What is a business phone system?
A business phone system is a multiline phone system with features like call recording, voicemail-to-email functionality, ring groups to call multiple employees at once, unlimited calling, automated menus, and voicemail. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), private branch exchange (PBX), and key system unit are examples of business phone system types (KSU). The best small business phone systems utilize VoIP technology, allowing you to use your company’s internet connection for the entire system.
In business settings, VoIP, or cloud-based phone systems, have largely replaced conventional landlines. With the aid of important software integrations, today’s modern phone service providers offer unified communications across phone, video, chat, text, and fax with the goal of maximizing every conversation that takes place for businesses. While some systems provide SIP trunking to integrate with outdated on-premises telephone hardware, the majority of service providers only use the cloud and don’t need any hardware to make calls. Calls can still be made using an IP desk phone that has a traditional appearance, but most users prefer to use a headset and a desktop application or just their mobile device. The top business phone systems available today come equipped with a variety of call management tools, including virtual receptionists, sophisticated call routing, customized business hours, and many other practical features.
RingCentral: Best Business Phone System for Collaboration
RingCentral: The Best Collaboration Phone System RingCentral has over 2,000 business software apps and productivity tools integrated, in addition to an open API. Up to 200 people can join video meetings that you host. With the entry-level Essentials plan, RingCentral’s customer support hours are only available during business days.
RingCentral MVP is a special cloud-based business phone system for teamwork. With excellent reception, high dependability, and an advertised uptime of 99.999%, the platform provides messaging, video, and phone (MVP) communication capabilities. RingCentral is a useful tool for hybrid teams and remote workers because it has features that turn any space into a virtual conference room for last-minute scrums or scheduled meetings. Up to 1,000 people can join an unlimited audio conference; the limit for video conferences is 200.
Editor’s score: 95/100
The industry-leading list of software integrations across categories, such as analytics, automation, collaboration, CRM, and productivity, is one area where RingCentral truly stands out. RingCentral’s extensive app gallery offers far more integrations than any other business phone system service provider we’ve reviewed, especially when combined with an open API for customized solutions.
With thoughtful additions like the hand-raise feature, which kindly alerts the group when someone has a question or needs a moment to take a note, RingCentral also provides one of the best video conferencing tools. RingCentral offers a complete digital workspace for team messaging where users can send direct messages, bookmark crucial notes, look up older information, create personal folders, and share video recordings to effectively collaborate while away from the office.
AI is used in video meetings by RingCentral in a number of ways. The platform can automatically recognize the important moments and clip them together for a highlight reel for those who miss a meeting. We appreciate that this lets viewers skip to the most crucial segments without having to watch the entire video. AI is additionally used to produce real-time transcripts of meetings as they take place. This can be particularly useful for people who join the group at a later time and want to find out what they missed.
RingCentral has improved the functionality of RingCentral Rooms, its video conferencing room service, as more and more employees are going back to the office. There are new hardware options, such as interactive touch displays and AI that recognizes who is speaking in the room and automatically focuses the image on them. New whiteboard tools and ways to connect via laptops and mobile devices are also provided by RingCentral Rooms.
The security protocols used by RingCentral help set it apart from its rivals. End-to-end encryption protects the entire platform, whether you are conducting voice or video calls, sending messages, or hosting video conferences. Users should feel secure knowing that all of their communications are safe and secure as a result.
With an annual subscription, the costs for the four plans offered by RingCentral MVP — Essentials, Standard, Premium, and Ultimate — range from $19.99 to $49.99 per user per month. The most popular plan, Essentials, has a 20 user maximum. If you purchase more than 99 user accounts, discounts are offered. Along with these additional features, RingCentral also provides vanity numbers, high-volume SMS, and its Rooms virtual meeting license. RingCentral’s new Webinar product was free at the time of our review, saving users $400 per month.
Nextiva: Best Business Phone System for Multisite Retail and Healthcare
To give businesses a polished presence for incoming calls, Nextiva provides professionally recorded greetings.
All subscription plans from Nextiva come with 24/7 technical support via phone, email, and chat.
The most expensive Enterprise plan is the only one that includes the visual voicemail feature.
