Today’s VoIP software provides an all-in-one interface for multiple communication channels including video conferencing, voice calling, SMS text messages, chat messaging, and even online faxing.
It eliminates the need to switch between multiple applications throughout the day, streamlines voice communication, video, and team collaboration tools into a unified application with real-time conversation syncing.
In this post, we’ll cover the benefits of VoIP software, highlight key VoIP features, and outline the 10 best providers to help you narrow your search for the best business communications platform for your team.
Top VoIP Software Providers
Here’s the list of the most popular VoIP software:
The below table compares the top VoIP software providers, pricing, available features, uptime, and more.
|Provider||Starting Price||Free Trial||Unlimited US+Canada Calling||Team Collaboration||Faxing||Mobile App||Uptime||Best For|
|RingCentral||From $20.00/user per month||7-day free trial||✓||Team Chat, Task Management, Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Whiteboard||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.999%||Remote/blended SMBs that rely heavily on analytics|
|Nextiva||From $17.95/user per month||7-day free trial||✓||Team Chat, Task Management, Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Nextiva CoSpace App||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.999%||Fully remote or blended teams that want to consolidate communications tools|
|Dialpad||From $15.00/user per month||14-day free trial||✓||Team Chat, Screen Sharing, File Sharing||100 pages/month for free, 10 cents per page after that||iOS and Android Devices||100%||Call centers with a high daily inbound call volume|
|3CX||From $0.88/user per month||No free trial of paid version, but first year of Standard Plan is free||✓||Team Chat, Screen Sharing, Whiteboard, PDF, and File Sharing||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.99%||Smaller/newer in-house businesses with more basic VoIP communication needs|
|8×8||From $15.00/user per month||1-month free trial||✓||Team Chat, Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Task Management||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.9999%||Midsize-large businesses that use a variety of communication tools and need custom solutions|
|CloudTalk||From $20.00/user per month||14-day free trial||✓||Wallboard, Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Whiteboard||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.99%||In-house and remote medium to large teams that focus on agent optimization and personalized customer service|
|Grasshopper||From $26.00/user per month||7-day free trial||✓||Integration-only, no native team chat, screen sharing, file sharing features||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.999%||Solopreneurs or businesses with 3-5 employees that need only a basic phone system, no video communications or native team collaboration|
|GoTo Connect||From $22.00/user per month||14-day free trial||✓||Team Chat, Screen Sharing, File Sharing||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.999%||Remote or mobile teams of under 20 employees that need to maximize agent productivity|
|Vonage||From $14.99/user per month||14-day free trial||✓||Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Team Chat||✓||iOS and Android Devices||99.999%||Small businesses over 50 or fewer employees, ideal for in-office or blended, but not entirely remote, teams|
The RingCentral MVP Business Communications package is an all-in-one Message, Phone, and Video VoIP software for 2-1000+ users.
The unified RingCentral App interface lets users send team chat messages, SMS texts, online faxes, access third-party integrations, and make one-click phone or video calls across devices from any location.
- RingCentral Video: Free unlimited video conferencing with instant chat messaging for up to 200 participants
- Team Collaboration Tools: Task creation and management, screen sharing and remote screen control, interactive whiteboard
- RingCentral Analytics Portal: 30+ real-time and historical KPIs, customizable and premade report templates, automated reporting
- Presence Feature: Lets users/admins set and view real-time team member availability and status on desktop softphones and smartphones
- RingCentral Fax: Unlimited Internet fax (faxes sent to email) without interrupting phone number service, fax storage
Pricing and Plans
RingCentral MVP’s most popular plan is its Advanced Plan from $25.00/user per month.
The Advanced Plan includes:
- Unlimited calling in the United States/Canada plus 2,500 toll-free minutes/month
- On-demand and automatic call recording
- CRM and industry-specific integrations and developer platform for custom integrations
- Professional implementation and 24/7 support
- Voicemail transcription, voicemail-to-email, visual voicemail
Additional MVP plans include the Core Plan from $20.00/user/month and the Ultra Plan from $35.00/user/month.
