Best Business VoIP Providers 2017: Compare Service, Price, & Reviews
When it comes to business phone service, there is the traditional landline connection option, or there’s business Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which is also called a cloud phone system. This is a more modern type of phone service for businesses that makes calls using an internet connection instead of a phone line. When a business makes its data, voice and video communications all part of its internet network, it’s able to get high-quality calling for a much lower cost than landline service. Business VoIP service also provides a wide range of calling features that make life easier for small and medium-size businesses.
As far as business VoIP features are concerned, businesses can get desk-to-desk calling, call routing, PBX capabilities, automated attendants and hold music, to name a few popular features. For small and medium-size businesses, this allows them to have a phone setup that’s every bit as professional as a large corporation. Another benefit with business VoIP systems is that they have overall unified communication solutions, which provide flexibility and mobility regardless of a business’s size. The bottom line is that business VoIP systems allow smaller businesses to compete with the larger businesses in terms of phone features without paying a high monthly fee to do so.
Finding the Best Business VoIP Provider
Overall price on a business VoIP plan will vary depending on how many lines and extensions the business needs, along with the provider chosen. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent providers available. Vonage Business is one example, as it offers monthly business VoIP service starting for only $20 per line. When a business knows exactly what it needs, the transition to VoIP will be quicker and easier.
Every VoIP provider will have its own plans with unique feature sets and pricing. It’s a good idea for businesses to consider the number of lines needed, necessary features and potential extra usage. After doing so, finding the best business VoIP provider is a simple process.
- First, the business should verify that its internet speed is fast enough to handle VoIP service. It can figure this out by contacting its internet provider.
- Next, the business will need to look at the small business VoIP plans available that fit its needs in terms of calling, features an budget.
- After that, the business must decide what equipment will be optimal for it both now and in the foreseeable future. Phones can range from $50 to $500, with more expensive phones obviously having more features. Some popular phone manufacturers include Cisco, Panasonic, Polycom and Toshiba.
- The final step before deciding on a plan is doing a comparison of any plans that fit all the business’s requirements. This comparison should include an analysis of the plan features and a look at reviews from past and current users.
Asking a Business VoIP Provider About Its Services
When a business contacts a VoIP provider about its services, there are several important questions to ask:
- Start by figuring out the costs involved, including startup costs and monthly service fees, including any hidden fees. Another important consideration is whether there’s a money-back guarantee, how the cancelation process works and if there is a fee for canceling.
- Phone number porting is important for businesses that already have a phone number. The business should check if number porting will be an option and what, if any, costs there will be.
- The business should find what features are included with the desired plan, and if any of the features needed will cost extra. It’s smart to ask about international calling and E911.
- Other items to ask about are what kind of support the provider offers and if it has a mobile application.
Advantages of Choosing VoIP for Business Phone Service
Business VoIP service has quite a few benefits over landline phone service. First and foremost, it allows the business owner to consolidate their phone numbers, going from separate office, cell and home numbers to one number that serves as a virtual extension. VoIP service can cause extensions at every location to ring simultaneously, or one after the other in a preset order. The business owner can decide whether missed calls get sent to voicemail or a different extension. When the business owner makes calls with their cloud phone system, the caller ID will always display the business phone number, no matter the device where the call originates.
Business VoIP service has several helpful messaging options. There’s a voicemail transcription option to get a transcript of voicemails that the recipient can read in their inbox or get as a text message. If the person who left the message included a phone number, the recipient can simply click or tap the number in the transcription to message it.
If the business requires multiple numbers besides just one local number, those are easy to get with business VoIP service. For example, a business may require a toll-free number, a number for faxes and multiple virtual extensions for specific employees who receive calls from clients. These will be available with VoIP service, with certain providers offering them free of charge and others offering them for a minor monthly fee.
An auto attendant, also called a virtual receptionist, is a helpful feature for greeting and directing callers. This automated receptionist uses customizable recordings to guide callers through a menu, getting them to the correct department without an employee needing to answer the phone to direct the call themselves.
Another popular feature is automatic call distribution (ACD). When a call comes in, the system is able to connect the caller to the right person automatically.
For business owners who send business-related text messages and don’t want to do so from their own personal numbers, there’s a business SMS feature. The business owner can use their own smartphone, tablet or computer to send text messages, while having the messages originate from their business phone number.
With its many features and low cost, VoIP service is clearly the future of business calling. There’s no better time to make the switch from a traditional landline to a business VoIP system, and smart business owners are getting educated about VoIP to take advantage of the powerful new options that are available.