My Callfire Review & Alternatives I Use (and why)

0
Looking for a Callfire review from an actual user, or unhappy and looking for alternatives to Callfire? Normally I don’t do these reviews on the fly, but today I logged in to my Callfire account, and am a bit disappointed as they still haven’t upgraded the voicemail routing/delivery capability. I do a lot of business phone service reviews, and I want to make sure I put this out there before I forget… It’ll save someone a lot of hassle like I’m about to have to go through to port my number over to another provider.


Summary:

In a hurry? Here’s the virtual phone services I use as an alternative to Callfire. Some aren’t cheaper, but when you see what they can do, you won’t care about the extra $5 bucks!

  • Grasshopper – great for ecommerce stores that just need a cheap forwarding line for their business

    • Pros: backed by Cisco, excellent reliability and easy to use custom greetings
    • Cons: doesn’t have unlimited minutes, won’t do call tracking
  • Phone.com – the most flexible phone service I know of on the planet, cheap when starting out, can add phone adapters of voip desk phones if needed down the line, does everything including call recording
    • Pros: more advanced features for call tracking, higher end phone system
    • Cons: hardly any, this is my #1 recommendation for most business owners for it’s ultimate flexibility
  • RingCentral – a full featured business voip phone system
    • Pros: lets you support multiple locations, with office desk phone
    • Cons: pricing starts at $25/mo

But first…

My Callfire Review

  • Cheaply priced
  • Great interface
  • Easy to setup
  • Rock solid reliability (i’ve used them for years)
  • Dislike ( limited voicemail setup and distribution. Complete lack of transcription delivered to specified recipient PER LINE… This means you must setup a separate account for each entity. When you have 30 of them, that’s a no go. A simple UI change and added functionality from their devs would be awesome, and the functionality is already there. Don’t know what they’re waiting on…)

Overall I love Callfire for local lead gen, but when something starts taking off, you quickly realize the platform is mostly geared toward being a heavy IVR provider. Originally, meaning I have used them for years now, I liked their cheap call tracking lines, and would use them to test ads and offers based on a separation technique that made it super easy to aggregate the data. As I got deeper into local seo after lead gen, I didn’t anticipate needing to transform a throwaway line initially, into a fully featured business phone system. And that’s where Callfire stops being user friendly for me…

Why I Stopped Using And Recommending Callfire For Business Lines

So to get really specific on why you can’t take a Callfire line and start using it as a small business operator, is simply because of the system design under the hood. Technically you could migrate the numbers to a separate Callfire account, and achieve what I’m going to describe. But to do this on any kind of scale is a waste of time, and it’s easier to just use a company like Phone.com.

The Problem I’m Having With A Live Local Service Business Line On Callfire (literally today)

A little less than a year ago, I setup a business line for a prospective idea I had for my cousin. It’s a local service business, and has generated around 300 calls to date, and we’re thinking of setting up shop and giving it a go. As strictly a forwarding service, Callfire works great for this. But the second you would to forward to different phone numbers based on which extension a customer selects, is where things start to get hairy.

What I need for starters, is for the VoIP system to house the voicemail, and not rely the receiving cell or landline BYOD to handle that. On top of that, and this is the single most useful feature for small businesses or any lead generation team, is to be able to have multi-delivery of leads.

People are busy, and most don’t have a live answer service to automatically take every call as a live person… myself included. So what needs to happen, is exactly how I use Phone.com to deliver my voicemails.

I record the custom greeting for that particular business, set voicemails to transcribe, and then select a recipient for those notification emails specifically for that line. So say I run an ad with my cousin, and I want to field all the sales calls, and I want all estimate inquiries to go to him… currently it’s impossible to do that with Callfire.

In addition to that, I want every voicemail transcription emailed to both of us, so if one is with a customer at the time, we can quickly scan when getting back in the car to head to the next appointment and determine if it can wait, or if it’s urgent.

Who I Use Instead For All My Lead Gen/Small Business Phone Lines Now (and why)

A couple of years ago, I stopped using Kall8 and Callfire for all my call tracking lines. I still have several old ones under all the platforms, but anything new I register with Phone.com simply for the functionality I described above. I’ve contacted Callfire support in the past to see why they haven’t upped the ante under the hood, but no dice still to this day. So, I have to stop recommending them, because you never know when a project you’re working on is going to take off and go full bore.

