|Headquarters||Scottsdale, AZ||San Jose, CA||Belmont, CA||Atlanta, GA||Orem, UT|
|Year Founded||2006||April 21, 2011||2003||2000||2006|
|Service Availability||United States & Canada||40+ Countries||Worldwide||USA & Canada||50+ countries|
|Types of Service Offered||Business Phone Service, Hosted PBX, SIP Trunking, Call Center, Video Meetings, Web Conferencing, Team Messaging||Business Phone, Hosted PBX, Video Meetings, Web Conferencing, Webinar, Chat||Business VoIP, Hosted PBX, Web Conferencing, Video Meetings, Team Collaboration, Unified Communication, Paperless Fax||Business VoIP, Hosted PBX, Residential VoIP, SIP Trunking, Call Center Software, Web Conferencing, APIs||Business VoIP, Hosted PBX, Cloud Communication, Video Meetings, Web Conferencing, Team Messaging|
|Popular Service Plan||Professional Plan||US & CA Unlimited||Advanced Plan||Premium Unified Communications Plan||Standard Plan|
|Money Back Guarantee||Cancel Anytime||Cancel Anytime||30 days free trial. Cancel anytime.||Cancel Anytime, No Fees.||30 day free trial, cancel anytime|
|Free Trial||None||7 Days free trial||30 Days||Not Offered||30 day free trial|
|Hosted PBX Provider Services & Pricing Overview|
|Monthly Cost of Cheapest Service||$17.95||$10||$19.99||$14.99||$22.00|
|Amount of Lines Per Price Tier||1-4 Lines: $23.95/mo/user|
5-20 Lines: $21.95/mo/user
|No tier restrictions. Same price per user for all sizes||Core plan: $20/mo/user|
Advanced plan: $25/mo/user
Ultra plan: $35/mo/user
|1-10 Lines: $24.99/mo/user |
11-20 Lines: $27.99/mo/user
21-99 Lines: $24.99/mo/user
|1-10 Lines: $29.00/mo/user|
11-20 Lines: $26.00/mo/user
21-50 lines $26/mo/user
51-100 lines $24/mo/user
100+ lines $22/mo/user
|Month to Month Option|
|Metered Plans||Starts as $8.95 100 Minutes||$10/mo + pay per usage||$14.99/mo + $0.03/min|
|Number Porting Fee||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|Works with 3rd party Softphones|
|Toll Free Numbers||Number Provided Free (Incoming calls are $0.02/min)||$5/mo||$5/mo (2500 mins included)||$39.99/mo, No per minute charges|
|BYOD Option||Works with most IP Phones|
|Hosted PBX Providers - Compare All Available Features|
|Advanced Call Forwarding|
|Anonymous Call Rejection|
|Call Recording||Add-on||*Free to all new customers|
|Do Not Disturb|
|Find Me/Follow Me|
|Live Call Transcription||Add-on|
|Paperless Faxing||Starts at $7.99/mo/500 Pages||$4.95/mo Unlimited Virtual Fax||Free V-Fax Only|
|Push To Talk|
|Shared Call Appearance|
|Collaboration and Video Conferencing|
|Built-In Calendar||Native and Integrations||Native and Integrations||Integrations||Integrations||Native and Integrations|
|Concurrent Team Rooms||3||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|One-Click Team Huddle|
|Video Conferencing Capacity||250||500||200||25||250|
|Video Conferencing Length||45 minutes||30 hours||No time limit||Not listed||Unlimited|
|Number of Server Locations||8||17 worldwide||19 in North America and 28 worldwide||N/A||10|
|Fully Redundant Network|
|Service Level Agreement|
|Realtime System Status Monitoring|
|Hours||24/7||24/7/365 Live Agent Support||24/7||24/7||24/7|
|Online Ticket Submissions|
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What to Look for in a Hosted PBX Provider
When you rely on external services to host, manage and maintain your phone system, it’s important to ensure you choose a provider you can rely on. You also want to pick a provider that offers the communication channels and features that fit your company’s needs, while meeting your budget. Use the categories below to refine your search and pick the best hosted PBX provider for your company.
Many hosted PBX providers offer more than VoIP calling. In addition to phone, providers often include SMS texting, internal team chat, and video conferencing. Some hosted PBX providers offer just a few of these channels and some offer channel access that varies according to each plan’s tier.
If your team only needs to connect with customers via phone, you can save money choosing a provider that only offers phone, without other channels. However, if your team wants to message internally or collaborate via video, opt for a provider and plan that offers all those channels at an affordable rate. Many providers provide all 4 core channels for less than $25 monthly per user.
