Buying VoIP for your business is going to save you money over a traditional phone line. And if you are already using a VoIP service from a clunky provider, you may be able to switch to something sleeker without losing anything except the frustration.
To write a truly helpful post for my readers, my team got in touch with leaders who have used VoIP in different ways.
You can find about 80 percent of what you need to know about VoIP anywhere on the web—here’s the 20 percent you can’t find anywhere else.
We spoke with:
- Gregg, who manages IT services for a living. He knows the good and bad of different VoIP options and helps businesses stay protected from hacks.
- Jason, who has been working in call centers for nearly 30 years and just bought VoIP for his enterprise organization. He’s attuned to what’s important for your employees, whether they’re remote or in an office.
- Makan, who’s set up dozens of high-volume telemarketing teams. He’s learned how to reduce the risk of regulatory fines and identify top performers in an industry with exceptionally high turnover.
- Sarkar, who manages sales teams in the B2B SaaS space. He walked us through how to sync VoIP and CRM software with the fewest possible headaches.
Look, I know what works for a company like mine. By speaking with a range of experts, my team and this article can help a wider array of buyers with different use cases or situations than my own.
There are companies looking to outfit offices in 20 countries. Others have to protect patient data. Some folks just want to stop using their personal mobile number for work.
Here are the seven best VoIP phone service providers you can start using right away. After the reviews, you’ll find an in-depth buyer’s guide.
#1 – Nextiva Review — The Best Overall
I hear a lot about the trends of working from home, but I don’t think anyone can say for sure what “office life” is going to look like two or three years from now. If you want your teams to stay functional no matter which way the wind blows, Nextiva is a solid choice.
It’s cloud-based VoIP, so your employees can come into the office, set up a desk at home, or use their phone on the go. Unlike an on-premises phone system, employees can use their phone without a VPN because they’re calling through Nextiva.
So, you have way less to worry about with security—which is definitely on the minds of managers who have people calling from hotels, coffee shops, and their home network.
The experts my team spoke with categorized it as a true plug-and-play system for businesses that want a dial tone without IT headaches. If your system is built on ten phones or fewer, you will have very little trouble getting Nextiva installed.
One thing that Jason pointed out, however, was that you’ll need to put some thought into compliance if you plan to take credit card numbers over the phone. But, for the most part, security is handled by Nextiva because everything is routed through their cloud.
Nextiva can scale to hundreds of phones if need be. There will be some backend configuration to get everything going, but Nextiva will help you deploy with a guided installation process.
And unlike some of the other companies that offer this type of flexibility, Nextiva can outfit your entire office. Fax machines, conference phones, multiple offices–whatever your setup, you’ll be able to transition it to Nextiva’s modern platform.
Level up your business phone by connecting it with email, text, and video—or centralize every channel within a single window for your employees.
All the call handling and user administration features you’d expect are included. And when I say they are easy to use, check out the Call Flow Builder that lets visualize how routing is set up:
It can be tricky to configure auto attendants in some platforms, but it’s drag-and-drop easy with Nextiva.
The company has done a lot to make everything as easy as possible on end users. If you’re wondering whether or not you have the necessary internet speed at your office, you can test it right now on Nextiva’s website. Simulate the traffic required for two or 200 phones. You’ll get info on speed, but also jitter and everything that goes into whether or not you can reliably make calls.
You can also use the site to test the speed of remote workers who need to be on call, which Jason highly recommended. If their home network doesn’t support VoIP, you may be looking at an expensive hiring blunder.
Nextiva offers 24/7 support for every plan. That’s not typical, especially for VoIP at such an affordable price (which is currently on sale too!)
- Essential: starting at
$18.95$11.95 per month per user
- Professional: starting at
$22.95$20.95 per month per user
- Enterprise: starting at
$32.95$26.95 per month per user
These are the annual prices—it’s a little bit more per user to pay month to month, but you don’t have to sign a contract.
The Essential plan is going to work for many teams. It includes unlimited voice and video calling, a free local and toll-free number, and 1,500 toll-free minutes. That’s a lot more than you are going to get with other entry-level plans.
Unlike RingCentral, there’s no user cap for the Essential plan. This means you can offer more people unlimited voice and video at a low price, rather than having to upgrade once you hit 20 users.
For conference calling and business SMS, you’ll need the Professional plan. This comes with Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zendesk integration. Essential only has integration with Outlook and Google Contacts.
At the Enterprise tier, you get integrations with CRM software and single sign-on, which is a huge boon to remote workers.
Nextiva One is the company’s omnichannel solution. If customers reach out to you through a variety of channels in addition to phones, this might be a good idea.
