VoIP phone services are more affordable than traditional phone systems. And easier to install. You can get up and running in minutes. We tested dozens of the leading VoIP options on the market. And found Nextiva to be the best solution for most because it comes with unlimited calling, free local and toll-free numbers, and scalability at an affordable price for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The Best Business VoIP Phone Service for Most
Best for Most
Get everything you need from your VoIP provider including unlimited voice and video calls, a free phone number, a mobile app, and unlimited online faxing. Or upgrade for advanced UCaaS features like video conferencing and numerous collaboration tools. Plans start at $18.95 per user per month.
Nextiva is our top recommendation for most businesses. Each plan includes all of the essential VoIP features you need to stay connected. Every plan comes with voice, video, faxing, and team messaging.
Nextiva’s calendar integrations allow for better communication, auto-attendants, and mobile and desktop apps. The cheapest plan is more than enough for most small teams. But Nextiva is a great fit, regardless of the size of your team.
The 6 Best Business VoIP Phone Service Options to Consider:
- Nextiva – Best VoIP phone service for most
- Ooma Office – Best for businesses without in-house IT
- RingCentral – Most affordable all-in-one solution for fewer than 20 users
- Grasshopper – Best mobile app for solopreneurs and small teams
- Phone.com – Best if you need fewer than 300 minutes per user
- Freshcaller – Best for customer support teams
When It Makes Sense to Invest Into Business VoIP Phone Services
VoIP phone services modernize how businesses communicate and are quickly replacing outdated phone systems that are too expensive, failing, and inefficient.
They also make it easier for your team to make and take calls from anywhere with an internet connection.
Gone are the days where your employees have to be tied to their desks waiting for that call to come in.
With VoIP systems, they can use their mobile devices or laptops, making it a much more flexible alternative to traditional phone systems.
Aside from a cost-effective price tag and added convenience.
Most VoIP systems also come with other communication tools like internal messaging, texting, faxing, and video conferencing too.
Not only will you save money, you’ll also get a lot more bang for your buck.
So, if you’re tired of paying way too much every month for a legacy phone system that doesn’t work how you need it to or interested in replacing a failing phone system, making the switch to a VoIP business service is definitely the way to go.
#1 – Nextiva — The Best VoIP Service for Most
Best for Most
Get everything you need from your VoIP provider including unlimited voice and video calls, a free phone number, a mobile app, and unlimited online faxing. Or upgrade for advanced UCaaS features like video conferencing and numerous collaboration tools. Plans start at $11.95 per user per month.
Nextiva is an industry leader in the business communication space for good reason. Regardless of the plan you choose and the size your business, you get everything you need at an affordable price. Even the cheapest plan comes with unlimited voice and video calling, so you never have to worry about maxing out your plan.
Whether you need to make and receive calls from your mobile device or want to modernize your phone system in a traditional office setting, it’s flexible enough to meet your needs.
Every user gets a phone number for free or you can port over existing numbers at no extra charge, making it easy to get started without forking over hundreds of dollars for new phone numbers.
On top of that, you get unlimited online faxing, perfect for those that send or receive one-off faxes and businesses that handle faxes every day.
If you need softphone functionality, Nextiva’s mobile and desktop apps are easy to install.
Once installed, users can make and receive calls using the devices they already have, making it an excellent choice for teams that don’t want to invest in new hardware. Want to turn all of your desktop computers into phones? No problem. Simply install the app and you’re good to go.
The service also comes with several built-in calendar integrations that make scheduling meetings, phone calls, or appointments a breeze.
Whether you prefer softphones or traditional phones, every plan includes dozens of phone-specific features designed to make handling calls easier than ever before. Some of those features include:
- HD voice
- An auto-attendant
- Hold music
- Call groups
- An intuitive admin panel
The cheapest plan even comes with 1,500 toll-free minutes per month if your team uses a toll-free number. Higher tiers include more toll-free minutes if you need more than that.
If you’re interested in a traditional phone setup, you can rent or buy office phones and other hardware through Nextiva. In doing so, you know your new devices are compatible with its services and you’ll experience a much easier implementation.
Alternatively, you can bring over the desk phones you already have, although some older phones may require a VoIP adapter to work properly.
All in all, the entry-level Nextiva plan is perfect for smaller teams looking for essential VoIP functionality.
However, its higher tiers offer more advanced capabilities and internal collaboration features that are perfect for growing teams and larger businesses with more complex needs.
