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Cloud phone systems offer numerous advantages over landline telephones and on-premise PBX systems, including advanced call-handling features, cost efficiency, and flexible plans.

In this post, we take a closer look and research the best cloud phone systems on the market today. We have condensed our findings on pricing and plans, features and customer service, network reliability, and more to help you find the perfect solution.

 

Overview of Top Cloud Phone Service Providers

The quick comparison table below features our top picks with crucial highlights. Those needing more detail on each provider should read on.

Provider Pricing Available Channels Best For
Dialpad 3 paid plans from $15.00-$25.00+/user per month – Voice Calling

– Online Faxing

– SMS and MMS Texting

– Video Calling via free or paid Dialpad Meetings integration

– Team Chat Messaging

Dialpad is best for Small teams or startups with a call volume that outpaces their current number of agents and prefers to optimize call volumes and customer services using AI.
Nextiva 4 paid plans from $14.95-$57.95/user per month – Voice Calling

– Video Meetings

– SMS Texting

– Team Chat Messaging

Nextiva is best for small to Midsize teams of remote, in-house, or blended agents that need an all-in-one customer service-centric unified communications system with VoIP calling and CRM capabilities.
RingCentral MVP 4 paid plans from $19.99-$49.99/user per month – Voice Calling

– SMS Texting

– Team Chat Messaging

– Video Calling

RingCentral is best for any size company that needs access to the advanced Video and Chat features and security measures of an enterprise-grade encrypted phone system.
GoTo Connect 3 paid plans from $22.00-$39.00/user per month – Voice Calling

– Team Chat Messaging

– Video Calling

– SMS Texting

– Virtual Faxing

GoToConnect is best for Value-focused smaller teams with a high daily call volume that require ease of use and customizable phone system solutions.
Zoom Phone 3 paid plans, 1 pay-as-you-go plan for $120/user per year and 2 bundled plans from $180-$240.00/user per year – Video Meetings (Zoom Meetings license required to use Zoom Phone)

– VoIP Voice Calling

– SMS Texting

– Team Chat Messaging

Zoom is best for remote teams currently using Zoom Video, needing VoIP calling, chat, and collaboration within the Zoom interface.
Intermedia 2 paid plans, Unite Pro for $27.99/user/month and Unite Enterprise for $32.99/user/month – Voice Calling
– Video Conferencing
– Team Chat Messaging
– Business SMS
– Virtual Faxing (add-on)
– Email (add-on)
Intermedia is best for small businesses with basic customer support needs or teams currently using Microsoft Teams that need VoIP calling integration.
Ooma Office 3 paid plans from $19.95/user/month to $29.95/user/month – Voice Calling
– SMS Texting
– Virtual Faxing
– Video Calling
Ooma Office is best for in-house small businesses looking for a cost-effective Voice and Video solution without needing advanced call-handling features.

 

Best Cloud Phone Systems for 2023

The section below covers our findings for the most popular and reliable cloud-based phone systems.

  1. Dialpad
  2. Nextiva
  3. RingCentral
  4. Goto Connect
  5. Zoom Phone
  6. Intermedia
  7. Ooma

 

Dialpad

Dialpad Business Communications is a cloud phone system offering voice calling, online faxing, video calling, team chat, and business texting for desktop and mobile users in a unified interface.

Dialpad Talk

Its main selling points are its advanced built-in AI, clean and easy-to-use interface, (seen above) and overall affordability. Toll-free numbers, local phone numbers, and number porting are available.

 

Pricing and Plans

Dialpad Business Communications offers three paid plans:

  • Standard: starting at $23.00/user per month
  • Pro: starting at $35.00/user per month
  • Enterprise: starting at Quote-based pricing

Annual pricing and a 14-day free trial are also available.

 

What Sets It Apart

Dialpad’s impressive AI tools are easily the best parts of the phone system.