Because of its strong privacy and security settings and integrated CRM software, NextivaOne’s cloud-based business phone system is a perfect tool for multisite retail and healthcare businesses. If your company regularly handles private patient or customer information, Nextiva’s call encryption, round-the-clock network monitoring, and compliance with SOC 2, ISO/IEC 27001, PCI, and HIPAA compliance are a perfect fit. The NextOS admin portal for the system is among the most user-friendly we’ve reviewed among rivals, including Ooma and 88. Multisite retail and healthcare organizations make up a sizeable portion of the platform’s overall subscriber base, claims Nextiva.
Editor’s score: 96/100
Call Pop, which automatically displays helpful caller information for all incoming and outgoing calls, is another notable feature for sales and healthcare organizations. Call Pop, which is included with all of Nextiva’s business phone plans, gives agents information about the caller’s previous interactions, overall account value, survey responses, and sentiment. This information can be used to provide helpful context and improve the caller experience.
The fact that Nextiva uses data and process visualizations to make it simpler to create and edit complex call flows and auto attendants is one of the reasons it is so user-friendly. The entire process is mapped out for call flows, making it simple to comprehend the entire system at a glance. The majority of the time, helpful pop-up instructions and prefilled drop-down menus that contain all of the necessary information to carry out a desired action properly are always present when setting up new systems or adding new users.
Additionally, NextivaOne makes it simple to keep track of every conversation you have with clients and colleagues. Users can view all communications with each person in one place thanks to its threaded conversation feature, regardless of whether they took place via voicemail, email, text message, or Slack conversation. Employees gain from not having to switch back and forth between different applications thanks to this feature.
For the smallest businesses, NextivaOne’s three business communication plans, Essential, Professional, and Enterprise, range from $23.95 to $37.95 per user per month. Larger businesses can save up to 25% on their per-user costs by purchasing additional user accounts. Additionally, Nextiva offers a wide range of IP phones, conference phones, and analog adapters that can be used to upgrade old desk phones or fax machines. Every plan comes with unlimited domestic and international calling, an auto attendant, call groups, round-the-clock customer service, email integrations, mobile apps, and more. Additionally, Nextiva provides contracts up to 36 months that might qualify for additional discounts.
Ooma: Best Business Phone System for Small Businesses
There are more than 35 calling features and communication tools included in every Ooma business phone plan.
No long-term contracts are required with Ooma’s flat, transparent pricing.
A desktop app and video conferencing are not included in the entry-level Office plan.
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One of the most user-friendly business phone systems we’ve reviewed is the Ooma Office platform. The product aimed at small businesses was created especially for non-technical business managers and owners. The straightforward dashboard is especially well suited for small businesses that don’t spend much time interacting with spreadsheets and other data-driven tools because it has a consumer-oriented feel. More than 35 calling and communication features, flat pricing, round-the-clock customer service, and no long-term commitments are all included in the company’s basic service. Representatives for Ooma claim that the company receives more than half of its annual revenue from its small business clients.
Editor’s score: 94/100
Only Nextiva and 88 are in our opinion more user-friendly than Ooma, so it is in the top tier of providers. Even if you’ve never used any contemporary call management tools, setting up features like the virtual receptionist with text-to-speech greetings for call routing is quick and simple. In order to fill a customer’s profile with useful data, one practical tool, Caller Info Match, can automatically fetch data from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many CRMs. If you order new IP phones and conferencing equipment, everything can be preconfigured to work right out of the box and arrive in 24 hours. Ooma offers base stations that turn outdated analog phones and fax machines into IP devices and is compatible with many major phone manufacturers.
There are three small business phone systems offered by Ooma: Office ($19.95/user/month), Office Pro ($24.95/user/month), and Ooma Pro Plus ($29.95/user/month). The mobile app, virtual receptionist, call park, call forwarding, ring groups, voicemail, intercom, multi-device ring, and SMS are features that are included with all plans. The video conferencing feature, the desktop application, call recording, improved call blocking, voicemail transcription, Caller Info Match, and higher usage limits for extension monitoring are all included in the Office Pro plan. Pro Plus, the newest plan, comes with hot desks, call queues, and an integration with Salesforce.
Shared voicemail boxes, virtual receptionist scheduling, call queue agent log in and log out, options to transfer calls to external phone lines, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 integration are additional call flow features and tools that are available to Pro Plus users.