RingCentral is best for small to mid-sized remote or blended teams that prioritize multiple communication channels as well as advanced team collaboration capabilities.
Because these teams don’t usually work in the same place (or even in the same time zone) RingCentral users need to rely on information and data from its advanced Analytics Portal to properly evaluate agent activity, customer satisfaction, and to identify common problems that might be more apparent to an in-office team.
For more information on RingCentral, check out our complete review of RingCentral pricing.
Nextiva ONE is a cloud-based business VoIP phone system for 2-100+ users offering voice calling, video conferencing, team collaboration, and faxing within the Nextiva App for desktop or mobile devices.
Nextiva is unique in that it also offers advanced native CRM capabilities in addition to third-party CRM integrations. Designed for today’s mobile workforce, Nextiva offers over 45 VoIP features that streamline communication and simplify workflows.
- Call Flow Builder: Users record custom greeting/IVR menu announcements and add multiple business phone numbers/ring groups/voicemail boxes to call paths via the user-friendly drag-and-drop interface
- Conversational AI: Uses NLP (Natural Language Processing) from Google Dialogflow and IBM Watson to interpret natural speech from callers and offer a high level of automated self-service
- Nextiva CoSpace: A virtual workspace allowing for audio/video communication, chat messaging, file sharing/editing, task management, and team or project-specific Spaces
- Call Pop: Provides key customer/caller insight on-screen before dialing/answering a call, including past survey responses, last interaction data, current Customer Experience Score, account value, and more
- Nextiva Sales and Customer Service Tools: Service and Sales suites that map out the customer journey and pipeline, monitor leads, offer advanced automation and omnichannel communication, and more
Nextiva’s most popular plan is its Enterprise Plan, from $32.95/user per month for 20-99 users.
The Enterprise Plan includes:
- Unlimited attendees for audio conferences
- Unlimited call pops
- Unlimited video conference and call recording
- Unlimited calling in the United States and Canada plus 12,500 monthly toll-free minutes
- 24/7 phone, email, and chat support, plus professional implementation
Other Nextiva Plans include the Essential Plan from $17.95/user per month, the Professional Plan from $21.95/user per month, and the Ultimate Plan from $52.95/user per month.
Most Nextiva users are either transitioning to an all-in-one business communications tool for the first time or have realized they need a solution that eliminates the need for excessive third-party integrations.
These fully remote or blended teams need a VoIP solution with a native CRM system, as well as advanced customer service and sales functionalities, that allow them to streamline their workflows into a single application.
More detailed information on features, pricing, and more can be found in our review of Nextiva Pricing.
Dialpad is a VoIP software provider that combines business telephony, team messaging, one-click audio conference meetings, and AI-powered customer service into one platform.
Dialpad’s built-in AI capabilities allow for detailed sentiment analysis, agent coaching, transcriptions, automation, and more in real-time across multiple devices.
Note that video calling is only possible if the free Dialpad Meetings app is downloaded.
- Dialpad Conference Calling: Set recurring conference calls, create invite groups, use pre-scheduled dial-outs to prevent missed meetings, and access group chat messaging in audio-only and video conferences
- Call Queue: Live call queue views, view currently available agents, set and manage priority call queues
- Call Summary: Automatically receive post-call essential information like action items, key call snippets, call sentiment analysis, and a full searchable call transcript
- Screen Capture: Records an agent’s entire screen from the moment they accept or place a call, allows admins to view call transcription, playback audio, view the agent’s screen to evaluate the type and effectiveness of support provided
- Executive Assistant Call Delegation: Automatically assigns missed calls to another predetermined agent to help manage call volume, selected agents can view relevant transcripts, call history, etc.
Pricing and Plans
Dialpad’s most popular plan is its Pro Plan from $25.00/user per month, with a minimum purchase of three licenses.