Vi (Voice Intelligence) is Dialpad’s AI-powered NLP and machine learning platform with in-call agent coaching. It offers real-time, speaker-differentiated call transcription agents can see while on the phone with a customer. It also automatically picks up on action items and caller sentiment analysis by “listening” for keywords and phrases.

Best of all, it offers Real-Time Agent Assist (RTA) features that simplify the onboarding, training, and support/sales process. When the AI feature picks up on “trigger” keywords, it automatically offers relevant advice to the agent – even reminding them to slow down if they’re talking too quickly. It pulls information from internal knowledge bases and customer accounts to make sure data agents need is always instantly within reach.

Dialpad also offers advanced call routing capabilities including skills-based, language-based, department-based, most idle, fixed order, round-robin, or random routing. Calls can also be set to go to voicemail boxes or back to the IVR menu, but admins can create “fallback” routing plans to further prevent calls from going to voicemail.

 

Network Reliability and Customer Support

Dialpad Enterprise customers have a 100% SLA guaranteed uptime, while all other users have a 99.9% uptime.

Users can add a failover number, but thanks to built-in network redundancy and automated data backups, the chance of a complete outage is rare. Dialpad also has a real-time status update page and network monitoring powered by Kentik.

The platform also offers a high level of security and privacy thanks to 256–but AES encryption, SRTP and TLS, SOC 2 Type 2 and GDPR compliance, and CCPA adherence. Enterprise users can customize their data retention policies. Dialpad is also CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) and HIPAA certified.

24/7 phone support is available to Pro and Enterprise customers, while Chat and online ticketing support is available on all plans 24/7. Users can purchase support add-ons like a dedicated account manager and professional deployment services.

 

What Users Like What Users Dislike
All plans include call recording, call transcriptions, custom routing options, automatic post-call notes, and other features usually available only on more expensive plans Only integrations available for cheapest plan are Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, rendering the most affordable plan useless for any teams with extensive third-party integration needs
More affordable than other providers, especially considering the advanced features of the Standard Plan Smaller meeting capacity (10 users) when integrating free Dialpad Meetings video calling tool
Standout features like Automatic Post-Call Notes with action item creation and Speech Coaching improve agent productivity and boost the quality of assistance your agents provide 3 or 100 license purchasing minimums for more advanced plans

 

Nextiva

Nextiva is a business communications platform with a cloud PBX business phone system combining VoIP voice calling, video meetings, SMS, and team chat messaging in one dashboard.

Nextiva Workhub Launch, GetVoIP News

Users communicate seamlessly within the Nextiva App softphone interface switching between communication channels and even devices without missing a beat.

 

Pricing and Plans

Nextiva offers three paid plans for 1-100+ users:

  • Essential: starting at $24.95 /user per month
  • Professional: starting at $29.95 /user per month
  • Enterprise: starting at $39.95 /user per month

Nextiva used to offer a free trial, but now it’s not available on their website.

 

What Sets It Apart

Nextiva is the most “complete” phone system on this list, offering robust native features other providers don’t.

Instead of relying on endless third-party integrations and APIs, Nextiva already includes its own CRM capabilities, team collaboration and project management tools, and even has features that have been specifically designed for customer service and sales teams like case routing and customer journey analytics.

It’s perhaps best known for its Call Pop feature, which shows key caller details like contact information, date of last interaction, customer experience ratings, account value, and any notes from previous agents/conversations.

Analytics features like Sentiment Analysis instantly recognize positive and negative “trigger words,” and unhappy customers are automatically flagged for review and escalation. Trend forecasting, call topic filters, and customer survey analytics in addition to KPI-based reporting templates all help you to be better informed.

Nextiva Automations

Smart Automation tools like automated welcome messages, reminders and follow-ups with corresponding automated status updates, and real-time agent assistance based on recognized keywords keep your business running smoothly.

 

Network Reliability and Customer Support

Nextiva’s 24/7 network monitoring, backup power sources, and 8 global points of presence contribute to its competitive 99.999% uptime. The platform is SOC II, HIPAA, and PCI compliant, and end-to-end call encryption is available.