Vonage: Best Business Phone System for Best for APIs and Customization
To enable you to create a unique unified communications platform, Vonage provides a wide range of add-ons, APIs, and integrations.
More than 50 common business phone communication features are included with every plan.
Some of the communications tools, features, and APIs have pay-as-you-go pricing, which may not be economical for all businesses.
With every plan, Vonage provides a special combination of more than 50 business phone features and round-the-clock U.S. customer support. The only competitors to its entry-level plan for small businesses are 88 and Ooma. Vonage offers 17 paid add-ons in addition to its standard features, including faxing equipment, on-demand call recording, call queues, individualized IT support, and an AI virtual assistant for voice-activated customer self-service. In addition to mobile apps, support in more than 40 countries, and over 96 international numbers for local inbound calls, all Vonage customers enjoy uptime of 99.999%.
Editor’s score: 86/100
Dialpad: Best Business Phone System for Voice Intelligence
Voice intelligence software for meeting transcription is included with each and every Dialpad business communications plan.
To send meeting recordings, highlights, and action items to attendees, use Dialpad’s special post-call summaries as a virtual assistant.
There are no video conferencing tools available in Dialpad.
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Dialpad is a cutting-edge business phone system that uses voice intelligence to record and analyze conversations better than any other service provider. With a built-in AI that serves as a dedicated receptionist to take thorough notes and send post-call summaries, the hosted VoIP unified communications platform supports calls, texts, and voicemail in addition to voice and data messaging. While Dialpad’s phone plan does not include video communications, it does provide Meetings, a free and more feature-rich paid video platform that integrates with the rest of Dialpad’s communication tools. Dialpad is compatible with some plans on iOS, Android, Mac, PC, web browsers, and desk phones.
Editor’s score: 96/100
Excellent call analytics are made possible by Dialpad’s capacity to accurately transcript calls in real time. With the aid of simple-to-understand charts and graphs, the analytics dashboard displays call volume over time and identifies calling patterns. Through heat maps for call volume trends and response times across the organization, you have access to additional visual data. Beyond just providing raw data, Dialpad can also perform speech coaching by pointing out instances when an agent needs to slow down for the sake of the customer or filler words like “um.” Dialpad offers a wide range of management tools for handling calls, including custom routing and ring groups that let you designate certain teams to answer calls with simultaneous or sequential ringing across all of their connected devices.
Artificial intelligence technology is also a part of Dialpad’s contact center services. When generating scorecard results, its QA scorecard automatically flags particular keywords and behaviors. As a result, call center agents may receive feedback more quickly.
Standard, Pro, and Enterprise are the three business communication plans offered by Dialpad. The Enterprise plan has no listed pricing, so you will need to call for a quote. Prices range from $15 to $25 per user per month. All plans come with unlimited domestic and international calling, mobile apps, call recording, multilevel auto attendant, personalized call routing, and more. A 100% uptime service-level agreement, desk phone support, local number support in more than 50 countries, 24/7 support, and more than a dozen integrations are all features of advanced plans. Dialpad has a 14-day risk-free trial period.
GoTo Connect: Best Business Phone System for Remote Teams
Up to 250 people can participate in video conferences using the platform, which also supports 25 simultaneous webcams.
More than 180 types of desk phones can use GoTo Connect.
GoTo Connect doesn’t list the various plans’ customer support hours on their website.
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For remote teams, GoTo Connect is a reliable VoIP business phone system. Across phone, video, and chat, the unified communications platform was designed for flexible work. Through desktop, web, iOS, and Android apps, GoTo Connect enables you to make or receive calls from any internet-connected device. Many employees are already familiar with the GoTo family of products for IT support, remote device access, training, events, and conference rooms, making the transition to GoTo Connect simple if you are at least somewhat familiar with the interface of the navigational tool. GoTo Connect has also partnered with dozens of other software providers, including HubSpot, Salesforce, Zendesk, Marketo, to offer simple integrations that keep everything running smoothly.
Editor’s score: 89/100
Zoom: Best Business Phone System for Video Conferencing
The complete set of cutting-edge, cloud-based call management features and support are included in all plans. Zoom offers free video conferencing whiteboard tools that you can use. Aside from Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft, Google, and a few contact center platforms, Zoom Phone has relatively few integrations.