When you upgrade to the Professional plan, you get unlimited video conferencing with up to 250 participants, unlimited conference calling with up to 40 participants, and unlimited SMS messaging.
You also unlock integrations with Salesforce, Hubspot, and Zendesk. These CRM integrations are particularly useful for customer service teams or outbound sales and marketing campaigns.
But the true standout feature of the top three tiers is free professional implementation.
It’s particularly important for larger teams with complex solutions or businesses that want to keep part of their existing phone system. Implementations like these can be challenging, especially without the help of your provider.
On top of implementation support, all tiers come with 24/7 ongoing support via email, live chat, and phone.
There are four plans to choose from and pricing varies depending on how many users you have. The more lines you need, the cheaper it is per user. Those plans include (for 20 – 99 users):
**For a limited time Nextiva is running a special promotion and you can get a discount to the normal rates below. Click here to see the special sale prices.
- Essential – starts at $18.95 per user per month
- Professional – starts at $22.95 per user per month
- Enterprise – starts at $32.95 per user per month
- Ultimate – starts at $57.95 per user per month
If you have fewer than 100 users, you’ll pay a bit more per user. These are also annual prices. So, if you prefer paying monthly, expect to pay about 30% more per user.
Sign up for a free 7-day trial to take Nextiva for a test drive today!
#2 – Ooma Office — The Best for Businesses With No In-House IT
The Best for Businesses Without In-House IT
Whether you need softphone functionality or traditional desk phones, all of Ooma’s equipment is ready to go out of the box, with most implementations taking less than 15 minutes. Includes unlimited calls and texts plus conference calling for up to 10 participants.
If you don’t have an in-house IT team, easy implementation, administration, and ongoing maintenance are crucial pieces of your VoIP solution.
Which… is exactly why Ooma Office is our #1 recommendation for teams without a team to maintain the system.
Its patent-pending auto-configuration technology makes it one of the easiest systems to implement, whether you only need softphone capabilities or a full-blown phone system in a traditional office setting.
All of Ooma’s hardware is ready to go out of the box, and most deployments take less than 15 minutes to get up and running. Plus, anyone on your team can act as your system’s administrator because it’s so intuitive to use (unlike other options on our list).
In just a few clicks, you can deploy your VoIP system, configure your hardware, add new lines, remove old lines, and set up new employees.
The simplicity of it makes it one of the easiest options from an administration standpoint.
Despite the service being straightforward, high-quality support is particularly important since you don’t have an in-house team who can help troubleshoot and resolve everyday issues as they arise. You and your team all rely solely on your provider for help.
The good news is that Ooma’s customer service team doesn’t disappoint.
If you do get stuck or run into snags along the way, you and your team can reference dozens of detailed startup guides and videos or get in touch with Ooma’s support team 24/7 via live chat or phone.
There’s also an incredibly active community forum you can turn to with specific questions if you’re not quite ready to contact support. A lot of users find the help they need online without ever needing to reach out.
But the team is always there if you need it.
With that said, don’t let the service’s simplicity and ease of use fool you. You still get all the features you expect from business VoIP without spending more than you need to for features you’re never going to use.
Even the lowest tier covers all your VoIP essentials, like:
- Unlimited calling and business SMS
- Call parking, transfers, forwarding, and flipping
- Voicemail with audio email attachments
- Conference calling with up to 10 participants
You also get access to Ooma’s free mobile app that allows users to make and receive calls from their mobile devices. As such, your team can work from home or on the go without worrying about missing important calls or having to use their mobile phone number for work.
One of Ooma’s standout features is a virtual receptionist on the lowest tier. Most options on our list charge extra for this, so it’s an excellent deal.
You can use it to play custom messages that deliver important business information and create a multi-level menu that segments callers automatically. With it, you get that “big-business” feel while seamlessly routing callers to the right employees.
On top of that, you can create custom menus and routing options for calls made after hours or on holidays when you’re not working.
This ensures your team enjoys their time off and callers know when to expect a callback.
If you’re looking for internal collaboration tools, you can upgrade to Ooma’s highest tier for just a few dollars more per month. It includes video conferencing, a desktop app, call recording, more participants on conference calls, and voicemail transcription.
The two tiers include:
- Ooma Office – $19.95 per user per month
- Ooma Office Pro – $24.95 per user per month
Traditional offices can probably get by with the cheapest plan, but highly collaborative or remote teams may need to upgrade to the Pro plan to get all the features they need.