Customer support is available via live chat, email, and phone Monday-Friday from 5:00 AM-6:00 PM MST and Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 AM-6:00 PM MST. Ticket support requests can be submitted at any time. Nextiva has an online support knowledge base that is always available to current or potential customers.

 

What Users Like What Users Dislike
Advanced native, built-in CRM tools as well as integration with third-party CRM software CRM tools, recording, integrations, and SMS/MMS texting unavailable on Essential Plan
Automated in-conversation Smart Recommendations No longer seems to offer 24/7 support as advertised
Analytics with company-wide Wallboard broadcast gamify performance and increase  employee engagement Advanced features mean a high learning curve that lengthens the onboarding process

 

RingCentral MVP

RingCentral MVP (Message, Phone, Video) is a unified communications platform offering high-level communication features to smaller teams.

RingCentral App

Recently, the provider has focused on providing innovative solutions and capabilities to the new hybrid workforce, especially regarding team collaboration. In addition to chat, voice calling, and video, RingCentral offers virtual faxing and SMS.

 

Pricing and Plans

RingCentral MVP offers four paid plans:

  • Essentials: $32.99 /user per month
  • Standard: $40.99 /user per month
  • Premium: $47.99 /user per month
  • Ultimate: $62.99 /user per month

A 15-day free trial is available, as are add-ons like additional local phone numbers, ($4.99/user/month) vanity numbers ($30.00 fee/number) and high volume SMS.

 

What Sets It Apart

RingCentral bridges the gaps and prevents miscommunications that often occur when remote teams and in-house employees work together.

Numerous call forwarding options exist for multiple devices and departments, including call blasting and the ability to specify the number of rings before a call is forwarded. Since every user gets a dedicated phone number and a dial-by-name directory, finding the right person is easy. Call delegation, call flip, and ring groups of up to 16 phones further prevent bottlenecks.

Self-service is made easy thanks to 250 programmable IVR call menus and submenus, advanced NLIP, and a drag-and-drop Visual Dial Plan Editor.

New advances to team collaboration include the Message Toolbar with unlimited file uploads and file organization, message pinning/editing, advanced task management, whiteboarding, and note-taking. Often, these features eliminate the need for additional third-party integrations.

 

Network Reliability and Customer Support

Customer support is available 24/7 via phone and live chat, but RingCentral’s online knowledge base with numerous how-to video tutorials offers a higher-than-average level of customer self-service. RingCentral offers on-demand and live training webinars via its RingCentral University platform and has a real-time service status page.

In terms of security, RingCentral easily ranks as one of the top platforms, especially regarding transparency.

Its seven-layer strategy includes third-party security testing and compliance (GDPR, SOC II, HIPAA, SSAE-16), end-to-end encryption, and network redundancy. Strong admin controls are available, as well as SSO and two-factor authentication.

With a 99.999% guaranteed uptime, RingCentral users will deal with less than 30 seconds of downtown each month.

 

What Users Like What Users Dislike
24/7 phone and live chat support and professional implementation/training Some features like online faxing, video meetings, multi-level IVR, and call recording aren’t available on the cheapest plan
Unbeatable team collaboration features and strong platform security Overly frequent updates can cause confusion and delays
Lots of integrations are available via RingCentral App Gallery (Slack, Asana, Teams, Salesforce, Google Workspace, etc.) Some integrations are only available to Premium and Ultimate Plan customers, including Zendesk and Salesforce integrations

 

GoTo Connect

GoTo Connect is a cloud phone system offering voice calling, video communications, and messaging in a unified interface. Local, toll-free, and vanity numbers are available, as is number porting.

GoTo Connect Business phone system

Remote or blended smaller teams of up to 25 employees will get the most out of GoTo Connect, as will current GoTo universe users (GoTo Webinar, GoTo Meeting, etc.) needing a business phone system.