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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Zoom became the industry leader in video conferencing and transformed the way businesspeople thought about meetings. You might not be aware that Zoom also provides a strong phone system with contemporary communication features in addition to its well-liked video communications tools. All of Zoom’s metered and unmetered phone plans include the same extensive collection of top-tier features and tools, including advanced call handling, integrations, 24/7 support, SMS, real-time reporting, video conferencing, and call recording, as opposed to plans built around tiers of progressively more sophisticated features. A Zoom Phone plan might be an affordable and feature-rich option for unified communications if you are fully aware of your calling-minute needs.
Editor’s score: 88/100
Grasshopper: Best Virtual Phone System
The same practical calling features and tools for small businesses are included in all plans. The seven-day free trial for Grasshopper gives you access to all features, 100 minutes, and 100 texts so you can thoroughly test the system. Only computers and mobile devices are supported by the platform.
A dependable virtual phone system made to separate personal and professional calls is called Grasshopper. The platform was created for independent contractors and small businesses who are prepared to switch from a personal number to a business number without investing in any additional hardware. Toll-free numbers, vanity numbers, local numbers, and the option to port over a business number from another provider are all available through Grasshopper. All subscribers have access to round-the-clock customer service via phone, email, chat, Twitter, and Facebook.
Editor’s score: 80/100
8×8: Best Business Phone System for Basic Business Phone Service
You can combine different plans with 8×8 to create a cost-effective, personalized phone solution that’s ideal for your staff.
Some plans offer unlimited calling to 48 nations.
Faxing is not supported by the entry-level plan.
The VoIP phone system 88 Business Communications platform has great call management features for basic business service. The company’s entry-level plan, which is affordable and feature-rich and will work well for many small businesses with fewer than 11 employees, provides the ideal balance of features and pricing.
88 is among the most user-friendly products we’ve reviewed among its rivals, including Ooma and Nextiva, in terms of usability. The dashboard was created with non-technical business owners in mind, making it easy to understand for someone who has never set up or used the features of a contemporary, cloud-based phone system. Since 88 allows you to mix and match plans, unlike most providers, you can make sure that each of your employees has access to the calling features and resources they require without having to pay extra for those who don’t use the phone frequently.
Editor’s score: 95/100
A modern phone system with features like multilevel auto-attendants and professionally recorded greetings can give many new and small businesses a polished appearance and feel. Another way to convey professionalism is through branded video conferencing, which 88 lets you personalize with distinctive backgrounds, business logos, and vanity URLs. Regardless of the size or age of your company, 88 makes it simple to present a professional image whenever you interact with customers, suppliers, or business partners. Unlimited domestic calling, visual voicemail, robust call management tools, unlimited video conferencing, meeting recording, meeting transcription, and file sharing are features that are included in all 88 communications plans.
The three business phone plans offered by 88 – Express, X2 and X4 – range in price from $15 to $44 per user per month. The first month is free with the Express plan, which is the lowest-priced option, and an additional 30-day trial. On the X2 and X4 plans, an annual subscription can save you up to 25% per month. With advanced calling features, you can make unlimited calls to 48 different countries and use “monitor, whisper, and barge” to share coaching advice with the agent while remaining silent on some calls. You can intervene whenever necessary to help solve a complex problem or close a significant deal. The service offered by 88 is supported by a 99.999% uptime guarantee or service-level agreement, like the majority of business phone service providers.
net2phone: Best Business Phone System for Scaling Businesses
Every plan offers limitless domestic and international calling to more than 40 nations.
Web and mobile apps provide access to more than 40 VoIP features.
Online faxing is available only as part of the Office Power plan, which is the most expensive.
A cloud PBX provider called Net2phone was created to enhance business communications and promote expansion. All essential VoIP call management features, including welcome messages, call recording, call forwarding, call transferring, call queues, music on hold, and voicemail, are included in its platform. To find and fix inefficiencies, Net2phone combines real-time communication analytics with performance-based data. To stay connected both inside and outside of the office, you can access this unified communications platform via the web and mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. All plans include unlimited telephone and email support.