Routing features enable you to handle incoming calls efficiently, helping callers reach the right agent and organizing calls in queues. Providers offer a variety of helpful routing features that enable you to serve your customers better, and help your agents receive calls that they’re well-suited to receive.
For example, IVR menus help you provide callers with self-service options they can navigate to reach the right destination. Ring groups help you link multiple agents together, so that they share inbound call responsibility in case one is busy. Automatic call distribution uses intelligent routing rules–even skills-based routing–to determine where inbound calls should go. Call queues help you distinguish agent groups with different specialties or departments, to meet specific caller needs.
Check out a provider’s pricing page to study their routing features, to find one that offers the intricacy you want.
If a hosted PBX provider offers video and team-chat messaging, they likely also offer collaboration features. Alongside team chat, some providers offer file sharing and team threads, where users can tag each other and even assign tasks on some platforms.
In video meetings, providers offer real-time collaborative features like breakout rooms, whiteboards, screen sharing, team chat, and polls. Remote, hybrid, and international teams may especially benefit from these tools, as they mimic the immediacy of face-to-face interactions.
A cloud-based phone system’s analytics are invaluable in helping administrators evaluate agent performance, gain insights about call activity and usage, and make informed business decisions. While some providers merely offer call logs that record call history, many hosted PBX providers offer highly intelligent analytics platforms with real-time and historical data metrics and KPIs.
Popular KPIs include the following:
- Call and message volume, sorted by time of day
- Channel usage statistics
- Customer sentiment scores
- Queue statistics, like wait time and queue length
- Average call length
Advanced analytics platforms also include trends with this data, enabling you to see how it varies by hour, day, week, month, or season. You can sort this data by department or user, to focus in on how particular agents are performing. Some providers also include real-time call monitoring, enabling supervisors to listen or barge in on live calls.
While many providers reserve advanced and real-time analytics for their higher-tier plans, some providers include advanced analytics on all plans.
Pricing varies widely between providers. Some hosted PBX providers offer plans as affordable as $10 monthly per user, while high-tier and feature-rich plans can often reach above $30 per month. Each provider offers multiple pricing tiers, with unique suites of communication channels and features.
When comparing providers, examine each tier’s cost and features to find one that fits the number of users your company has.
Reliability and Network
The features included with your service won’t matter without a solid, reliable telephone network. If the provider’s servers go down, your phones go down. Your chosen provider must have a redundant and robust network with a high service level guarantee. Providers should guarantee over 99% uptime.
Further, each provider offers a unique unlimited calling area. While most support unlimited calling in the US and Canada, some include unlimited calling to Mexico and other countries.
Find a provider that operates data centers in multiple locations. You need redundancy around the world but you also need an east coast and west coast data center in the U.S.
If your provider’s servers go down or you have any other issues with your service, you need consistent and accessible customer service. Certain providers offer US-based customer service, while others are based abroad. Some providers even offer 24/7 customer service, but may limit this to their higher-paying customers.
Methods of contact can vary with phone calls, email, online tickets, or web chat.
As one of the major benefits of adopting a hosted PBX, you would want a provider that is as flexible as the service can be.
With a hosted solution scaling up and down is very simple. A provider that allows this flexibility at little to no cost will be much easier to scale with. When it comes to expanding not only users but also features and overall service, you need a flexible service.
Some providers may charge extra fees for adding lines, removing lines, or turning features on and off.
Benefits of Hosted PBX Solutions
Below are the main benefits of using a hosted PBX phone system, instead of an on-premise or legacy PBX system.
Compared to a legacy PBX system, hosted PBX offers a much wider and more dynamic suite of features that support many use cases.
Hosted PBX systems include many types of features:
- Collaboration tools like file-sharing and video meetings
- Analytics that drive evaluation and monitoring
- Automations that save users time
- Communication channels that enable you to connect with customers on their terms, through their preferred methods
- Routing tools that organize calls and help your inbound callers connect with the right agents
A legacy PBX system can rack up costs with its Initial setup, ongoing maintenance, and upgrade expenses. Since your hosted PBX provider handles each step of this process, it saves your company’s funds in multiple ways.
Further, hosted PBX systems unify a host of features and communication channels–such as video conferencing and analytics–that would cost substantially more if you added them to your phone service individually, from separate apps.