At the end of the day, Ooma’s missing a lot of the advanced features other providers deliver. But its ease of implementation and everyday use makes it a top contender for smaller teams that don’t have an in-house support team to assist along the way.
Sign up for a live demo to see Ooma Office in action and see if it’s right for you today!
#3 – RingCentral — Best For Most Affordable All-in-One VoIP With Fewer than 20 Users
Most Affordable All-In-One Solution
Have fewer than 20 users? Get all of the essential VoIP features you need for just $19.99 per user per month, making it the most cost-effective solution for small teams. Includes unlimited calls, SMS messages, and video conferencing.
If you have a small team with fewer than 20 employees but still need an all-in-one communications solution with internal collaboration tools, you can get an excellent deal with RingCentral.
It’s also suitable for larger teams, so you don’t have to worry about outgrowing your VoIP phone solution as your business grows and you add more employees.
But its entry-level plan for small teams is what makes it stand out from the rest of the options on our list.
The RingCentral MVP Essentials plan is only available if you have 20 users or less, but it comes with everything you need in a business phone system, including:
- Unlimited calls within the U.S. and Canada
- Unlimited business SMS messaging
- Text notifications for voicemails and missed calls
- A free phone number for every user
- The ability to port existing numbers
- HD voice
It also comes with free mobile and desktop apps to turn mobile devices and computers into business phones. On top of that, you get all of the essential call management features like call forwarding, parking, transfers, screening, and more.
If you plan to solely use the mobile and desktop apps, implementation is incredibly easy and typically takes less than a few hours to get your system up and running.
However, you can rent traditional phones and hardware at competitive rates if you need to.
If you opt for an annual package, RingCentral’s Essentials plan is the cheapest all-in-one option at $19.99 per user. It doesn’t include internal collaboration features, but you can add these capabilities with RingCentral Video at no additional cost.
The free add-on includes unlimited video meetings with up to 100 participants, team messaging, task assignments, and file sharing to give your team the collaboration tools they need.
However, if your team grows beyond 20 users, you’ll have to upgrade to the next tier.
The good news is that you can stay on this tier forever, regardless of how many users you have. And it includes internal collaboration features so you no longer have to use RingCentral Video.
The Standard plan comes with unlimited internet faxing, numerous non-CRM integrations, unlimited HD video meetings, unlimited conference calling, a multi-level auto-attendant for incoming calls, and professional implementation if you need it.
Regardless of the plan you’re on, you get complete access to RingCentral’s resource center. It includes hundreds of articles and how-to guides to help you along the way.
Whether you run into an issue you can’t seem to fix or need guidance on how to use a specific feature, the resource center is a one-stop-shop for quick help without needing to wait for customer support.
RingCentral even has its own university packed full of webinars, guides, training videos, and full-blown courses covering dozens of topics like remote work, how to get started, and more.
If you’re still stuck after all of that, you can reach out to RingCentral support via social media, live chat, or phone.
There are four plans to choose from, including:
- Essentials – $19.99 per user per month (up to 20 users)
- Standard – $27.99 per user per month
- Premium – $34.99 per user per month
- Ultimate – $49.99 per user per month
However, we highly recommend starting with the Essentials plan if you have fewer than 20 employees. It’s the cheapest way to get all of the internal collaboration and VoIP features you need.
If you grow beyond that, you can upgrade to a higher tier when you need to.
Sign up for a 15-day free trial with up to five users and 50 free minutes each to see if RingCentral is right for your team today!
#4 – Grasshopper — The Best VoIP Mobile App for Solopreneurs and Small Teams
The Best VoIP Mobile App
Get that big-business feel without the price tag. Grasshopper focuses on no-fuss software designed to turn your mobile device into a business phone in just a few taps. Includes unlimited minutes, texting, incoming faxes, and a free phone number.
Grasshopper is a bit different than the other options on our list because it’s not a robust all-in-one phone system. Instead, it focuses solely on no-fuss softphone functionality that lets you make and receive business calls on the mobile device you already have.
Rather than spending several days or weeks ordering equipment, installing it, and configuring your settings, you can download the mobile app and you’re good to go.
In fact, you can set everything up and have a new business number in the next ten minutes.
As such, it’s a great option for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small teams who want to add an extra layer or professionalism and separation to their business without the hassle of complicated features and drawn-out setup processes.
Aside from an intuitive mobile app, Grasshopper also now has a full-featured desktop app so you can make and receive calls or texts from your computer as well.
