There’s no need for your office to have a traditional landline if you sign up to a voice-over IP (or VoIP) service instead. We’ve taken a look at the best VOIP options out there for your small business.
VoIP is basically a different form of technology for talking with each other, just like a regular phone. At its simplest, it involves encoding voice into a digital form, before sending it via the internet (rather than conventional phone lines). However, many VoIP services go much further than this, adding a series of extra options that can substantially benefit the efficiency of your small business. These can include features like video conferencing, in-house texting, and online collaborative tools.
No VoIP service is perfect for all businesses. They each have their own respective pros and cons, whether that’s in terms of pricing or features like integration with cloud business services such as Salesforce. Whatever you’re after for your firm, we have you covered. We’ve looked at the best and worst features of each of our recommendations so you know what’s a good fit for you.
Best Overall: RingCentral
If you have it in your budget then you can’t go wrong with RingCentral. It’s reliable, easy to use, and frequently adds new features to its services. It’s more expensive than its main competitors given that many of its features require extra add-on purchases, but it’s worth the price.
At its most basic, the Essentials package costs $19.99 per user per month across the year (that rises to $29.99 per month if you pay monthly rather than annually) and allows for up to 10 users, 100 toll-free minutes per month, and up to 4 people video conferencing at any one time.
Upgrade to the Standard package for an extra $5 per month, and you get unlimited users and unlimited fax. The most popular package is the Premium one which throws in support for 100 people video conferencing, along with automatic call recording and voicemail-to-text services. That works out as $35.99 per user per month. There’s integration with Salesforce, Zendesk, and Desk.com too, which is sure to be useful for certain businesses.
As we said, RingCentral isn’t the cheapest when you start adding in the extra features, but it’s certainly flexible and adaptable to your business needs.
Best For International Calling: 8×8 Virtual Office Pro
8×8 Virtual Office Pro offers a lot of what RingCentral already provides, but at first glance—it seems pricey with its lowest small business package starting at $28 per month per user. So what gives?
It also offers unlimited calls within at least 14 countries, depending on what package you choose. For businesses that frequently deal with people overseas, this could save them a lot in the long run compared to other services. Such packages continue to go up in price and in terms of countries with the second most inexpensive package costing $38 per month per user but covering 32 countries, and so forth. You can review the specifics of which countries are in which packages on this page.
As well as that, you get fairly typical features like media storage, call queues, voicemail, auto attendant, and an operator switchboard (on the $38 per month package and above). There’s unlimited internet faxing facilities for all packages too, and up to 100 people can participate in video conference calls regardless of what you pay. You can also integrate the service with NetSuite, Salesforce, and Zendesk.
This is the package for businesses that deal with clients abroad often. It’ll cost more initially but it soon works out as a substantial saving over compared to other VoIP options that charge more for international calling.
Best For Video Conferencing And Screen Sharing: eVoice
Video conferencing is frequently a much more personal touch than audio calls. It means you can more effectively interact with your remote work colleagues and clients, than simply relying on their voice. eVoice is one of the best for inexpensive video conferencing because it’s geared well towards the service.
Even on its cheapest payment tier—eVoice Lite—you can share your screen with up to 2,000 viewers with video feeds for up to 25 participants. It’s far more generous than its competitors given eVoice Lite is only $12.99 per month per user. For all but the smallest of businesses, it’s worthwhile switching up to the $29.99 per month per user package, due to Lite only working for 2 users, but it’s a strong starting point.
In all cases, you get unlimited extensions, virtual voicemail, call forwarding, an auto attendant, and numerous other tools.
Really though, it’s the relatively inexpensive video conferencing and screen sharing that makes eVoice worth considering. Unfortunately, there’s no whiteboard feature for sketching which is a quite a missed opportunity, but it’s still strongly worth considering if video conferencing is critical for your business.
Best Management Features: Vonage Business Cloud
Vonage Business Cloud packs a lot of features into its subscription model. Skip the mobile plan (the cheapest one at $19.99 per month per user) as it’s far from practical for anyone but the smallest of companies.
Instead, the Premium plan at $29.99 per month per user offers plenty for everyone. There’s unlimited calling and SMS messaging in the continental US and Canada, an auto attendant, video conferencing, chat and file sharing for up to 100 people, and extensive CRM integrations.
It’s the latter that makes Vonage Business Cloud stand out from the crowd here with support for Clio, ConnectWise, Google G Suite, Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Office 365, and Zoho CRM. For an extra $4.99 per month, you can also enjoy Bullhorn and Salesforce integration. Its service continues to evolve too with new integrations on a regular basis.
Elsewhere, Vonage Business Cloud stands out thanks to an easy to use yet powerful administration panel with extensive management reports at the tap of a button. Sure, most VoIP services offer similar but Vonage’s setup guide and wizard means it’s far from a stressful experience when getting started.
There’s also support for Amazon Chime conferencing and extensive smart-meeting collaboration features too. If you need these kinds of features then Vonage is the most straightforward place to go.
Best For Pseudo VOIP: Skype For Business
Skype For Business isn’t exactly a full VoIP platform by any means, but it is ideal if your business is dipping its toes into using VoIP and would prefer to stick to a simple setup while starting out.
The service allows for easy contact of Skype users, phone numbers, and all your employees. It supports up to 250 attendees in a meeting with video and audio recording available in calls. There’s whiteboard support too.
It requires you to sign up for Office 365 but that means you also get access to Office applications and cloud file storage for the same subscription fee. That fee happens to be low too, starting at $8.25 per month per user.
So, what’s the catch? It’s not a fully-fledged VoIP service. There are no dial-in audio conference features, and you certainly shouldn’t expect anything like an auto attendant or CRM support. However, if you simply want to stay in touch with your remote workers easily, this does the job. It’s also useful if your team isn’t adept at technology, as just about everyone has some experience with Skype by now. For more casual use, sticking with a cheaper option that people are more familiar with might be ideal.