 

Pricing and Plans

GoTo Connect offers three paid plans:

  • Basic: starting at $27.00 /user per month
  • Standard: starting at $32.00 /user per month
  • Premium: starting at $43.00 /user per month

A 15-day free trial is available, and additional phone numbers are available from $5.00/number per month.

 

What Sets It Apart

GoToConnect offers over 100 call center management features, but one of the best is the Dial Plan Editor tool.

This refreshingly easy-to-use call flow management tool lets users set up advanced call routing, forwarding, waiting, and multi-level IVR strategies. Best of all, GTC offers unlimited auto-attendants and submenus, allowing users to get far more specific with custom self-service menus that will keep agents free.

Although GTC has few available third-party integrations when compared to other providers, it does have an excellent and active developer community with open source APIs and SDKs. This allows for a high level of customization.

Ease of use is also a priority here, thanks to features like always-on visual notifications, a recent contacts list, and an intuitive sidebar that lets users see all current parked calls, recent chat conversations, and favorite contacts at all times. Its Activity Stream organizes all recent activity, regardless of channel, into one single interface. Users can also separate recent activity by channel, making it even easier to keep track of to-dos and follow-ups.

 

Network Reliability and Customer Support

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find much information about GoTo Connect customer service and support.

Information on the website as of this writing states that GoTo Connect is updating its support center, but where things stand now, it seems challenging to get a hold of a support representative. GoTo Connect claims to offer 24/7 support for its top two plans via phone and live chat, as well as email and support ticket generation – but little information is available.

The biggest disappointment is that the most affordable plan offers a self-service-only option for customer support. For over $20.00/month per user, this is far below expectations despite the platform’s value. The good news is that the online knowledge base is well-developed, with video tutorials, FAQs, extensive feature guides, and more. We will continue to monitor support updates and announcements for GoTo Connect.

In terms of reliability and security, GoTo Connect offers a 99.996% uptime and has 10 global data centers to keep things running smoothly. It is HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, and SOC II Type II compliant. TLS/AES-256 encryption, two-factor authentication, and malware/firewall protection are also included.

 

What Users Like What Users Dislike
Overall affordability and value when compared to other cloud phone providers Self-service only support option for the cheapest plan, and support chatbot is unable to offer even basic assistance
Top two plans make it easy to upgrade from a business phone system to a more robust contact center by adding call center management features a la carte or as a bundle Very limited third-party software integrations, seemingly designed to push users to invest in the entire GoTo suite even if other business tools better suit them
Customized call filtering, dial plan editing, shared voicemail inboxes, and over 100 other features make it easier to manage high call volumes Advanced analytics require add-on purchases for Basic and Standard Plans, which can cost $29.99/user per month and up

 

Zoom Phone

Zoom Phone provides current or prospective Zoom users with a business phone system they can use alongside Zoom Meetings, eliminating the need to purchase a VoIP solution from a separate provider. Note that it’s not available as a standalone product.

Zoom Phone

Available Zoom Phone communication channels are voice calling, texting, instant chat messaging, and video calling. Number porting, toll-free, and local phone numbers are available.

 

Pricing and Plans

Zoom Phone offers three plans:

  • US & Canada Metered: $10 /user per month
  • US & Canada Unlimited: $15 /user per month
  • Pro Global Select: $20 /user per month

A plethora of paid add-ons like additional phone numbers and toll-free numbers, ($60.00/year) international calling ($120.00/year) and the Zoom Phone Power Pack ($300.00/year/user) are also available.

 

What Sets It Apart

Zoom Phone provides centralized call management options within the same interface as team chat messaging and web conferencing communication.

With desktop and mobile versions (its mobile app is one of the most robust we’ve reviewed) teams of any size can communicate anywhere, anytime, and from any device. This is ideal for connected geographically diverse teams operating across different time zones or sharing opposite work hours. International calling is available in 18 countries.

Its mobile app, available for both Android and Apple iOS users, offers call recording, call queue access, video meetings, team chat, call notifications, and more.