The Pro Plan includes:
- A 10 office location/branch maximum
- Local phone number support in over 50 countries
- Up to 25 ring groups
- APIs and webhooks
- 24/7 phone support
Additional Dialpad plans include the Standard Plan from $15.00/user per month and the Enterprise Plan, which is quote-based.
Dialpad is best for call centers or businesses with a high daily incoming call volume.
These companies need a better way to shorten call queues/call hold times, provide a higher level of customer self-service, and keep track of post-call action items and customer service requests.
To learn more, read our review of Dialpad pricing and plans.
3CX is an on-premises or hosted PBX communications system offering app-free video conferencing, business SMS, live chat and team chat, voice calling, and social media messaging in a single interface.
- Call Routing: Numerous call routing options including round-robin, skills-based, first available, shortest talk time, longest idle, priority routing, and least amount of calls answered in the set time period
- Live Chat: Connects website visitors to a live agent with real-time chat syncing, allows agents to instantly transition from a chat to a voice call, chat transfer, chat file sharing, and automatic ticket syncing with CRM systems
- Facebook Message Management: Automatically assign FB messages to queues or individual users, keep a record of past messages, automatic conversation syncing, and CRM integration
- Team Collaboration Features: Screen and PDF sharing, whiteboard, team polling and surveys, chat messaging, file sharing, note creation, and sharing, call recording
Pricing and Plans
3CX has a unique pricing structure, as it is based on the number of concurrent calls, the number of users, and the number of licenses, meaning it offers a high level of scalability.
Its Standard Plan is free for the first year, but lacks essential features like call recording, CRM integrations, and call queueing.
Therefore, its most popular plan is its Pro Plan, which starts at $0.88/user per month and $265.00/license per year for up to 25 users and 8 simultaneous calls. The Pro Plan includes:
- Unlimited extensions
- Microsoft 365 and CRM integrations
- Video conferencing for up to 100 participants
- Voicemail transcription and call recording
- Call reporting
It also offers the above-mentioned Standard Plan, which is free for one year, and the Enterprise Plan from $1.08/user per month.
3CX is best for small to medium-sized businesses with traditional offices that need the flexibility to choose between on-premises or cloud-based hosting.
These teams may have a moderate outbound daily call volume, but need VoIP software that can keep up with their large amount of daily internal and external communication across multiple channels.
Given that 3CX is an open platform solution, it’s also ideal for businesses that want to select their own SIP trunks and hardware, as well as companies that need customized solutions.
Our 3CX Review provides additional insight into features, pricing, plans, and user reviews
8×8 is a business communications platform with unlimited calling, team chat messaging, video conferencing, and communication APIs for those who prefer to completely customize their system through an open source platform.
- Team Collaboration Tools: File sharing, public, private, or invite-only team chat channels, full-screen or application screen sharing
- Phone Presence: Integrates with user calendars to automatically update user status when in a meeting, automatic “away” update after a set amount of idle time, do not disturb status, custom message to be displayed with status updates
- Video Conferencing: Virtual backgrounds, host delegations, meeting locks, end-to-end encryption for video calls, dial-in, dial-out, YouTube live streaming, mobile screen sharing, personal video rooms, virtual hand-raising
- APIs and Embeddable Apps: Customizable communication functionalities for existing apps including live chat, SMS messaging, SMS surveys, call stats, and more
- Universal Messaging: 8×8’s team chat tool integrated with over 20 chat apps including Slack, Chatter, and more within the “SameRoom” interface, offering streamlined messaging communication
8×8’s most popular plan is the X2 Plan from $24.00/user per month.
The X2 Plan includes:
- Unlimited voice calling to 14 countries and unlimited calling in the US and Canada
- HD audio and video conferencing for up to 100 participants
- Unlimited UC media storage and call recording storage for 30 days
- Unlimited virtual faxing
- Out-of-the-box CRM and team communication integrations
8×8’s all-in-one communication tools offer two additional plans, the Express Plan from $15.00/user per month and the X4 plan from $44.00/user per month.