Ease of Use and Setup
As the initial setup is handled by the service provider, there won’t be many headaches on your end to get your system running. Adding lines or changing features is as simple as logging into the online account management portal and ticking different boxes.
Hosted PBX providers have access to an unlimited amount of local numbers, and many providers also offer numbers based around the globe. This allows you to assign numbers from a unified area code to all employees, no matter where they’re based, retaining a cohesive business identity.
You can also use local numbers to establish a familiar presence where your customers live, even if your company is based far away.
With desktop softphone applications and even mobile phone applications, your workers can access your phone system from anywhere. You’re no longer tied down to just your desk phone, as you can also set one number to ring every device.
Users can work remotely, from a coffee shop, and even on vacation internationally. Using the VoIP phone system requires just an internet connection.
Hosted PBX providers offer tiered subscription packages, which you can mix and match for each user in your company. When you sign up for a new subscription, you can purchase and assign a phone number to the new user to have them up and running in minutes. All the new user has to do is log into the application portal.
Your system won’t be limited by what hardware you have on-premise, and you can scale up or down at the flick of a switch to best fit your needs.
When you use hosted PBX, your business projects your professional image with a robust fail-proof phone system. It will come packaged with features normally reserved for large enterprise systems, like multiple communication channels, an auto-attendant, and call routing. These robust features can make even a small operation look like a substantial enterprise.
On-premise PBX systems are limited by the hardware that you have set up. Hosted solutions, on the other hand, let you streamline your workflow by integrating the SaaS tools that are already in your stack.
Popular hosted PBX integrations:
- CRM systems like Salesforce, HubSpot, Sugar CRM and more
- Contact Centers like Zendesk, ServiceNow, Zoho, and more
- Collaboration apps like Asana, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, and more
Any service provider worth their subscription price will ensure top-notch security on all their cloud-based solutions. Telecom providers offer protection like encrypted data, user authentication, password-protected meetings, and more.
This will ensure that both your information, as well as the data of your customers, remains safe at all times.
Most of the popular PBX providers guarantee 99% uptime or greater in their SLA which ensures customers can always reach you. Furthermore, this also eliminates the need for preventative maintenance or costly repairs that on-premise PBX systems require.
Setting Up Your Hosted PBX System
Here’s how to get set up with a hosted PBX system:
- Prepare for a new number
- Assign a subscription plan to each user
- Configure your dial plan
- Evaluate performance
- Review your bill
Step 1: Prepare For a New Number
If you are porting over your existing number, don’t cancel with your existing provider until the number is completely ported to the new carrier. If you have a new number, be sure and let everyone know.
Send out an email blast, change it on your website, and make the change to any social media accounts you have. If you have a temporary number during the porting process, route calls to your cell phones for that brief time. Number porting can throw a wrench in your sales and customer service efforts so be sure you plan carefully.
While most hosted PBX providers allow you to port in your pre-existing numbers, you can also purchase new virtual numbers around the world–including toll-free and vanity numbers.
Step 2: Assign a Subscription Plan to Each User
Hosted PBX providers typically offer two to four pricing plans, each with a distinct suite of features. As you port and purchase numbers for your company’s users, you also must select a subscription plan for each user.
Many providers allow you to mix and match plans, but some providers require that your whole phone system uses the same plan. Carefully review each plan’s routing options and channel offerings, choosing an option that provides each user with the capabilities and channels to meet the needs of their role.
Step 3: Configure Your Dial Plan
One of the first things you need to do is organize how your calls will be routed. You’ll have to define several call rules.
Make a plan for which hours your desk phones will ring. You’ll also need rules to handle simultaneous and sequential ringing. During off-hours, decide whether to send them to voicemail or to another phone. If you choose to send them to your cell, make sure it’s reliable.
Use your phone system’s IVR menu customization tool to input greeting messages and create routing paths for inbound callers. Assign users to queues to receive inbound calls.
Step 4: Evaluate Performance
Establish a weekly or monthly routine for evaluating your phone system’s performance using analytics and reports in the Administrator portal. Periodically check the quality of service (QoS) reports to make sure that call quality is good, and keep an eye on queue wait times to make sure that customers are being routed effectively.
Finally, review customer sentiment scores to ensure that your support strategy is continually improving.
Step 5: Review Your Bill
Review the first and second month’s bill to make sure that you have all the services you paid for. There are setup fees that may or may not be waived, activation fees, and number porting fees.
If there’s something you don’t understand about your bill, be sure to call into customer support, as they will explain it to you or fix the problem.
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