This adds a whole new layer of versatility to the once mobile only VoIP software.
Aside from being able to use to your mobile device as a business phone, you also get a ton of other useful VoiP features, including:
- A free business phone number
- Custom pre-recorded greetings
- Business SMS messaging
- The ability to get incoming faxes via email
- Voicemail transcriptions in your inbox
- Set business hours to block calls while you’re not working
However, one of Grasshopper’s standout features is the ability to set up automatic text messages if you miss a call.
With this feature, callers automatically receive a follow-up text letting them know you’re unavailable. You can also let them know that they can text you back with their callback information to speed up your response time.
It’s an easy way to keep potential customers engaged even if you can’t answer their call or get back to them right away.
Plus, you can set up canned SMS responses to save yourself time.
Another excellent feature is the app’s ability to automatically switch over to WiFi or VoIP connections if your cell service isn’t very strong. This ensures your calls are always high-quality, even if you don’t have full bars (as long as you have an internet connection).
If you start to feel overwhelmed or get backed up with too many calls, you can add Ruby Receptionist functionality for an additional monthly fee.
It’s a fantastic feature that includes live receptionists to answer calls on your behalf when you’re unavailable or working hard on other aspects of running your business.
Your live receptionists can greet callers just as you would, schedule appointments, answer frequently asked questions, handle calls in English or Spanish, and gather information about potential customers without you having to lift a finger.
Not only does it free up your time, but it also gives your small operation a big-business feel without you having to put in extra hours.
This optional add-on starts at $130 per month, which may sound expensive at first glance. However, it’s much cheaper than hiring a new employee or a virtual assistant to handle incoming calls as your business grows.
There are three pricing plants to choose from, including:
- Solo – $26 per month for one number and three extensions
- Partner – $44 per month for three numbers and six extensions
- Small Business – $80 per month for five numbers and unlimited extensions
The nice thing about extensions with Grasshopper is that you can forward them to any number or device. So, even on the solo plan, you can add two employees or partners with their own extensions and forwarding rules at no additional charge.
This is significantly cheaper than other per-user pricing structures on our list. With Grasshopper, you can have three users for $26 per month rather than paying $19.99 per user per month.
You can also add additional phone numbers to any plan for $10 each per month.
Regardless of the plan you choose, you can reach out to Grasshopper’s customer service team anytime 24/7 via Twitter, Facebook, live chat, phone or email.
Sign up for a 7-day free trial with 100 minutes and 100 texts to see if it’s right for you!
#5 – Phone.com — The Best for Teams Needing Under 300 Monthly Minutes Per User
The Best for Occasional Calls
As the cheapest option on our list, users get 300 minutes and 1,000 text messages per month with all the essential VoIP features you need to handle the occasional phone call. Flexible plans make it easy to scale your services as your business grows. Starts at $12.99 per user per month.
If you and your team only handle occasional calls throughout the day, Phone.com is the most affordable option and our #1 recommendation if you need fewer than 300 minutes per user per month.
This is common in typical office settings where face-to-face collaboration are the norm and for businesses that don’t typically deal with a lot of customers.
With that said, it’s also a smart choice for startups and digital or non-collaborative teams.
Phone.com’s cheapest plan is geared specifically for businesses like these that don’t do a lot of talking on the phone or texting. With it, each user gets 300 minutes per month for both inbound and outbound calls, which is more than enough for the occasional phone call.
However, the nice thing is that when you add more users, the minutes pool together. So, if you have three users, they have 900 minutes to share and distribute however they need to.
The same goes for texting, too. Each user gets 1,000 texts per month that get pooled together when you have multiple users.
It’s important to note that Phone.com considers one text message 160 characters or less. You can send texts that are longer than that, but it’ll count as more than one message towards your monthly limit.
Despite those limitations, you get a ton of other features at a much more affordable price point than paying for an unlimited number of minutes and texts even if you don’t need them.
Users can set up video meetings with up to 10 participants and administrators can create custom call routing rules to automatically connect callers with the right employee. Other providers charge a lot of money for these features, so this is an excellent deal.
Efficient call routing also helps your team save their monthly minutes for more important conversations than simply transferring a caller to someone else.