Your employees can see all communication with each account, which is really helpful if people are logging help desk tickets, chatting, reaching out on social media, and so on.
Jason argued that omnichannel also makes administrators’ lives easier. “I don’t have 10 systems to manage,” he described to us, “it’s all within the same system.”
You can coordinate ecommerce with a call center or tie multiple brick and mortar stores into a single system.
You also have one bill as opposed to dozens and you’re not chasing down information across multiple platforms. If a customer has an issue, you can go back through the entire record quickly, regardless of how they got in touch.
Organization is just easier with Nextiva. Staying on the same page with customers and your employees is as simple as logging into the system, no matter where you are.
For teams that don’t have an office to coordinate activity, Nextiva is the best VoIP solution.
It’s a product that employees new and old can start using immediately on whatever device they have. Should they ever have an issue, Nextiva’s reputable customer service is there to provide support.
If you are looking at the way features break down in the different packages and you don’t find a perfect fit, just reach out to Nextiva. You can purchase any feature a la carte.
Build your system, your way, in less time with Nextiva. Get in touch for a seven-day free trial of the Essential package, or a demo of any other package they offer. Also, for a limited time get 25% off, plus a free phone, when you sign up!
#2 – Ooma Office Review — The Best for Adding VoIP to Existing SMB Phone Systems
If you are holding off on replacing that aging phone system, Ooma can help you install business-class VoIP with minimal disruption to your work.
Any phone you have that’s still working—analog or IP—is going to hook right into your new Ooma system. You can also buy phones from them at a great price and they will be preconfigured, ready to go out of the box.
Employees can make calls and collaborate with their colleagues in the Ooma mobile app, whether they are in the office or on-the-go.
One thing Gregg pointed out was how expensive it can get to customize your setup if you have to pay per extension. With Ooma, every user gets a number of free extensions: one for conferences, one for online faxing, and one for a Virtual Receptionist.
Virtual Receptionist is Ooma’s term for an auto attendant. You can set it to play custom messages about business hours, let callers dial by name, select a preferred language, or route the caller to another extension.
With other vendors—especially ones that cost as little as Ooma—you often wind up paying extra to enable online faxing. Some VoIP phone service providers don’t even accommodate it.
When Jason sent his business requirement document to vendors, “two companies bailed out right away” because they weren’t able to set up fax machines. Most of the other vendors told him they don’t really do that, but they would try in order to get his business.
With Ooma, each of your users can set up their own fax extension for free.
When it comes to integrating VoIP with existing equipment, Ooma minimizes the steps you have to take and maximizes your flexibility. Connect to Ooma Office via WiFi, ethernet, or use the base station to get analog devices on board.
Think of it as a cloud-based VoIP solution that’s really good at accommodating your existing equipment. It might take some time to configure a large office, but the administrator portal is straightforward. It’s not the prettiest interface of all time, but it’s stupid simple to use.
While Ooma offers solutions for enterprise, their VoIP phone services for small businesses really stand out from the pack.
There are no contracts—a rarity in this product space. Usually to get the best price on VoIP, you need to sign up for a year at least. Ooma’s price is what it is. For small business, Ooma pricing breaks down into two tiers:
- Ooma Office: starting at $19.95 per month per user
- Ooma Office Pro: starting at $24.95 per month per user
Upgrading to Pro, you get the desktop app, video conferencing, call recording, enhanced call blocking, and voicemail transcription. You’ll also be able to host conference calls of up to 25 people, whereas Ooma Office has a limit of 10.
You don’t have the choice of selectively upgrading users with Ooma Office—it’s all employees on one plan or all employees on another. But, at just $5 per user to upgrade, you’re still falling in the average range for VoIP.
And, if you upgrade, you can set people up on their computers with a softphone, which means you have less hardware to buy.
You can avoid buying phones without upgrading by having people call from the mobile app (which is included with Ooma office), though Gregg warned us that VoIP can be hard on a cell phone. “Yes, you save money because you’re not buying physical equipment,” he said, “but it can drain the battery life right out of the device.”
Transition to the cloud at your own pace. Keep your equipment and manage it yourself with way less work than a traditional set up. Get a quote, sign up with Ooma, and start saving money today.
#3 – RingCentral Review — The Best for High-Volume Outbound Calling
RingCentral gives you unlimited calling, texting, and video conferencing at a competitive price. If you just need the phones and texting, you can get an even better deal.
Forget about per-minute charges and set up employees with VoIP that’s easy to use. For call centers, customer service, sales—anyone who has people on the phone constantly will appreciate RingCentral. This is especially true if you have to train new employees all the time.
