The Best Business Phone Service Providers (Reviewed)

Filed in Articles by on December 23, 2020 0 Comments

Are you looking for the best business phone service? Having a phone service can help your business grow significantly. Business phone systems no longer serve as a tool for simply making and receiving calls. Today’s business phone systems allow employees to communicate by phone, video, and text messaging, giving businesses the flexibility to communicate with customers however they want.

The business phone system market has grown rapidly in recent years, with dozens of options to choose from, making it difficult to find the right solution for your business. To help you choose the best phone service for your business, we have researched and analyzed over 20 providers. Below are our top picks of the best business phone service providers.

The Best Business Phone Service Providers

1. Nextiva

Nextiva is the best business phone service in terms of features and ease of use. They offer a large set of features, with quick setup and reasonable pricing. It comes with a simple web-based admin panel which makes it easy for small business owners to easily manage the unified communications platform like a pro.

Nextiva’s VOIP phone service for small businesses includes advanced call routing, unlimited free domestic calling, voicemail to email and text, online faxing, text messages, and more. You also get a free local or toll-free number, free number porting, and all the standard call management features like caller ID, call forwarding, routing, custom greetings, advanced IVR (interactive voice response) system, and more.

As a platform Nextiva also offer other powerful features including CRM, Live Chat, online surveys, call analytics, and other solutions that work very well with the business phone system. Their phone call quality is excellent, their VoIP solution offers 99.999% uptime, and their customer service representatives are always helpful.

As a small business what we love the most is that Nextiva allows us to add a business line for cell phones so our team can receive incoming calls from our office or even when working remotely without having to share their personal cell phone numbers. The Nextiva app works on iPhone (iOS) and Google (Android) smartphones. They also provide us with text messaging and video conferencing, making it easier for our team to communicate with our clients using their preferred corporate communication channel.

With that said, if your business needs an office phone system that works on existing handsets, then Nextiva offer that as well. Call centers and enterprise companies often use Nextiva to transition their Avaya private branch exchange (PBX system) into a powerful cloud phone system with SIP trunking.

Nextiva is the official phone provider for top universities such as Stanford, UCLA, University of Southern California, as well as top brands like Taco Bell, Conan O’ Brian, and more.

2. RingCentral

RingCentral is another popular business phone service for companies of all sizes. They offer one of the most feature-rich small business phone systems on the market. Their business phone platform includes all the standard functionality you would need including unlimited calling, call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting and transfer, share one line on multiple mobile devices and users, SMS texting, and more.

Apart from that, it also comes with video meetings with screen sharing, 1000 toll-free minutes, and integrations with Gsuite, Dropbox, Microsoft, and other services. It comes with an intuitive cloud based administration that makes it super easy to set up and manage your calls.

You can also pay extra to get a vanity number for your business which allow you to have catchy and memorable business phone number. RingCentral is a great phone solution for both physical offices that are looking to replace landline phones as well as those moving to a virtual office. It can work with your telephone system when compatible, or you can use their virtual phone system through RingCentral desktop app and mobile app which works on all smartphones (iOS and Android).

Because RingCentral is one of the most popular business VOIP platform, they have a large app integration directory. This allows you to connect with other services for automatic transcription, voice over call recording service, sales call insights from Chorus.ai, integrations with call center software, connection with support help desk software, and many more add-ons, so you can have an integrated customer contact center.

3. GrassHopper

GrassHopper offers virtual phone numbers through voice over internet protocol (VOIP), and it is great for solopreneurs and small businesses. A virtual phone number means it can forward calls to any phone number or mobile device. However, for outgoing calls you will still need a regular phone line. They offer intuitive web and mobile apps to manage your account and phone service. You can use multiple extensions for your number, and you can choose from local, toll-free, and vanity phone numbers. It offers US, Canada, and UK based local and toll-free numbers.

GrassHopper comes with all standard features like call forwarding, routing, waiting, call hold music, voicemail to email transcripts, and more. It is perfect for remote teams because you can add extensions that can be used from anywhere using mobile or desktop apps.