Editor’s score: 83/100
Best Business Phone System for Midsize Businesses: Kinetic Business by Windstream
Plans from Kinetic Business by Windstream are available in 16 foreign markets and can support up to 20,000 users.
There are more than 100 business-class communications features available.
Regarding some of the system’s features and cost, the company is evasive.
A cloud-hosted VoIP phone system called Kinetic Business by Windstream provides unified communications for calling, voicemail, faxing, instant messaging, and conferencing. You can easily alter call flows or individual business hours thanks to the platform’s centralized, web-based admin tools and employee self-service capabilities. No data is ever stored on desk phones, and every conversation, meeting, and message is encrypted. In addition to third-party integrations with Salesforce, Skype for Business, Google, Office 365, HubSpot, Accelo, and other services, all plans come with round-the-clock customer support.
Editor’s score: 82/100
BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEM COSTS
Depending on the features and level of service, a business phone system typically costs $15 to $50 per user per month. In many instances, advertised prices are listed under the presumption that a sizable portion of users will use an annual payment plan. Generally speaking, larger businesses that purchase numerous accounts and sign an annual contract experience a per-user price reduction of up to 25%. Small businesses with fewer than ten employees should pay close attention to advertised pricing because it frequently preselects a plan with more than twenty users and annual payment pricing because these may not accurately reflect what is actually available to them.
Pay-as-you-go “metered” pricing for calling and messaging is offered by some providers, like Zoom, but this arrangement is uncommon. The majority of service providers offer unlimited domestic and international calling, with additional per-minute charges for international calls that vary by region and service provider.
Many providers are able to reduce their monthly costs by adding add-ons here and there in place of standard features. This is a great way for many businesses to cut costs by omitting features like call recording that might not be used by everyone. Other companies use add-ons to create a unique phone system that’s ideal for their long-term objectives. Most service providers do not offer this level of flexibility, although some service providers do permit businesses to mix and match plans to support various employees effectively.
Last but not least, the majority of business phone service providers sell and rent preconfigured IP desk phones and other phone hardware that costs between $60 and $400. Desk phones aren’t necessary to use a cloud-based phone system, though.
CHOOSING A BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEM
There are many things to take into account when selecting a business phone system. The system must, first and foremost, have all the features and capabilities that your company requires. Can it accommodate all the employees who require the service? Does it have all the features that your company needs or would find useful?
Some companies only need basic calling features like caller ID and voicemail, whereas others also need extra features like ring groups, an automated attendant, and on-hold music. Think about any additional communication tools your company might require. Are you more interested in a unified communications system that includes features like video conferencing and instant messaging, or are you just looking for a system that lets you talk on the phone? Your response will direct you as you look for a new business phone system.
The dependability of a business phone system should be taken into account. If a phone system is down when you need it, it is of no use. This is crucial for a cloud-hosted solution in particular. Find out the annual uptime percentage from each provider. Find out what the company is doing to address the problems and boost its reliability if it isn’t 99.999%. Also inquire about the service-level agreements and any uptime-related clauses in the contract. If the system doesn’t achieve a specific uptime percentage, many providers of business phone systems will give their customers a refund.
You need a phone provider that offers on-premises systems if cloud-hosted systems aren’t a good fit for your company. Instead of using a cloud-hosted PBX, your company would house all the equipment on-site with an on-premises system. While these systems don’t have as many ongoing monthly fees as cloud-based systems, they do have higher upfront costs.
Very small businesses might want to think about whether they really need a phone system with desk phones on-site. If a business can get by with mobile phones, it might be better to consider a virtual phone system. These programs link employees’ mobile phones to the main business number. An automated attendant who can connect callers to a specific employee or department answers the phone when they dial the main business number. Instead of a conventional office phone, the call is routed to the appropriate employee. A virtual phone system is excellent for businesses with a large remote workforce, as well as for solo entrepreneurs, in addition to very small businesses.
Finally, think about the different kinds of customer service the phone company provides. If your company doesn’t have a full-time IT manager or employees who can handle problems, you’ll want a provider of business phone systems who will be accessible to you whenever you have questions, preferably through a variety of channels and online resources.