On top of that, every plan includes:
- Mobile and desktop apps for softphone functionality
- Email voicemail notifications with audio attachments
- Document sharing and internal chat
- Custom greetings for incoming calls
- Click-to-call from your computer
- Caller ID and hold music
- Free number porting
- Unlimited outbound faxing
Although we recommend softphones for most businesses, you can also rent or purchase numerous desk phones at affordable prices directly from Phone.com.
The cheapest plan starts at just $12.99 per user per month, making it the most affordable option on our list, with unlimited minutes starting at $19.99 per user per month. As such, the unlimited plans are on par with other providers.
But the best part is that you can add users at different tiers.
If you know your support team spends more time on the phone, you can upgrade them to the unlimited plan while keeping your other departments on the lowest tier.
Maybe one user is consistently using up more than their fair share of minutes. No problem! You can bump them up to the unlimited plan to save more minutes for everyone else.
Or you can add managers on the unlimited plan but keep their team members on the limited plan to save money since they probably don’t need unlimited minutes to begin with. This level of versatility makes it an excellent option, even as your business grows or your needs change.
You can also add, upgrade, or remove users at any time within your account dashboard.
It’s easy to use, even for non-IT users, so anyone on your team can act as an administrator with no problems and minimal snags along the way.
Request a free demo or sign up today to get started with Phone.com!
#6 – Freshcaller — The Best for Customer Support Teams
The Best for Support Teams
Looking for a better (more affordable) way to deliver excellent customer support experiences? Freshcaller delivers everything you need in a VoIP system plus essential support-specific functionality at a fraction of the cost. Plans start free with usage-based pricing or at $15 per user per month.
If you’re a customer service team looking to streamline your support processes, Freshcaller is our top recommendation.
With it, you get everything you need in a VoIP phone service plus numerous support-specific features designed to help reduce the number of tickets you get, minimize lost tickets, and deliver excellent customer experiences.
However, the best part is that you can integrate with your CRM on every tier.
Unlike other options on our list, you don’t have to pay big bucks to “unlock” this capability that’s crucial to how your team operates.
Freshcaller integrates with dozens of CRMs out of the box, including all of Freshworks’ CRMs, AgileCRM, NoCRM, ZohoCRM, Infusionsoft, ZenDesk, Pipedrive, Hubspot, and more. So, regardless of what you use, you can easily pull relevant customer data into your VoIP platform and vice versa.
These deep integrations can even automatically pull customer data into a screen pop your reps can review before answering the call.
As such, they can review past interactions with your team, previous purchases, and the company they work for in just a few seconds. However, it also works the other way around as well.
If that data doesn’t exist in your CRM, you can automatically add it in Freshcaller to equip other reps that interact with that customer in the future.
Many of Freshcaller’s built-in integrations include two-way sync, which also helps eliminate the need to enter the same information into two separate platforms and greatly reduces the risk of human error.
On top of that, the service supports outbound calling (starting at $0.022 per minute) for proactive customer service.
Aside from customer support features, you also get all the essential VoIP functionality you expect, including:
- A web-based app that lets users answer calls within their web browser
- A fully functioning mobile app that lets your reps answer calls on the go
- Advanced caller ID settings based on what information reps need prior to answering
- Automatic desktop notifications and custom greetings
- The ability to take notes and attach them to customer profiles
However, the best part is that Freshcaller offers a free plan with per-minute pricing that comes with all of these features. And you don’t need to pay extra just to access essential support features as you would with other providers.
The only caveat is that you have to purchase phone numbers through Freshcaller for $1 per line per month.
If you need more advanced features or don’t want to pay per minute, you can upgrade to a paid plan starting at just $15 per user per month. Freshcaller’s paid plans include a set number of free minutes per user every month with discounted per-minute rates after you exceed your monthly quota.
They also include the ability to port existing numbers, meaning you don’t have to buy phone numbers from Freshworks if you already have them.
When you upgrade, you can also set up customized call routing rules, after hours routing, and holiday routing when your team isn’t in working. Other advanced features include hold music, wait queues, conference calling, speech-enabled or standard IVR menus, and queue callbacks.
Freshcaller’s plans include:
- Sprout – Free (each line is $1 per month + $0.016 per minute for incoming calls)
- Blossom – $15/user per month with 1,000 monthly incoming minutes per user
- Garden – $29/user per month with 2,000 monthly incoming minutes per user
- Estate – $45/user per month with 3,000 monthly incoming minutes per user
- Forest – $69/user per month with 5,000 monthly incoming minutes per user
There are also omnichannel plans that include ticketing, helpdesk automations, auto-balanced ticketing assignments, knowledge base functionality, chat bots, and email bots. These solutions include everything you need to centralize support inquiries regardless of where they come from.