8×8 is best for larger-scale companies that need customizable communications solutions to manage their high daily contact volume across multiple channels. It’s also ideal for businesses that are already using several business communication platforms that must integrate well with their VoIP system.
Learn more about what 8×8 can offer teams in our 8×8 Review.
CloudTalk is a cloud-based call center software that primarily focuses on voice communication (note that native video calling features are not available.) Tailored inbound and outbound dialer solutions are available to sales agents and customer support.
- Wallboard Analytics: A live picture of all current contact center activity, visible to both admins and agents, with data on configurable metrics from the past 60, 30, 15, or 5 minutes. Wallboard gamification and published results increase team member productivity
- ACW (After Call Work): Ensures agents finish follow-up work after the end of a call, can be made mandatory. Work includes notes, call tagging, evaluation, scheduling callbacks, etc. Admins can set ACW time for up to 15 minutes, meaning that an agent will not be able to make/receive calls during that time to focus on follow-up tasks.
- Preferred Agent Routing: Assigns a preferred agent per client, to ensure that the caller is always connected to that agent. Allows for a higher level of personalization, increases customer loyalty, and prevents overworking agents. Clients can also be assigned to specific groups/departments, not just individuals, for skills-based routing.
- Resolved Call Smart Detection: Smart Detection shows the most recent missed calls and filters them according to Resolved (called back) and Unresolved (still needing callback) status
- Conference Calling: Internal and external conference calls, each attendee has a PIN code for security, calls are automatically recorded
CloudTalk’s most popular plan is its Essential Plan, from $25.00/user per month.
The Essential Plan includes:
- Unlimited users and an unlimited number of callers in queue
- Free inbound and calls and internal calls (toll-free excluded)
- Unlimited recording storage
- Fax to email
- SMS texting
- Conference calling
- Call tagging and customer cards
Additional CloudTalk plans include the Starter Plan from $20.00/user per month and the Expert Plan from $40.00/user per month.
CloudTalk is best for medium to large businesses with a high daily contact volume. These companies need to be able to provide a highly personalized level of customer service while still optimizing their agents. Suitable for both in-house and remote teams.
Grasshopper is a business phone system mainly designed for small businesses or solopreneurs. Though standard calling features are somewhat limited compared to the other VoIP service providers here, Grasshopper has communication add-ons ideal for scalable solutions.
- Ruby Virtual Receptionist: Lets customers speak to a “real person” when they call, making scheduling appointments, getting basic questions answered, and more
- Voicemail: Separate voice mailbox per extension, unlimited message storage for 30 days, automatic voicemail transcription with transcription forwarding to up to 15 email addresses
- Call Tracking Analytics: Usage, Activity, and Detail reports provide information on average call length, which calls were placed on hold, transferred, or went to voicemail, call abandonment, and more. Information is stored for 90 days.
- SMS: Users can send/receive unlimited text, video, and photo messages, individual and group texting available, “Instant Response” feature automatically lets new callers know their call has been received
Grasshopper’s most popular plan is its Partner Plan, from $44.00/month, three phone numbers, and three extensions.
The Partner Plan includes:
- Virtual faxing
- Instant Response
- Desktop and mobile apps
- Business SMS
- Call control and call handling
- Custom Greetings
Note that all Grasshopper plans offer the same features — the only difference is the number of phone numbers and extensions. Other plans include the Solo plan for $26.00/month for 1 phone number and 3 extensions and the Small Business plan for $80.00/month for 5 phone numbers and unlimited extensions.
Grasshopper is best for startups and small businesses with 5 or fewer employees that need a business phone system without advanced features. It’s especially popular among solopreneurs and individuals with side businesses that want to increase their level of professionalism.