TYPES OF BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEMS
There are several options for businesses in need of a multiline phone system. The options differ depending on factors like the cost structure, how the connections are made, and where the equipment is housed, among others. [Learn more about four-line telephone systems.]
A PBX is the piece of hardware that enables the ability to place and receive calls. Businesses receive all of the features and tools offered by unified communications systems, such as automated attendants, call queues, and ring groups, from PBX technology, whether it is located onsite at a business or in the cloud.
Traditional phone system wiring and connections are used by landline phone systems, which are supplied by local and regional phone companies. These systems require onsite PBX hardware, which is maintained and updated by your internal IT team. A significant upfront capital investment is also necessary for these systems to purchase all of the PBX hardware. However, as more phone system manufacturers stop producing equipment to support this model, landline systems are becoming obsolete.
VoIP systems rely on internet connections to make calls, as opposed to landline systems, which use conventional copper wiring connections. By doing this, you can use the same internet connection your business does to go online to operate your phone system. Why VoIP for Business Makes Sense in the Related Article Cloud-based and on-premises VoIP systems are both available.
- VoIP services hosted in the cloud: VoIP services hosted in the cloud: These phone systems keep their PBX hardware there. This indicates that upkeep and improvement are the responsibility of the phone system provider. All you need to do to use a cloud-hosted system is connect the configured IP phones from your company to your local area network. The upfront costs for these systems are typically nonexistent. Businesses instead pay a per-user monthly fee. Costs per user per month typically range from $15 to $60.
- On-premises VoIP: These systems resemble landline systems in that your company’s PBX hardware is housed there. You must manage all repairs and maintenance. The distinction is that these systems continue to enable calls made over an internet connection as opposed to a landline. This allows you to install any security measures you desire and gives your company more control over the phone system’s functionality. However, on-premises VoIP systems demand a sizable up-front financial commitment in addition to lower monthly costs to cover the necessary connections for placing and receiving calls.
Virtual Phone System
A virtual phone system is an additional choice for companies. Even office phones are not necessary for these systems. Essentially, a virtual system functions as a large call-forwarding tree. These systems are configured to automatically forward all calls to your main business number to your staff members’ mobile devices. You have complete control over how and where the calls are forwarded. These programs only charge monthly fees.
BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEM FEATURES
Numerous useful features are included in the business phone systems of today for small businesses. Perhaps the biggest advantage of cloud-hosted systems is that they have made it possible for small businesses to access a wide range of features without having to shell out a lot of cash. In the past, only larger companies could afford feature-rich systems due to the investment needed to install the necessary hardware.
- Unlimited calling: Many VoIP phone systems available today are cloud-hosted and offer free unlimited domestic calling. This provides you with a fixed monthly service fee that isn’t affected by the volume of calls your company places and receives.
- Automated attendants: Calls to your company are answered by an auto attendant, who then directs calls to the appropriate staff members or divisions.
- Ring groups: This feature enables you to group employees so that all of their phones will ring if a caller needs someone from that group, such as customer service. You can decide whether or not you want the phones to ring sequentially or simultaneously.
- Voicemail: Many business phone systems provide voicemail-to-email functionality in addition to traditional voicemail services. This feature allows employees to read or listen to their voicemails while away from the office by sending voicemail transcriptions or audio recordings to their email inbox.
- Call recording: You now have the option to record calls. These recordings are then saved on your computer or in the cloud for later playback.
Extension dialing, call forwarding, call queues, and integrations with services like Microsoft Office and Google Workspace are additional beneficial features that many business phone systems provide.
These systems also provide tools like video conferencing, instant messaging, presence indicators, and online meetings that can improve a company’s ability to collaborate.
Unified Communications Solutions
Business phone systems of today provide a lot more than just a way to make and receive calls. Several of our top recommendations are unified communications systems, as are many of today’s solutions.
Unified communications systems support all of the ways that employees now communicate with customers, clients, and coworkers rather than just focusing on a business’s calling needs. This includes text messaging, voice calls, audio and video conferencing, instant messaging, and online faxing.
Previously, numerous of these components were offered by various vendors. A company might have used one provider for its phone system, another for conference calling, and a third for video conferencing, for instance. All of those are connected by unified communications platforms.