These features start at an additional $34 per user per month. So, we only recommend it if you don’t already get these features elsewhere.
The sheer number of plans and pricing options to choose from can feel confusing, but it helps deliver the flexibility required to suit customer service teams of all shapes and sizes.
Sign up for a free 21-day trial to take Freshcaller for a test drive today!
Methodology For Choosing The Best Business VOIP Phone Services
Business VoIP phone services come in a near infinite number of shapes and sizes. To make your decision even harder, there are dozens of factors and minute details to consider before investing your time and money.
To help you out, we’ve developed a definitive methodology you can use to make the best decision for your wallet, team, customers, and business.
Call Volume and Number of Users
The number of calls you handle and the number of users you have both play a major role in determining which VoIP solution is right for your business.
For smaller teams, you need a phone system that’s affordable, requires little to no hardware, and is easy to implement without an in-house IT team. Top-notch customer support and tutorials are also important considerations because you’ll need to rely solely on them when issues arise.
If you’re a small team with low call volumes, usage-based pricing is the most affordable way to get all the features without breaking the bank.
However, affordable per-user pricing may be a better fit if your team handles higher volumes.
For larger teams with dedicated in-house IT support, an intuitive administration portal, user management features, and custom integrations become more important.
With custom integrations, your in-house team can develop a completely custom, internet-based phone solution specifically tailored to how your team likes to work. This can greatly improve productivity and ease the pains of implementing a new system.
You’ll also benefit from multi-site management tools for multi-location businesses and advanced analytics to monitor your team for continuous improvement efforts.
We highly recommend per-user pricing with unlimited calling for larger teams.
Keep in mind that some advanced capabilities may require you to upgrade to higher tiers and many providers make you commit to a long-term contract to get the best pricing.
There are three main types of business VoIP phone deployments—traditional desk phones, softphones, or a combination of the two.
Softphone functionality lets you make and receive phone calls using your mobile device or computer. You can use any of these devices to make calls from your business phone number. In most cases, this is the easiest option since it requires no additional hardware or equipment.
Usually, it’s also a breeze to deploy. All users have to do is install the software on their device and connect their accounts to get started. Simple enough for your team to get up and running.
There are a few more things to do on the administration side if you want to do things like setting up advanced menus for incoming calls, porting existing phone numbers, integrating with your CRM, or implementing advanced call routing.
However, the process is significantly easier than deploying traditional phones.
Softphones are an excellent choice for mobile teams like field service providers, small businesses just getting started, and work-from-home environments.
They’re also smart for customer service and outbound sales or marketing teams since they offer deeper integrations with your CRM.
On the other hand, desk phones may be more appropriate and easier for your team to use if you’re in a traditional office setting. If you don’t already have office phones, you’ll need to buy them or rent them from your provider.
If you already have them, then it’s imperative to make sure they’re compatible with your new internet-based service. In some cases, you may need to buy a converter.
But the complications and hardware requirements don’t stop there.
Some providers require you to buy a separate server specifically for storing VoIP data. You may also need a few other odds and ends to make your existing infrastructure work. The best thing to do is get your IT department involved in your conversations as early as possible.
They’ll know more about the different pieces of equipment you need, where to get them, and how to install them.
You also need to consider the fact that each phone needs its own ethernet cable. Do you already have them running to each desk or will you need to drop new ones in? Again, your IT department will know more about this and how to make it happen.
Furthermore, your internet speeds and bandwidth may need an upgrade to handle your new system, especially if you have a large team handling calls simultaneously.
Before making any decisions, be sure to have these conversations with each provider you’re considering. It’s important that your IT team is actively involved so you’re fully aware of what you need to invest in before you can implement your new phone system.
Once you have the hardware you need (if you need any at all), it’s time to start implementing your new VoIP phone system. Gathering and installing the hardware you need may be challenging, but ensuring a smooth implementation can be even more difficult.
So, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how long it’s going to take, who’s in charge of what, and how you’re going to get your team up to speed.
You can set up most softphone systems within a few hours (rather than weeks or months), although some may take a few days and several conversations with support to get right.
But not every provider’s support is created equal. It’s crucial to understand how responsive and helpful the support team is before spending any money. We highly recommend reaching out to them to ask specifically about implementation and how they can help before making your final decision.