First off, they’ll be able to use the interface. It’s intuitive to anyone who has used a computer. Administrators and managers will find they can shorten the time it takes to turn rookie hires into skilled ambassadors for your company.
“You save a lot of money because you can identify hires that aren’t doing a good job and wasting their time,” Makan told us. He’s set up a lot of telemarketing call centers with RingCentral and has really valued the ability to “tell right away who’s worth the money.”
The ability to track calls, KPIs, and listen back to recordings was like night and day for him compared to working on a landline, it has become a great advantage of online collaboration for sales. Teams can listen back to calls that went well (or poorly) to get a sense of how to better capitalize on each opportunity.
The reporting features aren’t going to take a data scientist to glean insights from. Find your top performers and figure out what they’re doing. Identify people who aren’t a good fit and let them go.
I hear a lot of marketing word salad like “this tool optimizes performance,” all the time. RingCentral walks the walk.
“You can actually predict your sales,” Makan said, “I know it’s difficult to fathom, but it’s true.”
He was able to figure out that 2,500 calls lead to one listing. This told him the number of minutes people needed to be on the phone in order to stay profitable. Over time, he could see how many listings an employee should be generating in their first month, second quarter, and so on.
You’re likely going to measure different KPIs, but it’s the same idea. With the kind of visibility that RingCentral provides, you can distill the numbers to simple metrics that hold employees accountable. You know ahead of time what your sales are going to look like, and you can scale up or down accordingly.
There’s a lot about RingCentral that’s well suited for large-scale calling. Admins don’t have to be IT wizards to add new users and give them access to specific resources. They’ll be able to provision new hires quickly. When someone leaves, they’ll be able to switch around accounts and recycle the number, so you don’t wind up paying for lines you’re not using.
If you have turnover—as many high-volume calling occupations do—you need to be mindful of your database integrity. RingCentral makes it easy to limit access to resources and revoke it if need be.
You’re definitely going to be using a CRM (or some form of database) to call at scale. RingCentral integrates with a lot of them. You want to keep that information private.
Another liability for call centers that RingCentral helps you navigate is compliance, which is crucial if you are making a lot of cold calls or using an auto dialer. There’s a TCPA safe dialer, which helps agents avoid bringing a “robo-call” lawsuit down on your company. Instead of worrying about messing something up, they can focus on the person they are talking to.
The DNC list features are also easy to use. Integrate with third-party tools to constantly update your list, and quickly show your employees how to maintain your own internal list.
RingCentral is HIPAA compliant, which means the standard for privacy and security is incredibly high. Fines for HIPAA violations are very steep, and that’s not the worst that could happen.
Selecting from RingCentral’s range of packages, you can replace your phones with VoIP and save a little money or completely outfit an omnichannel call center.
RingCentral MVP (formerly RingCentral Office) has four tiers to choose from:
- Essentials: starting at $19.99 per month per user
- Standard: starting at $27.99 per month per user
- Premium: starting at $34.99 per month per user
- Ultimate: starting at $49.99 per month per user
These are the prices if you sign up for a year of service, which reflect a 33% discount on the monthly rate.
The Essentials plan is capped at 20 users. You get unlimited talk and text, as well as document sharing, which can be helpful for sharing sales and customer service scripts. You also get team messaging, which is especially helpful in the days where not everyone is coming into a physical office.
With Standard, you get unlimited fax, video conferencing and integrations with Google Workspace, Microsoft 365. There’s no cap on users, either.
But if you are going for high-volume calling, I really recommend getting Premium. You get the CRM integration that is so important for dialing into your metrics and communicating effectively at scale.
At $10 above the average cost of VoIP, Premium is a steal. Remember, that VoIP average is for voice only and with RingCentral MVP you’re getting texting, video, and advanced call handling features that other “average” plans do not include.
Managers will be able to listen in on live calls and “whisper” advice. The employee can hear them, the caller can not. From what I found, features like this from other vendors were usually reserved for plans that cost upwards of $50. So in that sense, I’d consider RingCentral MVP well below the average price-wise.
RingCentral offers contact center software, as well, which will unify your communications. Your agents will be able to see a complete record of a customer’s history. When did they call, when did they chat? It’s all right there. You’ll have to get in touch with RingCentral for Contact Center pricing.
This is my number one pick for people who have to make a ton of calls. RingCentral helps you protect yourself from a number of the liabilities that come with outreach at scale. It also gives you the viability and tools to stay efficient and maximize each employees’ ability to contribute.
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