- Phone calls: Using this conventional phone service, staff members can place and receive calls. The vast majority of providers provide both local and toll-free numbers.
- Conference calling: A conference bridge is a feature of unified communications systems that enables you to host your own conference calls. Depending on the provider, a call can have a certain number of participants. While some systems can accommodate five to ten users simultaneously, others can handle hundreds.
- Video and web conferencing: With the aid of video conferencing hardware or a computer fitted with a camera and microphone, you and your staff can host video conferences. The majority of these services enable screen sharing, allowing participants to view presentations or documents. Each provider has a different limit on how many people can be on a video call at once. There could be one or as many as 100.
- Instant messaging: Instant messaging is a common feature of unified communications systems. You can communicate with your staff via messages to clarify information and work on projects together.
- Text messaging: Some solutions let you send texts from your business line because texting has become so common. This enables you and your staff to text customers without giving out your personal phone numbers.
- Faxing: Instead of using a dedicated fax machine, these systems let you send faxes online. From the platform, you can send a fax to a recipient’s fax or email.
Having all of these tools on one platform can make communication much easier for employees, making them more productive.
Unified communications system growth has been significantly accelerated by cloud-hosted systems. You can get all of these features through a cloud-hosted service for a small monthly per-user fee, which is much more affordable than paying tens of thousands of dollars for an on-premises system that houses all of these features.
ADVANTAGES OF BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEMS
Modern business phone systems have all the benefits of older landline systems without nearly any of their drawbacks, which include expensive on-premises hardware that must be purchased and maintained. Cloud-based business phone systems of today are capable of much more than just making calls. To effectively manage customer data and communications across the entire business, they provide integrations with well-known business software and CRMs. They also support video conferencing, team messaging, SMS, and online faxing.
Business phone systems have become more adaptable, enabling employees to accept calls on any internet-connected device, including computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and IP phones, which has the same functionality as a conventional-looking desk phone. To make sure all inbound calls are properly routed and received, businesses can set up ring groups that dial specific teams or employees with a simultaneous or sequential ring setting, or they can send inbound calls to all devices at once.
While some traditional landline users might worry about poor quality because of a poor internet connection, the truth is that cloud-based phones are equally reliable and high-quality as landline systems. With service-level agreements, the majority of providers of business phone systems offer uptimes of 99.999% and higher. Many providers also include quality-of-service reporting, which describes the standard of each call made, as part of their analytics tools. For many business owners and managers, a cloud-based business phone system is a very appealing option because it has a lower monthly cost, no hardware to manage, and an impressive list of call management tools.
BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEM FAQS
Which kinds of businesses benefit most from a good phone system?
Although not all businesses will profit from the same type of business phone system, all businesses can benefit from a good phone system. Professional communication with your clients and customers is essential. Because of this, relying solely on mobile devices can lead to issues. Your goal is to leave a lasting impression on your clients. An automated attendant’s greeting is a great first move because it verifies the legitimacy of your company.
Because of this, companies that don’t require a traditional office phone system ought to think about purchasing a virtual phone system. These systems enable businesses to maintain a professional appearance while continuing to use mobile devices as their primary means of communication. Automated attendants and a variety of other useful features are included in virtual systems. Additionally, the person you are calling sees your business number rather than your mobile number when you place an outgoing call.
Business phone systems for larger businesses enable you to present a professional image to your customers and provide your staff with all the tools necessary for effective communication. Your employees can take their work lines with them wherever they go thanks to mobile apps, and video conferencing services make sure they can connect with anyone no matter where they are or how they prefer to communicate.
What is unified communications?
The ability to use all of your communication tools from a single platform is known as unified communications. Today’s business phone systems frequently use unified communications. These systems still provide traditional phone service, but they also come with other forms of communication that are now used by professionals.
Unified communications services also offer text, instant messaging, audio, and video conferencing, as well as web and instant messaging. Previously, organizations had to use a different service provider for every communication tool in order to have them all. The process is streamlined by unified communications, which lets you use the same provider to access all of these features. This not only increases worker productivity but also has the potential to save companies a lot of money.
What is the best business phone system?
It is difficult to say that one business phone system can meet everyone’s needs because every business is unique. The best business phone systems for small businesses, remote workers, and call centers are just a few of the use cases that we consider when making our recommendations.