Like its video calling app, Zoom Phone has a high number of standard and advanced calling features, which is well-suited for quickly-evolving companies or businesses of any size that need access to enterprise-level tools like call queuing and callbacks, detailed analytics, and multi-level IVR.

 

Network Reliability and Customer Support

It’s no secret that Zoom has faced severe criticism for its security policies in the past – something the provider has gone to great lengths to remedy.

In addition to 99.9% uptime and redundancy, Zoom now offers AES 256-bit encryption, SSO, two-factor authentication, FEDRamp, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA compliance, and several other security certifications.

Zoom offers excellent customer support options, likely due in large part to the brand’s financial dominance in the web conferring industry. This affords users privileges like 24/7 global customer care in the form of phone and chat support, a support chatbot, on-demand and live training webinars, onboarding assistance, support for BYOD/BYOC…the list goes on.

Paid premiere support options are also available.

 

What Users Like What Users Dislike
High number of available third-party integrations and APIs (Slack, Salesforce, Monday.com, Asana, etc.) Zoom Phone is available only to existing Zoom Meetings customers
Excellent 2/47 support options, including dedicated Customer Success Manager and priority assistance Can get expensive with monthly Zoom phone and Zoom Meeting requirements (Zoom United upgrade or Phone add-ons are even pricier)
Feature-rich phone system from one of, if not the, biggest virtual communications platform means early access to innovations and improvements Though Zoom has made impressive privacy improvements, the history of data sales and Zoombombing means some businesses are not allowed to/won’t use Zoom

 

Intermedia

Intermedia Unite is a UCaaS cloud platform offering VoIP phone calling, SMS texting, video conferencing, faxing, team chat messaging, and collaboration tools like file sharing and screen annotation, within an uncluttered interface.

Intermedia Unite Calling

Its Enhanced AnyPhone BYOP Program allows companies to keep their existing hardware, and its five-pillar Worry-Free Experience™ creates a secure, reliable cloud environment across all communication channels.

 

Pricing and Plans

Intermedia Unite offers two paid plans:

  • Unite Pro: $27.99 /user per month
  • Unite Enterprise: $32.99 /user per month

The main differences between the plans are integration capabilities, video calling limitations, and contact center capabilities. A free 30-day trial is available.

 

What Sets It Apart

Intermedia also offers 2 complete integration options with Microsoft Teams–one that lets users integrate Unite into the Teams application, and another that offers a Teams-specific version of Unite.

Teams users that select the Unite With Teams ($22.99/user/month) plans get Single Sign-On, native Unite softphone, voicemail, receptionist, and PBX features, third-party CRM integrations, SMS, 2-way presence and contact syncing, and more–all within a familiar Teams interface. To eliminate confusion, Unite team collaboration features are disabled within the integration, so users still access chat messaging, meetings, and file sharing via Teams.

Intermedia Unite Interface

Intermedia offers several call group varieties that make managing high-volume inbound calls much more efficient. A Hunt Group (call group) simultaneously rings all members to increase first contact resolution rates, while a Pickup Group lets certain agents take each other’s calls. A Receptionist Group instantly updates auto attendant routing strategies at a certain time of day, while a Paging Group lets admins make one-way calls to members to alert them of key updates.

 

Network Reliability and Customer Support

Intermedia Unite is known for its superior security, support, and reliability–all bundled within its 5-pillar Worry-Free Experience™. It includes 24/7/365 technical support, Cloud Concierge™ onboarding, a 99.999% SLA uptime, SecuriSync File Security with E2EE, and regulatory compliance.

SecuriSync includes permission and role-based sharing and editing, real-time file backup and one-click file restoration, ransomware, malware, and antivirus protection, and two-factor authentication. Intermedia’s compliance and security certifications/standards include GDPR, HIPAA, SEC, FINRA, PCI, SOC 3, and more.

Intermedia customer support is just as strong, with 24/7 support via chat and phone, a Strategic Client Services Manager, customer orientation and onboarding, webinars, HostPilot Training, and more.

