Zoom has become a household name as an HD video conferencing platform, but not many know about its business VoIP service, Zoom Phone. This business phone system packs in several useful dialing features and comes in at two very reasonable price points that are SMB-friendly. However, is the service itself any good?
In this guide, we’re going to take a close look at this VoIP service so that you understand pricing, features, and what makes it stand out in a relatively crowded business communications market.
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What is Zoom Phone?
Zoom Phone is a cloud-based calling solution that is used when you need to quickly contact someone using VoIP. Unlike the traditional Zoom experience, there is no video on these calls. However, the features that you would find on a business phone system are all accessible and streamlined to create a better experience than is available through a traditional landline calling system.
In addition, if you would like to turn your call into a Zoom Meeting, it’s a straightforward process that only takes a single button press. You can invite additional attendees at any time or keep it a one-on-one personal meeting.
With Zoom Phone, your business will be able to communicate with customers and work internally using collaboration tools and features of Zoom, which means that in addition to voice, you will have access to audio conference rooms, messaging, and video conferences as well without changing platforms. As we covered in our Zoom Phone enhancements piece, Zoom is steadily making improvements to the software.
Who is Zoom Phone for?
Zoom phone is useful option for small businesses that are looking for an easy means to foster both better customer telecommunications. For existing Zoom Video subscribers, the service sets up in minutes, and your company can begin making and receiving calls immediately.
Unlike traditional Zoom, which is focused on conferencing, this service is specifically designed for businesses that are looking to add the features of a VoIP phone system to their existing Zoom video meetings. This type of dialing is very advantageous when using a service provider like Zoom because of its cloud-based nature.
With the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN), dialing via landlines requires extensive hardware on-premise, expansive copper wiring in your building, and expensive long-distance calling rates.
With a service like this one, the hardware is maintained remotely by the provider. You only need an internet connection, and the cost of long-distance calling is drastically reduced. In fact, the service allows for unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada without the need to incur local long-distance fees. Since VoIP is so versatile, more than 61% of businesses adopt VoIP services like Zoom at the end of their landline contracts.
In addition, out of the box, there are several Zoom Phone features that allow you to expand your repertoire by adding call routing, service management, and recording for calls. As a result, this makes for a much more well-rounded solution than what you might receive using traditional landline services. You also receive this without much hardware investment and there are multiple servers for georedundancy and higher uptimes.
Finally, with virtual phone numbers provided by a Zoom local or toll-free license, your business creates points of contact for your business. Do you want to appear local to your customers? Remember, based on a report by BrightLocal, 60% of customers prefer to reach smaller businesses by the phone, and a local number grants the illusion that the company is locally accessible.
Conversely, having a toll-free number also grants a more national presence. Customers feel more assured when a number has a 1-800 prefix – it indicates the business is larger and more reliable. Additionally, numbers like these cost nothing for the dialer. Both of these number types are available with this service, so you create the profile that best fits your customers.
Unfortunately, the service does not have international direct inward dialing (DID) numbers. These allow your business to appear local to international customers, but Zoom has indicated that this feature is on the horizon for customers looking to create inroads to international territories.
Zoom Phone Pricing
While this VoIP service does have two plans, the differences between the two are primarily in billing structure, not in dialing features. Zoom Phone is an add-on to Zoom Meetings, so you’ll need to be subscribed to that service first. You can even sign up for the paid phone service if you’re on Zoom Meeting’s free plan.
All of the same features can be found in both the metered and unlimited plans – you’ll just be paying for minutes with the metered tier. This is advantageous for different business types.
Here’s how this helps for different business types.
- Small Businesses and Startups: Not every business needs to be constantly calling customers and donors. With the metered plan, subscribers pay $10 per month and are charged by the minute. When there’s a push for calling, this is useful – you make the calls you need and just pay the base amount in future months where you’re not calling at all.
- Enterprises and Call Centers: For those businesses that have reps consistently reaching customers, this is the more affordable plan. You simply pay the blanket cost per extension, and your reps make all the calls they need without metered charges.
Features included in both plans
- Free extension-to-extension dialing
- Intelligent call routing and management options
- Secure high definition audio
- Apps for desktop and mobile applications
- IVR and auto-attendant tools to connect customers with the right agents
- Call recording and voicemail transcriptions that are readable on any device
Each plan has a single Zoom app for voice, video, voicemail, messaging, group meetings, and web conferencing, and each connects to PSTN, cellular, or VoIP calls with high call quality. The apps are also Windows, macOS, iPhone, and Android native.
During calls, both plans allow you to seamlessly add a third party for a conference. Zoom also has a relatively expansive list of supported devices for those with existing hardware.
Zoom also doesn’t tie you down. When you’re ready to cancel your subscription, there are no additional fees or fines. The service also renews automatically each month or year based on your preferences.
Zoom Phone Bottom Line: Flexible and Inexpensive VoIP
Zoom is a strong contender as a small business-friendly solution for breaking the grip of traditional landline communications and bringing your voice calls to the cloud. Zoom’s servers are in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Latin America, and the US, so you can expect a degree of reliability when using the service thanks to georedundancy. The provider is one of the few without a dyed-in-the-wool uptime guarantee or service level agreement (SLA), so there’s not much to protect you from outages.
Zoom is still a great option for audio quality; calls are crystal clear and features like call recording and call routing bring much utility. Also, establishing easy calls between team members has become incredibly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not convinced that Zoom Phone is for your organization? Need a more comprehensive enterprise-grade business communications solution that has UC features like screen share, cloud storage, and breakout rooms? We have comparison tables for both business and enterprise VoIP, so check those out to find your business’s next provider.