We looked at the features and resources that various business types require from a phone system for each use case. Based on those criteria, we then contrasted and compared the various phone system providers.
In-depth descriptions of each choice are available in our reviews.
When is the best time to invest in a good phone system for your business?
There is never a bad time to invest in a business phone system in the highly competitive market of today. Due to the high demand for new clients, providers frequently provide discounts or other incentives to sign up. This might include a few months of no charge for the service, free phones, or lower prices.
However, we have observed that many providers appear to increase their incentives toward the end of each quarter. Providers may offer additional incentives to attract more clients because they want to close their books on the quarter with the best numbers possible. Before you begin speaking with providers, you might want to take this into account.
What distinguishes a business phone system from a business phone service?
Between a business phone service and a business phone system, there aren’t many differences. Both give you all the resources you need to communicate effectively with people inside and outside of your office.
When deciding which one is best for your company, you should consider how smoothly the system functions. The phone service is dependable. This is crucial for PBX systems hosted in the cloud. Landlines were the standard for business phone services in the past. Because everything was hardwired and you weren’t dealing with the internet, reliability was rock-solid. Finding a business phone service that offers the same dependability as a landline system is now essential as cloud-hosted PBX business phone systems grow in popularity.
Statistics on uptime are one of the most important elements to evaluate reliability. A cloud-based phone system’s uptime indicates how frequently it is operational. One of the most crucial features of a business phone system is the ability to pick up the phone whenever you need to and be reachable whenever someone calls. Uptimes for the top business phone services and systems are 99.999%. This implies that there are a few minutes of service outages every year. Some providers of business phone services even guarantee their uptime, paying you back if it ever drops below a predetermined level.
What are the main differences between phone systems for small businesses and phone systems for large businesses?
The same functionality as systems used by large businesses is what makes today’s cloud-hosted unified communication systems so appealing to small businesses.
Large businesses were typically the only ones that could afford the pricey onsite equipment for a robust phone system with features like automated attendants, extension dialing, and call queues before the advent of VoIP and cloud-hosted solutions.
Cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems in particular have leveled the playing field. Small businesses can easily implement these systems in the same way that large businesses can because there is no longer a prohibitively expensive entry point.
The service tiers that small and large businesses select may be one difference. Larger businesses may be able to afford the more expensive plans that give them access to everything the phone system provider offers, whereas small businesses may opt for a lower-tier plan that doesn’t include every feature under the sun.
How much does a phone system cost for small businesses?
Where the system will be hosted affects the price and pricing scheme of a small business phone system. You only need to be concerned about ongoing monthly charges for each user if it is hosted in the cloud. Typical monthly costs range from $10 to $60 per user, depending on how many features and tools you want.
You must budget for one-time upfront costs if you want to host your business phone systems on-premises (within your actual place of business). You can anticipate spending several thousand dollars on all the necessary hardware and installation. There might also be ongoing monthly charges for your actual calling services.
How do you set up a small business phone system?
The ease of installation of modern business phone systems is a huge advantage. A web portal is used to manage VoIP systems entirely. To assign business phone numbers and extensions, add new users, remove existing users, and enable or disable features for specific users, administrators can log in to the portal. This portal is accessible from any location with an internet connection.
Who benefits most from VoIP office systems?
A VoIP business phone system is most advantageous to employees. These systems give workers the resources they need to meet all of their communication and collaboration requirements. The useful tools that employees have access to include call forwarding, voicemail to email, call recording, and instant messaging.
VoIP systems also offer a lot of mobility. Many companies provide their own mobile apps that enable employees to take and make calls to and from their business lines using their personal mobile phones. This makes sure they never miss a crucial call.
Additionally, VoIP office systems have many advantages for small business owners. Small businesses now have access to features and tools that were previously only affordable for larger companies thanks to these systems. Small businesses greatly benefit from the ability to install these systems for a reasonable cost.
Can you use a VoIP phone as a regular phone?
There are IP phones and analog phones, technically. Today’s majority of VoIP phone systems employ IP phones. These phones are essentially ready to make and receive calls right away because they plug right into your internet router.
You require a unique adapter to connect an analog phone to your network in order to use it with many of today’s VoIP systems.
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