 

What Users Like What Users Dislike
Robust and secure file sharing and co-editing with real-time backup, mobile access, unlimited file versioning Video conferencing has a maximum of 200 participants
24/7/365 Cloud Concierge™ technical support via phone and chat, customers receive incident alert within 5 minutes Key integrations (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, NetSuite, ServiceNow) available only on most expensive plan
Advanced, scalable Microsoft Teams integrations (Unite With Teams and Unite For Teams) Some VoIP features standard with other providers, like toll-free numbers and faxing, require paid add-ons

 

Ooma Office

Ooma Office is a basic small business phone solution offering voice and video calling, virtual faxing, and SMS messaging. It integrates with a high number of third-party desk phones and also offers native phone hardware for sale on its website.

Ooma Office

 

Pricing and Plans

Ooma Office offers three paid plans:

  • Ooma Office Essentials$19.95 /user per month
  • Ooma Office Pro: $24.95 /user per month
  • Ooma Office Pro Plus: $29.95 /user per month

Ooma offers a 30-day free trial with a money-back guarantee.

 

What Sets It Apart

Ooma’s Caller Info Match tool integrates customer and lead data not only from your CRM platform, but also from social media sites and Google.

When an inbound call comes in, or when agents place outbound calls, the Caller Info Match feature provides real-time CRM pop-ups and aggregated public information from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google.

Ooma aggregated information

Ooma’s virtual receptionist directs calls via multi-level IVR or providers callers with their requested information via an automated recording. Ooma uses touchtone technology and Natural Language Processing to effectively route calls to individual agents or ring groups.

Ooma’s mobile app for iOS and Android devices is one of the most robust we’ve seen–allowing users to access visual voicemails, edit call flows, use in-app extension dialing, send SMS messages, and update user preferences.

 

Network Reliability and Customer Support

Ooma Office isn’t particularly transparent about their security measures on their website–an automatic disqualification for some. Contacting customer support and conducting in-depth research revealed that Ooma doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, isn’t HIPAA-compliant, and only offers end-to-end encryption between Ooma users.

The biggest security and reliability problem is that Ooma does not offer any kind of guaranteed uptime–a fact that’s deeply buried in its Terms and Conditions documents.

However, Ooma’s Enhanced Call Blocking feature lets admins block up to 100 users, automatically block calls from anonymous/unknown numbers, and automatically block known spam callers on the Community Blacklist.

Ooma live chat customer support is available 24/7 for all Ooma customers. All Ooma customers can also contact support via phone Monday-Friday 5:00AM-5:00PM, and Saturday-Sunday 8:00AM-5:00PM. An online support knowledge base and user forum is also available.

 

What Users Like What Users Dislike
Auto-configuration technology works with existing phone hardware, simplifying and speeding up the already beginner-friendly installation/setup process Not HIPAA compliant and doesn’t offer two-factor authentication
Live chat support available 24/7, with phone support available 7 days a week Lack of native team chat messaging means necessitates third-party integrations
Affordable international calling rates, especially given that free unlimited calling to Mexico is included in all Ooma Office plans Most affordable plan lacks key features like call recording/routing/monitoring, video calling,

 

Key Cloud Phone System Features

Here are the most important and effective cloud phone system features.

 

Advanced Call Routing

Call routing lets users set customizable rules to determine which agents or departments calls are sent to and what happens if no one is available to take the call. It offers better overall call flow management.

There are several call routing strategies to consider:

  • Round Robin Routing: Agents take turns answering inbound calls. The first call goes to agent A, agent B, agent C, and agent A again.
  • Skills-Based Routing: Calls are sent to the most qualified agent to assist the caller. Callers can dial a specific number to reach a certain department or type information into the voice responder to be directed to the appropriate agent. It ensures that customers calling for support aren’t redirected to the billing or sales departments.
  • Most Idle Routing: Calls are automatically sent to the agent that has not answered a call in the longest amount of time
  • Priority-Based Routing: Calls from predetermined phone numbers (VIP clients, etc.) are sent to preferred agents or skip to the front of the queue

Call Routing

 

IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

Cloud IVR uses pre-recorded automated messages and call menus to quickly connect callers to the appropriate departments, make payments, view account status, and more without speaking to a live agent.

