flipping for on-the-go handling.
- Expenses: Record what your current phone system costs you per month, in total, for all users. Generate an average per-user cost.
Step 2: Identify the Features and Channels you Want
After identifying your phone system’s friction points and areas of need, specify the features and channels most important to you in your next business phone system.
Consider the following features and channels:
- Communication channels: While VoIP and SMS texting might be all you need, your agents may also benefit from collaboration-focused channels like team messaging and video conferencing. Usually, these features come built-into a VoIP phone system.
- Routing features: If you have a complex phone system with multiple departments and specialties–prioritize IVR, call queueing, ring groups, and ACD with skills-based routing
- Analytics and monitoring: If your team has a lot of agents, or if your supervisor feels overwhelmed, choose a business phone system that offers advanced real-time analytics and call center monitoring–with listen, whisper, and barge
- Collaboration tools: To facilitate team communication, choose a provider that offers file sharing and interactive video features like whiteboards, breakout rooms, and polls
- Phone number availability: Some VoIP providers offer virtual phone numbers based inside the US, while other providers offer business phone numbers from around the globe.
- Unlimited calling area: Most VoIP phone systems support unlimited calling within the US and Canada. However, some providers and plans include expanded unlimited areas with dozens of countries–while some offer this as an add-on. If you frequently make international calls, opt for a provider with a larger unlimited calling area.
Step 3: Set a Budget
A VoIP phone system typically costs anywhere from $15 to $35 monthly per user. Reflect on what your current phone system costs per month, and use this as a guide to determine your monthly budget for your business phone system.
Keep in mind that VoIP phone systems include dozens of additional features that may potentially replace some of the apps you currently pay for.
Step 4: Compare Features and Pricing
Once you have outlined your budget and desired features, compare each VoIP provider’s offerings. Since most providers offer two or three subscription tiers, note the significant features that each tier adds.
Aim to find a plan that not only fits your budget but provides optimal value–including your must-have channels and features, while offering minimal excess bells and whistles that you likely won’t use.
Step 5: Utilize Free Trials and Tutorials
Utilize free trials from your top phone system choices, asking agents afterward about their experience with each platform. YouTube demos and tutorials provide a valuable VoIP resource, showcasing each VoIP software’s interface, collaboration tools, analytics, and routing setup.
Use free trials and tutorials to research the following:
- Interface: The app’s interface should be spacious and intuitive for your agents and administrators to use. They should be able to access all the tools they need with just a few clicks, especially when live on call.
- Menu: Ensure that the app’s left-hand menu makes sense to users, with menu tabs for key items like Calls, Contacts, Messaging, and Settings. Notification pings should be easy to spot, for new tasks and messages.
- On-call dashboard: Get a feel for the agent’s experience live on-call. Practice transferring calls, viewing the queue, and using call monitoring.
By following these steps, you ensure that you thoroughly evaluate and compare VoIP phone systems to choose the best fit for your company.
Below, we’ve answered some of the top FAQs related to small business phone systems.
Top business phone system benefits include:
- Cost savings of between 50-70% compared to landline phone systems
- Additional communication channels
- Advanced VoIP features like visual voicemail, IVR, and automated callbacks
- More detailed real-time and historical analytics
- Improved internal collaboration
- Higher first call resolution rates