Strong customer support is vital, especially if you don’t have an in-house IT team who can assist with setup and troubleshooting.
Most traditional phone setups require a more extensive implementation process. If you want to go this route and don’t have in-house IT, we highly recommend going with Ooma Office.
All of their phones are to go out of the box, making it more of a plug-and-play implementation than other options on our list.
However, if you’re a larger team or want to keep part of your existing phone solution, deploying your VoIP system isn’t going to be that easy and will require implementation support (both in-house and from your provider).
The more complex the solution, the longer it’s going to take to work out all the kinks for a full company-wide deployment.
As such, it’s crucial to choose a provider that can work with your in-house team to deliver excellent implementation support. You should also have a clear understanding of which team is responsible for different tasks to ensure a streamlined deployment.
Regardless of how easy you think it’s going to be, strong implementation support is a must-have.
However, that doesn’t mean your provider’s customer support efforts should stop there.
Ongoing Support for Your Team
Once your system is in place, your team needs to learn how to use it. From end users to administrators and technical specialists, there are a lot of people to get up to speed.
It’s especially true if your new system is complex or significantly different from the one you were using before.
Administrative users need to learn how to add new lines, remove old lines, set up the phone book, change phone numbers, and more. With most VoIP services, there’s a lot of room to make mistakes on the administration side of things.
To make matters worse, the backend of most VoIP software isn’t super intuitive for everyday users. So, if your administrators aren’t IT professionals, strong onboarding support from your provider is a hard requirement.
On the other hand, end users have to learn how to transfer calls, make calls, put callers on hold, and leverage dozens of other features that come with your software.
So, you can’t afford to gloss over lackluster onboarding support, even if you have an in-house IT team—they’re going to need help too.
Some providers offer personalized training sessions for free while others charge for it or only offer written how-to guides instead. As such, you should think about the technical capabilities of your employees. Some will need more hands-on support than others, so it’s important to choose a provider that delivers the right level of support for everyone on your team.
Even after everyone’s up to speed, there are countless snags and issues that can pop up at any time, from software bugs and system malfunctions to user errors and account lockouts.
Without strong ongoing support from your provider, small issues like these can last weeks or even months and create an extremely frustrating experience.
On top of that, the more users you have, the more vital scalable customer support becomes. More everyday users and administrators means more people leaning on your provider’s support team for quick fixes and resolutions.
Whether you expect to need a lot of ongoing support or not, we recommend having these conversations with each provider you’re considering before making a decision.
All of the options on our list deliver phone-based features for both inbound and outbound calls.
Some of those features include hold music, parking, automated menus, call routing, caller ID, an auto-attendant, and call recording functionality.
A basic phone system with essential calling features is more than enough for solopreneurs, freelancers, and small teams in a traditional office setting. If that sounds like you, the introductory plan on any of the providers on our list is an excellent choice.
Some providers offer a wider array of features beyond simple voice calling, ones that empower teams to communicate with each other in addition to communicating with customers. You’ll often hear these more comprehensive packages referred to as United Communications as a Service (UCaaS).
UCaaS providers typically include:
- Most phone-based features, plus
- Conference calling
- Video conferencing
- SMS messaging
- Internal chat features
- Internet faxing
They are typically more expensive than basic phone systems, but are an excellent way to help remote, collaborative, multi-location, and large teams get all the communication tools they need under one roof.
Even if you already have a conferencing, faxing, or internal chat solution elsewhere, consolidating them is a smart idea. Doing so means there are less moving parts, fewer integrations to worry about, and one monthly fee rather than paying for and managing your communication tools separately.
With that said, UCaaS features may not be necessary for smaller teams or those in a traditional single-location office setting where face-to-face meetings and collaboration are more common.
Best for Most
Get everything you need from your VoIP provider including unlimited voice and video calls, a free phone number, a mobile app, and unlimited online faxing. Or upgrade for advanced UCaaS features like video conferencing and numerous collaboration tools. Plans start at $18.95 per user per month.
The low cost of implementing VoIP phone systems means they are accessible to even the smallest businesses. Regardless of your size, you can have that big-business feel when customers call and a top-notch internal communication system, thanks to all the functionality that VoIP services deliver at an affordable price.
For most businesses, we recommend Nextiva because of its flexibility, scalability, and budget-friendly price tag. But it may not be the best for you, depending on what you need.
So, don’t forget to use the methodology we talked about as you sort through choosing the best business VoIP services for you and your team.