Small Business Phone Service Reviews
It used to be that having a fancy business phone system cost a lot of money in terms of equipment and special hardware. Most businesses traditionally relied on private branch exchange (PBX) systems to manage multiple lines, use hold music, and automatically route calls.
small business phone service reviews
The small business phone systems in this rating all rely on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone technology, allowing you to use an internet connection for your entire business phone system. VoIP phone systems have no special equipment to buy or staff to manage them. You simply need to download a mobile or desktop app to have a fully-featured phone system at your fingertips.
Not every good business phone system is appropriate for a small company. We sorted through our rating of the Best Business Phone Systems of 2023 to find ones that are affordable, flexible, and easy to use with a mobile device for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Follow the links in the companies' summaries to find our full reviews, and read our advice on how to choose the best plan for your small business.
8x8 stands out with plans catering to very small businesses and global corporations. The competitively-priced 8x8 Express plan supports companies with five or fewer users and includes unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, an auto-attendant, video conferencing, and team messaging. 8x8 X-Series offers unlimited calling to 14 or 48 countries, depending on your subscription. These versions work for teams of any size, and you can customize plans to only pay for features each individual needs.
Business phone systems can be broken down into a few different types. Each has its own benefits, but some are better suited to the needs of a small business. Larger companies may still lean toward the traditional private business exchange (PBX) system or IP-enabled PBX that are dedicated systems to a specific company and are generally based on-premise. On the other hand, small businesses most commonly use cloud-based VoIP systems.
The relative simplicity of implementing a cloud-based VoIP system makes it the ideal option for most small businesses. It gives your company access to all of the modern-day business phone system features, without the upfront cost of having to build out a dedicated on-premise system or the required staff to maintain it. It also gives your employees the flexibility needed to work from anywhere, because they can access your business communications network from an app on their cell phone.
However, a cloud-based business phone service may not meet the specific needs of your company. Consider your options and how your business interacts with a phone system to complete your work and make a choice that best fits the way your company is run.
All businesses, small and large, benefit from better communication. For small businesses, however, there may be more specific needs that have to be addressed in finding the right phone system, like tighter budgets. That is why researching business phone systems are so imperative for small businesses.
Business phone service providers typically charge a per-user fee that can be paid monthly or annually. Base subscriptions range from $10 to $30 per user per month. The flat price per person generally includes a business telephone number, unlimited or metered calling, and other communication features. Companies with a tiered pricing model provide more features on higher-priced plans.
Cloud-based business phone systems work on your existing devices, such as cell phones and computers. No additional hardware is required. Mobile and desktop apps replace traditional analog telephones, and features like virtual faxing happen in the cloud. However, computer users may want a VoIP headset for call privacy and quality reasons.
If you want to use your current analog devices, including fax machines and conference phones, with VoIP, you will need an analog telephone adaptor (ATA). In addition, many small business phone providers support IP phones, which resemble analog desk phones but connect to the internet instead of a landline.
Yes, you can install your business phone system yourself. The best business phone systems for small businesses are commonly cloud-based telephony services. These services are quick and easy to set up because they do not require hardware to be configured on-site.
You may also opt for IP desktop phones. These act as a more traditional business phone option and might be a good choice for small businesses with an office where employees spend most of their time. IP desktop phones are generally easy to set up with plug-and-play options or some minor configuring.
Yes, internet-based phone services support employees regardless of where they work. VoIP lets you route or forward calls to employee-owned and company-owned devices. Your teams can answer and transfer calls, even if your physical office is closed. Home users typically have access to the same features provided for in-house staff, including virtual faxing, unlimited calling, and voicemail.
Moreover, many small business phone systems offer collaboration tools, allowing remote and on-site teams to interact in real-time through video and group messaging. These features may include file sharing, whiteboards, screen sharing, and breakout rooms.
Small business phone services often have security and privacy certifications that can help protect your company when communicating with clients over the phone. Secure networks, encryption, and modern internet protocols are among the industry standards for business phone providers. Although most VoIP providers encrypt phone calls, cloud-based tools do have vulnerabilities.
The type of information shared over the phone depends on your small business's industry. While some companies in sensitive information fields need to be more cognizant of these risks, all businesses should consider the inherent risk of using an internet-based business phone system. Robust password management policies, security software, and regular software and hardware updates help keep your business phone system secure.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business phone systems have revolutionized the industry, and modern business phone services encompass far more than simply voice calls. Modern businesses communicate in all kinds of ways, including through emails, text messages, instant and media messages, video conferences, and social media sites. By using cloud-based phone systems, business phone providers can offer Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) features to help companies communicate in a variety of ways.
The introduction of cloud VoIP phone service has opened doors to what a business phone system can do for your business. Collaboration tools and calling features, such as artificial intelligence (AI), customer relationship management (CRM) app integration, and virtual receptionists, allow small businesses to overcome some of the challenges of working with a limited team. VoIP technology also cuts down on the costs of service.
Business phone providers offer many of these collaboration features in one unified platform for an affordable price. Businesses with a bigger budget can unlock even more calling features and tools with higher-tier business phone plans.
Picking a communications system for your business is more complex than just selecting a new phone. The service that provides your business phone capabilities needs to be reliable and provide high-quality communications without static or delays, connecting your employees and customers in a way that's most effective. The following companies have been evaluated for features, pricing, integrations, and hardware to help businesses make the smartest decision possible when choosing a business phone service provider. See our full reviews of each for more details.
Dialpad has three plan options for business communications: Standard, Pro, and Enterprise. Pricing for the Standard plan starts at $15 per user per month. All Dialpad plans include unlimited calling, SMS/MMS, call and voicemail transcription, unlimited video meetings, and customer support through web or chat. If you upgrade to the Pro plan for $25 per user per month, you gain access to additional features, such as international SMS, CRM integrations, multiple phone numbers per account, open APIs and webhooks, and 24/7 live agent support.
RingCentral offers a range of communications solutions for businesses, including video-only plans and contact center options, and those in search of phone and messaging services will find four plan options: Essentials, Standard, Premium, and Ultimate. Monthly pricing for these plans ranges from $29.99 per user to $59.99 per user. Those prices can differ if you do an annual plan.
The lowest plan tier, Essentials, does not include video services, but it does include business phone or toll-free numbers, unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, SMS, voicemail to text, team messaging, and document sharing. You will have to scale up, however, if you want access to any additional features, such as video calling, integrations with Slack or Microsoft 365, and 24/7 support. You will need to upgrade further to the Premium plan if you are interested in features like hot desking, CRM integrations, advanced call handling, or real-time analytics.
VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol. A phone system that's VoIP-based uses an internet connection to provide the phone service instead of routing calls through traditional phone lines. It can connect to the internet using an Ethernet cable, Wi-Fi, or your phone's cellular connection.
The process for getting started with a new phone system depends on whether you have an on-premise or a cloud-based service. It also depends on the size of the deployment, another term for setting up a new phone system.
For many small companies, installation is a do-it-yourself endeavor with VoIP phone systems. You sign up for an account, choose or transfer phone numbers, and configure features like voicemail, call recording, and call forwarding. After downloading mobile and desktop apps, employees can make business phone calls and collaborate or use other tools through an internet connection. IP desktop phones may be plug-and-play or require configuration. 041b061a72