IVR (interactive voice response) call flow

Customers enter their responses to voice prompts via dial pad touch-tone or speech. The IVR system guides callers through relevant call flows using NLP, voice recognition, and DTMF dial tones.

 

Call Monitoring and Call Recording

Call monitoring lets managers/admins listen to live phone calls, use call whisper to give agents advice in real-time without the customer’s knowledge, or use call barge to take over the call completely.

On-demand or automatic call recording records phone and video calls (often including screen streams during video meetings. Recording can be paused and restarted when discussing sensitive information.

Searchable call and meeting transcriptions are automatically generated and stored in the cloud or sent to participants.

Familiarize yourself with call recording laws before using this feature.

 

Unified Communications

Unified Communications (UC or UCaaS) streamlines business communication by providing a central dashboard for multiple communication channels, including:

  • Voice calling
  • SMS texting
  • Video calling
  • Instant chat messaging (internal or live website chat)
  • Virtual faxing

All communication is automatically synced across channels in real-time.

What Is UCaaS

 

Local Presence and Toll-Free Vanity Phone Numbers

Companies can port existing phone numbers into their cloud phone system or purchase new phone numbers directly from the provider.

Most VoIP providers include at least one free local phone number with their plans.

Regardless of a company’s actual geographic location, buying several local phone numbers gives them a local presence in every region they target.

Toll-free vanity phone numbers (such as 1-800-DOGWALK) make it clear what products/ services your business offers. Clients and leads can contact businesses at no cost to them as the caller.

Why You Need It – Business phone numbers make your company look more professional, are easy to remember, and give you a local phone number in many different area codes/locations.

 

Video Calling With Team Collaboration Tools

Video conferencing offers face-to-face, real-time communication between colleagues, entire departments, and external participants.

Users can instantly transition from phone calls or team chat messages to ad hoc video calls with one click. Scheduled meetings with automated reminders, attached files, guest lists, and meeting descriptions are available.

Collaboration features like in-call instant chat messaging, screen sharing, remote screen control, file co-editing, and whiteboard tools make replicating in-person meetings even more realistic. More advanced tools like task management, in-meeting polling, user presence (status) updates, breakout rooms, and virtual hand-raising are often available.

 

Visual Voicemail

Visual voicemail (sometimes called voicemail-to-text) transcribes voicemail messages and automatically sends the transcription and original audio files to users.

This means users can visually read their voice messages instead of having to listen to each one. Agents also receive voicemail notifications, ensuring they promptly return missed calls.

 

Call Pops and CRM Integrations

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integrations and communication APIs let users integrate existing business software and applications into their cloud phone system.

Call Pops use the integrated CRM system to automatically display recent customer data for inbound/outbound calls within the softphone interface, so there’s no need to constantly switch between apps.

 

Customer Callback

Customer callback capabilities eliminate the need for customers to wait on hold to speak to an agent. Instead, callers can schedule a callback for their preferred date and time.

The agent and the customer will receive reminder notifications of the upcoming call.

 

Real-Time and Historical Call Data & Analytics

Call analytics provide real-time and historical data about callers and agents over a preset, customizable period.

VoIP analytics include pre-made templates, or completely customizable reports focused on popular metrics and KPIs like:

  • Average call duration
  • The average speed of answer
  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly call volume (inbound/outbound)
  • First, call resolution rate
  • Average talk time per agent
  • Percent of calls sent to voicemail
  • Cost per call
  • Average conversion rate

 

Automation and AI

Automation and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are auto-attendants or bots that automate common business processes, eliminating the need for agents to handle them manually.

Conversational AI and NLP (natural language processing) identify keywords/phrases that trigger preset automations.