GoTo Connect is a unified meeting, cloud PBX phone, and chat communications solution accessible from anywhere, on any device (in fact, it’s compatible with over 180 desk phones.)
Each user has their own phone number, plans offer unlimited extensions, and admins can create their own customized call flow and set ring strategies via the user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.
- Visual Dial Plan Editor: A drag-and-drop call flow/path editor that allows admins to instantly adjust call routing strategies, automation, IVR menus, and even the number of seconds before a call is transferred
- Find Me/Follow Me: A remote call forwarding feature that connects callers to the device where they’re most likely to reach their desired agent/department — without needing to dial additional phone numbers
- Caller Hold Time Reporting: Agents are automatically informed of the amount of time a caller has been on hold before the conversation begins, or to ensure that longest hold times are assisted first
- Supervisor Real-Time View: Call monitoring with reports on current call queues, agent activity, and ability to silently monitor, access call whisper, or use call barge
- Call Recording: Automatic company-wide or phone number-specific call recording with accessible cloud recording storage
GoTo Connect’s most popular plan is its Standard plan, from $26/user per month for between 2-10 users.
The Standard Plan includes:
- Unlimited extensions, call queues, auto-attendants, and ring groups
- 1,000 included toll-free minutes
- Unlimited meetings for up to 150 participants and up to 50 simultaneous streams
- Free international calling in over 50 countries
- Hot desking and shared line appearance
GoTo Connect offers two total paid plans: the Basic Plan from $22/user per month and the Standard Plan from $26/user per month.
GoTo Connect is best for small businesses or fewer mostly remote or mobile employees that need highly customizable call paths that allow for maximum agent productivity.
It’s also ideal for companies that frequently update their call routing and call path strategies based on time of year, peak sales times, agent availability, and more.
Our complete GoTo Connect Review provides additional insight.
Avaya OneCloud is a unified communications solution with SMS and MMS messaging, VoIP voice calling, video conferencing, and instant messaging.
This all-in-one cloud communications tool allows for constant team collaboration, a high level of employee flexibility, and a cohesive digital workspace.
- Avaya Spaces Collaboration App: Collaboration solution offering video, chat messaging, audio conferencing, and file sharing, storage, and editing in one unified workspace for up to 1,000 users. Also includes task management, activity stream notifications, screen sharing, and the ability to see up to 61 meeting participants at once
- Video Meetings: Unlimited video meetings for up to 200 participants with screen sharing and public/private in-meeting chat
- Visual Voicemail: Users can access transcriptions or MP3 files of voice messages from their email inbox, desk or mobile phone, desktop computer, or Avaya account
- Audio Conferencing: Unlimited audio conferences for up to 1,000 participants with unique access codes
Avaya’s most popular plan is its Premium Plan, from $34.99/user per month for between 2 to 20 users.
The Premium Plan includes:
- Unlimited Business SMS, unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada
- 2,500 toll-free minutes
- Video meetings with up to 200 participants
- CRM integrations (Salesforce, Zendesk) and industry-specific integrations (Canvas, Smarsh, etc.)
- Advanced call handling including call barge and call whisper
- Automatic and on-demand call recording
- Real-time analytics
Avaya offers three additional plans, the Essentials Plan for $19.99/user per month, the Standard Plan from $24.99/user per month, and the Ultimate Plan for $49.99/user per month.
Avaya is best for small to medium-sized businesses with more basic communication needs, but extensive real-time collaboration needs.
It’s also a good solution for companies that have near-daily audio or video conferences with internal team members and external clients/collaborators.
Our Avaya Review offers additional information.
Vonage is a cloud-based business communications system with voice calling, SMS, online faxing, video calling, and team chat messaging.
- Conversation Analyzer AI: Uses NLP and speech analytics to offer insight into common issues, customer satisfaction, the reason for the call, resolution speed, etc.