Phone.com Makes Delivering Leads Super Simple (and works better than Callfire for multiple recipient voicemails)

Most people often setup an 800 forwarding line, or just a local area code vanity number the same day they come up with their business name. Normally this just forwards to their personal cell phone, and they have no way to professionally call potential customers back without showing their personal caller id (which is usually not the same area code as you’re currently living, which reduces callback ratios) using a virtual phone system this way.

What I do, is whenever I come up with a new lead gen campaign or new business name, is immediately setup the business phone profile to include a professional greeting, extensions, and so on… so it’s sounds like a real company, and any initial marketing tests you do actually have a chance at traction from the very beginning.

My call flow and lead delivery goes like this initially, so I don’t waste time fielding sales calls since every virtual phone provider on the planet sells the number pool data (and subsequently you get an ungodly amount of bullshit calls):

  • Inbound call > company voicemail
  • Voicemail transcription enabled
  • Transcription and mp3 > emailed to the address of my choice
  • The option for text notifications for that line only

Callfire Competitors

Callfire VS Callrail VS RingCentral VS Google Voice VS Grasshopper
(for solid call tracking metrics)

Tons of people compare all these, and really they’re in different classes and should be broken out separately. Number forwarding services are not intended to be business VoIP systems, and IVR heavy interfaces aren’t typically friendly for anything other than broadcasting and mass text messaging. Comparing all of these together is about the worst idea ever. In addition to that, Grasshopper shouldn’t even be in this list, simply because they don’t do call recording at all.

Related Reading:

What is better, is to decide how you want to use the line, and think about what the future will hold for whatever project you’re working on. I talk about that in this video here:

What Really Matters For Call Tracking

When most people initially discover call tracking, usually they just want monthly reports to see how something is performing. As you get more advanced, you realize that you can ad throwaway numbers to a campaign, and test other variables you previously didn’t have access to.

The one elephant in the room, is call recording. I won’t use a phone service for a lead gen campaign without call recording. Even though the majority of the time I never have it enabled, if for some reason there is a problem somewhere with leads converting, and issue with staff, or any type of customer disagreement/complaints/reviews rolling in, I can quickly enabled it to record all calls and spot check any employee calls necessary.

This is an incredibly powerful tool, especially for partners or clients who say leads don’t convert. When you discover that they answer the phone horribly, and are even rude to customers in some cases, that’s usually all you need to terminate the contract with them, and find a provider that actually cares about the customer. (and your reputation)

Other Callfire Complaints? Pricing Is Awesome, And So Is The Platform Overall
(depending on what your needs are)

As you can tell by now, most of my complaints are feature based, not reliability related which is good. Will I still use Callfire for billboard type ad tests and whatnot? Absolutely. They’re cheap, super affordable even if you get an inbound call spike, and overall I like their layout of the control panel.

My only complaint as I said before, is related to voicemail and lead delivery. Even Kall8, which is one of the most dinosaur-istic virtual number providers under the hood, allows for voicemail creation and BCC email delivery to multiple recipients. Perhaps robo dialers are more their market these days, as I’m sure you’ve noticed the increase in nonsense automated calls to any of your business lines in the last 2 years or so.

My Go-To Callfire Alternatives I Use For Local Business Lines And Ecommerce Stores

  • Grasshopper – great for ecommerce stores that just need a cheap forwarding line for their business

    • Pros: backed by Cisco, excellent reliability and easy to use custom greetings
    • Cons: doesn’t have unlimited minutes, won’t do call tracking
  • Phone.com – the most flexible phone service I know of on the planet, cheap when starting out, can add phone adapters of voip desk phones if needed down the line, does everything including call recording
    • Pros: more advanced features for call tracking, higher end phone system
    • Cons: hardly any, this is my #1 recommendation for most business owners for it’s ultimate flexibility
  • RingCentral – a full featured business voip phone system
    • Pros: lets you support multiple locations, with office desk phone
    • Cons: pricing starts at $25/mo
Share.

About Author

Join the conversation on Matt’s case studies at CleverLeverage.com as he discovers and tests new ways to earn more income, learn alternative investment strategies to net >10%, maintain good health, and turn passions into online businesses.

Leave A Reply