The Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems for Small Business Compared

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Today, most business owners are making use of cloud-based technologies to support all their operations. Cloud-based solutions eliminate the requirement of purchasing and installing expensive hardware and also the need for regular maintenance and upkeep, not to mention the costs of upgrading that are associated with conventional telephone systems.

Cloud-based telephone systems have come as a boon to business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who make use of phone systems extensively, as they are a fantastic way to advance the communication structure and at the same time improving efficiency and also saving costs.

So, what is a cloud-based phone system? A cloud-based telephone system is essentially an offsite hosting of the business’ phone service instead of hosting the telephone system infrastructure in the office of the business. The phone system equipment is installed and maintained by the service provider and it is usually located at a remote cloud data center.

Also known as a hosted or virtual PBX, these cloud-based phone systems, make use of secure data technology and offer small- and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to completely eliminate the requirement of expensive hardware, equipment and unnecessary cabling. This also means that the VoIP service provider will take care of any technical issues, maintenance and upkeep of the phone system.

In this article, we have compared the services and pricing of 3 popular cloud-based phone service providers to enable you to make the best choice of a service for your business.

 

Ring Central

Set up in 1999 and headquartered in Belmont California, RingCentral has become one among the handful of leaders in the VoIP market. RingCentral provides its services that encompass the cloud communications platform to meet all the telecommunications requirements of your business, whether you are just starting your business or you are currently using landline phones and are looking to change to a cloud-based phone system.

RingCentral is extremely easy to install and use. If you are a new customer, RingCentral offers the services of an implementation specialist who will determine the number of phones your business requires, transferring the existing phone numbers, getting new lines, choosing toll-free or local numbers, etc.

Since the phone system is cloud-based, there is no requirement for any wiring or special equipment. The system runs on your existing internet connection. All you have to do is plug the phone system into your internet connection and you can start receiving and making phone calls. You just need the required bandwidth that will support the call volume of your business and a router to prioritize your voice traffic.

The entire telephone system is controlled via the online portal and you can add and modify users, manage extensions, assign phones, etc. RingCentral is available on Android and iOS devices and the mobile app allows its users to receive and make calls via the business line, receive and send faxes and also make conference calls. RingCentral offers 24×7 customer support via phone and the website has several user guides, “how to” videos, webinars and FAQs in case you need any help. And, the best part is that all these features are offered by RingCentral at very affordable and reasonable prices.

RingCentral Pricing

Essentials Package

  • For individuals and small teams
  • $19.99/month/user
  • Supports up to 10 users
  • Local or toll-free number
  • 100 toll-free minutes/month
  • Video conferencing for up to 4 people

 

Standard Package

  • For small businesses
  • $24.99/month/user
  • Supports unlimited users
  • Local or toll-free number
  • 1000 toll-free minutes/month
  • Video conferencing for up to 4 people
  • Unlimited internet fax

 

Premium Package

  • For departments and flexible teams
  • $34.99/month/user
  • Supports unlimited users
  • Local or toll-free number
  • 2500 toll-free minutes/month
  • Video conferencing for up to 50 people
  • Unlimited internet fax

 

Ultimate Package

  • For complete workforce integration
  • $49.99/month/user
  • Supports unlimited users
  • Local or toll-free number
  • 10000 toll-free minutes/month
  • Video conferencing for up to 75 people
  • Automatic call recording
  • Unlimited internet fax
  • Voicemail to text

 

Grasshopper

Founded in 2003 by two entrepreneurs, Grasshopper is perfect for small- and medium-sized businesses and since its creation, it has served over 300,000 businesses and entrepreneurs. The fact that Grasshopper requires no equipment or wiring and is extremely easy to install and use, makes it an extremely appealing option for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Grasshopper service works as a call-forwarding system and the company provides a toll-free or local number for the business with virtual extensions for the employees. Calls are answered by an automated assistant and the call is then forwarded to the particular department or employee at their home number or mobile phone.

Once you have signed up with Grasshopper, the entire phone system is controlled via their online portal and via the portal, you can add users, extensions, organize and listen to voicemails, create various departments, change phone numbers, view call reports, update plans and do a whole lot more.

The employees also can access the system through the online portal, mobile app or desktop app. They can choose the numbers where they want the calls to be forwarded to according to the day and time.