- Company Summary: Compares up to 18 months of data on metrics like call duration, activity by agent, extension, ring group, the total number of calls, percentage of calls that were unanswered/went to voicemail, information on the most and least active groups, an call logs
- Vonage App Center: Robus integrations with popular tools like Zoho CRM, Microsoft Teams, G Suite, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Zendesk, Slack, and more
- Call Announce: Warm transfer tool that plays audible messages to agents before they take the call, announcing information like the reason for the call, related call tags, basic customer support history, and more
- Call Conference: Meeting between 3-5 parties on a mobile app or compatible desk phone
Vonage’s most popular plan is its Premium Plan from $24.99/month per line for between 1-20 users.
The Premium Plan includes:
- Unlimited video meetings for up to 100 participants
- Unlimited team messaging, SMS and US and Canada calling
- Multi-level auto attendant
- CRM integrations
- Over 50 business phone features
Note that call recording, call monitoring, call queuing, call groups, visual voicemail, and virtual faxing are all paid add-ons.
Vonage is best for in-office SMBs of between 10-15 employees with basic communication needs or needs that are already covered by third-party software they plan to integrate into Vonage. These companies need the ability to scale their VoIP communications over time, but as of now, they have more minor business phone needs.
Learn more about Vonage for Business in our Vonage Review.
- What is VoIP Software?
- Types of VoIP
- Benefits of VoIP
- Essential VoIP Software Features
- How to Choose VoIP Software
- VoIP Software FAQs
What is VoIP Software?
VoIP Software is a virtual communications application that lets users make/receive calls over the Internet instead of the landline PSTN network copper wiring system.
VoIP offers significant cost savings, flexibility, and scalable advanced calling features that traditional landlines can’t. Call forwarding, multi-level IVR, editable call flow design, and even video conferencing are considered standard VoIP features.
VoIP platforms are also device-agnostic, meaning users can conduct business communication across numerous devices including desktop and laptop computers, (via softphone interface) smartphones, tablets, and analog desk phones (hardphones.)
Note that VoIP is intended to improve both internal and external communication, as many providers offer features like instant team chat messaging with user presence, team collaboration tools like whiteboarding and screen sharing, and file sharing and co-editing.
The terms VoIP, IP telephony, virtual telephony, virtual calling, and online phone systems are used interchangeably.
There are three main types of VoIP services: Cloud VoIP, On-Premise VoIP, and Residential VoIP. Let’s take a deeper look at what separates them below.
Types of VoIP
Below is a description of the key types of VoIP.
Cloud VoIP or hosted VoIP is a phone service that lets you make calls through the internet. It is one of the most cost-effective formats of VoIP software because it is hosted by a third-party provider and reduces the cost of service by eliminating the need for dedicated hardware.
Most cloud VoIP providers offer advanced business features like auto attendant, advanced call routing, and call analytics.
On-premise VoIP differs from its cloud counterparts in that it is installed at your company’s office. This gives you more control in terms of security, but you’ll need to shell out more cash upfront for the necessary hardware and maintenance.
Scaling on-premise VoIP is more difficult and expensive than the one hosted in cloud. You will need to buy more hardware and manage all configurations yourself.
Residential VoIP is a voice service for your home that works over the internet. People choose it over landline because it’s inexpensive, portable, and has more features.
In order to use VoIP at your home, you’ll need to have fast and reliable internet connection and some hardware.
Benefits of VoIP Software
Why are so many businesses making the switch from POTS to VoIP?
In addition to factors like the rise of remote work, overall ease of use, and fewer miscommunications, the benefits of below make it easy to see why the VoIP market is slated to reach $194.5 billion by 2024.
VoIP software offers major cost savings when compared to landline phones — often cutting down business costs between 49-69% on monthly communication expenses.
One of the most significant savings comes from eliminating the need for hardware (when choosing hosted VoIP services.)