For example, if a client calls and says, “I need help paying my bill,” NLP tools “understand” the words “paying,” “bill,” and “help.” AI and automation tools then send that caller to the billing department or help them to pay the bill over the phone.

Additional examples of automation and AI include:

  • Collecting/updating customer contact information
  • Workflow automation
  • Chatbots
  • Dial-by-name directories

 

How Does a Cloud Phone System Work?

Cloud phone systems are powered by VoIP, they convert audio into data packets using codecs that are transmitted over the Internet.

Since a cloud-based phone system isn’t limited to a specific location, your entire remote and/or blended team connects under the same service no matter their location. Plus, most cloud phone systems offer free calls between in-network extensions.

 

Cloud Phone System vs Traditional Phone System

A cloud phone system brings a unique experience that differs significantly from traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) landlines. Let’s take a look at the biggest differences:

Traditional Phone Cloud Phone System
Hardware Requirements Installed copper lines, phones, private branch exchange (PBX) VoIP endpoints (phones, computers, smart devices), modems, routers
Scaling Requires purchasing new licenses, lines, and phones from the telecom carrier Easily add new lines online via the “add a line” section in the control panel
Long Distance Long-distance calling means extra charges Most providers include unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, more affordable international long-distance calling
Emergency Services Dispatchers send responders to the registered location of the phone line E911 services send responders to the location registered to the account via the provider’s portal
Faxing Converts scanned documents into an electric signal transmitted via phone lines Cloud-based faxing sends faxes over data networks. Online fax is secure, and there are fewer quality issues compared to traditional faxing.
Call Forwarding Call forwarding typically comes as an extra feature Many providers have this feature, and many take it to the next level with features like remote call forwarding.
Call Routing Most call routing is hardware-based Advanced call routing, auto-attendant service, and basic IVR are included in most service plans
Sound Quality Limited to voice band audio in an analog format, meaning sound fidelity varies Sound quality is primarily affected by internet connection strength, packet loss, and other factors

 

Cloud Phone System Pros and Cons

Cloud phone systems have plans for businesses of all sizes and let companies choose between bundled all-in-one services or a la carte features purchasable on an individual basis.

But what are the downsides of cloud communications?

The below table outlines the pros and cons of a cloud-based phone system.

Cloud Phone System Pros Cloud Phone System Cons
Reduces business communication costs by 30-50% when compared to traditional landlines Can have a steep learning curve (look for service providers offering user training and 24/7 support)
Virtual PBX systems save 115 minutes/day per employee, saving roughly 49,660 hours each year Users may need to purchase feature or user capacity add-ons and integrate additional business communication software
High level of reliability and guaranteed uptime through numerous remote data centers Call quality is impacted by issues like jitter, latency, and packet loss — as well as your overall Internet connection
Easier setup (often same-day) and lower maintenance than traditional business phones Often requires upgraded networking equipment such as VoIP routers, stronger Internet connections, and higher bandwidth
Scalable solutions so your business phone system can grow with your SMB Usually requires a commitment/contract for at least 1-2 years

 

Cloud Phone System FAQs

Below, we’ve answered some common cloud phone system FAQs.

Top cloud phone system benefits include: 


  • Lower costs than traditional business telephones

  • Advanced calling features like IVR, SMS messaging, and call routing

  • Scalable phone system solutions

  • Greater flexibility, specifically for mobile users 

  • Little equipment/hardware required 

  • Integrates with existing business communications software

  • Increased productivity 

  • Excellent analytics offering insight into agent/department activity and customer contact 

Cloud phone systems cost $15.00-$50.00/user per month, depending on the provider and specific features you choose. 


Opting for annual payment plans usually results in significant cost savings.

Cloud phones work by breaking up VoIP voice data into packets that travel to the call recipient across the Internet -- not the PSTN telephone network. 


Once the packets reach the recipient, they reassemble, delivering clear voice communication. This process is managed by your PBX solution.