 

Grasshopper Pricing

Solo Package

  • $24 per month
  • Suitable for an entrepreneur
  • 1 number with 3 extensions

 

Partner Package

  • $49 per month
  • Suitable for a growing business (1-3 employees)
  • 3 numbers with 6 extensions

 

Small Business Package

  • $89 per month (voicemail transcription and texting included ($60/ month)
  • 5 numbers with unlimited extensions
  • All Grasshopper packages include unlimited minutes, 30-day money back guarantee and no long-term contracts.

 

Phone.com

Started in 2007, Phone.com was founded with the objective to be the most convenient self-service communications platform on the cloud for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The virtual hone service of Phone.com offers a complete suite of VoIP-based communication services to small- and medium-sized businesses at a very affordable price.

The cloud-based phone system from Phone.com is “always available” and grows along with your business. The phone system offers over 50 configured features, mobile and collaboration features along with every plan and a platform that connects all the devices in your business to deliver a comprehensive communications system.

The installation and setup of the phone system are practically instantaneous and does not require any hardware or maintenance. Phone.com allows you the choice of leasing IP phones or provides free adapters so that you can make use of your own phones. The phone system is available in 2 types of plans – pay-per-minute plans and unlimited plans.

The standard features offered by Phone.com are call handling features like call forwarding, auto attendants, dial by extension, dial by name, call transfer, call scheduling, call blocking, etc. User extension features like voicemail to email, voicemail, call logs, personalized greetings, call transfer, do not disturb, call queues, call notification, on-hold music, click to call, online faxing, etc

The premium features offered by the phone service are caller analytics, call recording, video conferencing, voicemail transcription, toll-free numbers, local numbers and professional recording.

Phone.com has a mobile app for both Android as well as iOS devices that allow you to receive and make phone calls via your mobile devices, send text messages via your business line, review online faxes and make conference calls. The phone system can be integrated with Salesforce and Zoho CRMs and the integrations have features such as click to dial, call tracking, screen pops, call tracking, etc. Every user has his/her own conference bridge that supports up to 500 participants. Phone.com is a member of the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and has an A+ rating.

Phone.com Pricing: Pay Per Minute Plans

Base Package

  • $12.99 per month (pay annually: only $9.99 per month)
  • 300 monthly minutes
  • 1 toll-free or local number
  • Unlimited user extensions
  • 5000 text messages
  • 40+ standard features such as voicemail to Email, call queuing, etc.

 

Plus Package

  • $19.99 per month (pay annually: only $14.99 per month)
  • 500 monthly minutes
  • 2 toll-free or local numbers
  • Unlimited user extensions
  • 10000 text messages
  • Standard features as per Base Plan + voicemail to text, automated voicemail, premium hold music, etc.

 

Pro Package

  • $39.99 per month (pay annually: only $29.99 per month)
  • 1000 monthly minutes
  • 3 toll-free or local numbers
  • Unlimited user extensions
  • 20000 text messages
  • Standard features as per Plus Plan + HD video conferencing, call analytics, etc.

 

Phone.com Pricing: Unlimited Plans

Base Package

  • $22.99 per month (pay annually: only $19.99 per month)
  • Unlimited monthly minutes
  • 1 toll-free or local number
  • Unlimited user extensions
  • 5000 text messages
  • 300 bonus included minutes
  • Call forwarding
  • 40+ standard features

 

Plus Package

  • $24.99 per month (pay annually: only $22.99 per month)
  • Unlimited monthly minutes
  • 2 toll-free or local numbers
  • Unlimited user extensions
  • 10000 text messages
  • 500 bonus included minutes
  • Premium hold music
  • All features included in Base Plan

 

Plus Package

  • $27.99 per month (pay annually: only $24.99 per month)
  • Unlimited monthly minutes
  • 3 toll-free or local numbers
  • Unlimited user extensions
  • 20000 text messages
  • 1000 bonus included minutes
  • HD video conferencing, call analytics
  • All features included in Plus Plan

 

You do not have to sign any long-term contracts with Phone.com. However, if you sign up for 1 year of service and pay the fees for the entire year upfront, you can benefit from the Phone.com discounted pricing. The Base Plan users of the service can avail of the 30-day money back guarantee offer.

Today, many small- and medium-sized businesses are moving to cloud-based phone systems as this system offers the businesses increased reliability and flexibility. And, if you feel that your business can benefit from a cloud-based phone system due to lack of budgets for the installation and maintenance of an on-site phone system, then it is a good idea to make a shift and move to a cloud-based solution.

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