Traditional PBX hardware can easily cost between $500-$2,000+ per user, and additional hardware can cost between $100-$1,000 per phone. However, VoIP makes use of existing VoIP equipment, (desktop computers, desk phones, smartphones, routers etc.) and most additional IP phone and hardware needs are managed by the PBX provider.
Plus, because VoIP places calls over the Internet, users will see major savings when it comes to long-distance phone calls. Since unlimited calling in the US and Canada is included in VoIP monthly plans, users can quickly shave off close to $500/month on long-distance costs. Most VoIP plans also include a set number of monthly toll-free minutes.
VoIP also helps to cut costs associated with:
- Additional phone lines
- International calls
- Startup communication costs
For more details about VoIP cost savings, see our post on the Advantages and Disadvantages of VoIP.
Scalability and Flexibility
Scalability is another huge advantage of VoIP.
Instead of paying for features or seats they don’t yet need, companies can choose specific plans and add-ons thanks to a la carte or bundled VoIP services.
Tiered pricing makes it easy for companies to scale their VoIP services as they evolve, adding new communication channels, integrations, advanced features, and more. Plus, users can instantly add these new features without any downtime or added IT costs.
By the end of 2021, roughly 1 in 4 American employees will work remotely.
VoIP software makes it easy to not only communicate with a geographically diverse remote workforce but also to monitor their activity and progress.
Features like one-click video meetings, file sharing, and editing, chat messaging, audio conferencing, live analytics, and user presence updates make it easy to communicate and collaborate with team members no matter where they are.
This also means customers are far more likely to be able to reach the agent or department they need on their first contact.
Traditional phone service offers a few basic call handling features like call holding, three-way calling, voicemail, and caller ID.
However, VoIP offers not only more communication channels but also far more advanced and high-quality communication features than standard phone service.
Users can create and edit custom call paths, provide a high level of customer self-service with IVR, (Interactive Voice Response) and rely on detailed analytics to get insight into common customer issues, productivity levels, average call handling time, and more.
We’ll speak more about VoIP features later in this post, but additional information is available in our piece on the best VoIP Features.
About half of today’s consumers use multiple communication channels when interacting with a business.
VoIP offers all-in-one omnichannel communications that let customers choose their preferred method of contacting support or sales departments. Popular channels include voice calling, email, SMS text messaging, live chat, video calling, and even social media messaging.
Regardless of which channel customers and agents connect on, communication and order history, notes, and other essential customer data from past interactions and CRM systems is synced and displayed. This allows agents and customers to pick up exactly where they left off on past conversations, even if those conversations took place on another channel.
VoIP software providers also offer extensive application integrations, meaning that companies can integrate existing third-party communication and collaboration tools into their VoIP interface.
This eliminates the need to choose between having to learn how to use new software or having to forgo essential functions. Instead, users can access all of their preferred tools within one unified dashboard.
VoIP Software Essential Features
VoIP business providers offers advanced features that aren’t available with traditional office phone systems.
Key features to look for include:
- ACD and IVR: Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) both eliminate the need for callers to speak to an agent directly. Instead, these features use AI, speech recognition, automation, and pre-recorded announcements to direct calls, offer input from the helpdesk, and even let customers pay bills over the phone via voice responses or dial tone input.
- Visual Voicemail: In addition to voice mailbox routing, VoIP systems offer visual voicemail, which transcribes voice messages and sends them as emails or SMS messages. Users may also receive an MP3 recording of voicemail messages in emails, set up voicemail notifications, and can quickly respond to priority messages.
- Call Recording and Transcription: VoIP systems offer automatic and on-demand call recording and transcriptions. Call transcriptions can be searched to determine keywords, the call quality and quality of support received, the common customer issues, and more.
- Advanced Call Handling: In addition to call transfers, call forwarding, and Do Not Disturb, VoIP call handling features allow users to block numbers, set advanced call routing strategies, create ring groups, schedule automatic callbacks, manage call queues, and more.
- Video Calling: Today’s business phone systems also include video conferencing, generally for between 100-250 users. This allows for face-to-face meetings anywhere, at any time. Meetings can be scheduled ahead of time, or users can instantly transition to a video call from a chat message. As with voice calls, video calls can be recorded and sent to participants after the meeting ends.
- Team Collaboration Tools: Team chat messaging, which allows for public/private channels, user tagging/mentions, polls and surveys, and more, all make instant, real-time communication easy. Additional team collaboration tools like screen sharing, remote screen control, file sharing, and co-annotation, task management, and even workflow management are included with VoIP systems. These tools are available during audio and video calls as well as the unified interface. Team chat messaging, which allows for public/private channels, user tagging/mentions, polls and surveys, and more, all make instant, real-time communication easy.
- Virtual Extensions and Phone Numbers: Many VoIP systems offer unlimited user extensions in addition to local telephone numbers, toll-free numbers, vanity numbers, and even local presence in multiple countries. Direct Inward Dialing and company directories make it easy for callers to find the exact extension or numbers they need.
- Mobile App Accessibility: In addition to a softphone app for desktop computers, users can access VoIP telephony, video calling, team chat messaging, and more via Mac iOS and Android mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Calls are easily forwarded to mobile devices without customers needing to dial additional phone numbers.
Other VoIP software features:
|Basic Features||Advanced Features|
|Call Forwarding||Voicemail to Email|
|Caller ID||Mobility Extension|
|Call Recording||Unified Communications|
|Emergency Number||Auto Provisioning|
|DND (Do Not Disturb)||Redundancy (failover)|
|Speed Dial||Time Conditions|
|Music On Hold|
How to Choose VoIP Software
Now that you’re aware of the features, advantages, and platforms for streamlined VoIP communications, you need to be certain you know what to look for in a provider.
Consider factors like:
- Guaranteed uptimes and Service Level Agreement (SLAs), available support channels, onboarding support
- Employee training
- Available third-party integrations, Communication APIs, and developer support
- Compatibility with existing hardware
- Available seats and overall scalability
- Current user feedback
For more details about top VoIP software pricing, plans, features, and user experience, check out our interactive comparison table of the best Business VoIP providers.
VoIP Software FAQs
Below, we’ve answered some of the most common VoIP software FAQs.
VoIP Software is a business communications tool that delivers voice calling over an Internet connection as opposed to traditional phone lines. It’s also referred to as virtual telephony, IP telephony, or Internet telephony.
VoIP software lets users communicate from anywhere, on any device, and across multiple communication channels like video, SMS, chat, fax, and more.
Though exact costs will vary by provider and features, users should expect to pay anywhere from $20.00 to $50.00/ user per month for VoIP services.
Any quality VoIP provider will have certain security measures in place, including:
PCI, HIPAA, and GDPR compliance
SOC 2 and ISO/IEC 20071 compliance
Meeting locks, spam blocking, number blocking
Our post on VoIP security provides additional information.
In most cases, yes. Most VoIP software is compatible with popular hard phone providers like Yealink, Cisco, Polycom, and more.
Users can always access the VoIP softphone via their desktop computers or web browsers, in addition to their mobile phones.
VoIP providers will have a list of all compatible hardware, and many also offer compatible desk phones for sale or for rent.
VoIP requires more bandwidth to successfully run, and problems like network latency, jitter, and dropped calls are often a sign of inadequate bandwidth.
VoIP calling generally requires at least 100kbps upload/download bandwidth per line. Specific providers will have more exact requirements.
Note that Internet access is not included in the price of VoIP software -- users are fully responsible for the Internet costs and maintenance.
Most VoIP services allow users to choose between month-to-month and annual payment plans, with annual commitments offering significant cost savings.
In general, you should expect to sign a one or two-year SLA contract with a VoIP provider. To learn more about what yours should include, read our Guide to Service Level Agreements (SLAs.)