4. Ooma

Ooma is a popular business VOIP phone provider that offers business phone numbers, and 1-800 toll free phone numbers at affordable prices. You can add a toll free number to any Ooma office plan. By default they will pre-select a toll-free phone number for you, but you also have the option to choose a new one.

Ooma office platform comes with all powerful features that you would expect such as virtual receptionist, extension dialing, music-on-hold, smart mobile phone apps, and more. Best of all the setup is very easy, and you can do it within minutes. You can use their control panel to easily manage calls, add new team members, and more.

5. Phone.com

Phone.com is another good option for small business phone service. They offer a simple web and app-based administration panel with standard phone service features like call forwarding, call routing, caller ID, conference calling, and more.

They include several European countries and Canada in their local call minutes which makes calling to those countries way cheaper. You can also integrate your business phone service to third-party CRM software like Salesforce and Zoho.

6. 8×8

8×8 is another great option for small business phone service. Their prices are slightly lower than other top small business phone systems, but they also lack some of the advanced features offered by their competitors.

8×8’s VOIP phone service includes all the standard features like call forwarding, number sharing, voicemail to audio email, automatic call attendance, mobile apps, chat, SMS, and more.

How to Choose the Best Business Phone Service

Several factors should be taken into account when choosing a business phone service provider. First and foremost, you want the service to have all the functions and features that your business needs. Can it support the number of employees who need the service? Does it have all the features that your business relies on or can benefit from?

While some businesses only want standard calling features like caller ID and voicemail, others want added functions like ring groups, automated attendants and on-hold music. Also consider any other communication tools your business needs.

Are you strictly looking for a system that allows you to talk over the phone, or are you in the market for more of a unified communications system that adds functions like video conferencing and instant messaging? Your answer to this question will guide you in your search for a new business phone system.

Another factor to consider is a business phone service’s reliability. A phone service is of no use if it isn’t up and running when you need it. This is especially important for a cloud-hosted solution. Ask each provider what its annual uptime percentage is. If it isn’t 99.999%, find out what the company is doing to correct the issues. Also ask about its service-level agreements and if it has any uptime-related clauses. Many business phone service providers will give users money back if the service doesn’t hit a certain uptime percentage.

If cloud-hosted systems aren’t a fit for your business, you need to find a phone provider that offers on-premises systems. With an on-premises system, instead of the PBX being hosted in the cloud, your business houses all the equipment. These systems have more upfront costs but not many of the ongoing monthly fees that cloud-based systems do.

Very small businesses may want to consider whether they need a true phone system with onsite desk phones. Businesses that can get by with just mobile phones will want to look into a virtual phone system. These systems connect a main business number to employees’ mobile phones. When someone calls the main business number, they are greeted by an automated attendant that can transfer them to different employees or departments. The call is then transferred to the appropriate employee’s mobile phone instead of a traditional office phone. Virtual systems are a good fit for very small businesses, businesses with a large remote workforce and solopreneurs.

Finally, what type of customer support does the company offer? If you don’t have a full-time IT staff that can handle any issues, you want a business phone system provider that will be available to answer questions when you have them, preferably through multiple channels and online resources.

Key Features of Small Business Phone Systems

Today’s business phone systems offer dozens of valuable features for small businesses. This is one of the true benefits of the cloud-hosted system: Cloud-based phone systems have opened the door for small businesses to access all of these features without spending a ton of money. Previously, only larger businesses could afford feature-rich systems because of the capital required to install all of the necessary equipment. 

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Small businesses may benefit from these features, among others:

  • Unlimited calling: Many of today’s cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems include unlimited domestic calling for no additional charge. This gives you a fixed cost for the monthly service that doesn’t fluctuate based on how many calls your business makes and receives.
  • Automated attendants: This answers calls made to your business and routes calls to the proper employees or departments.
  • Ring groups: This feature allows you to group employees together so that, if someone calls needing someone in that group, all of their phones will ring. You can choose for phones to ring in a specific order or all at the same time.
  • Voicemail: In addition to traditional voicemail service, many business phone systems offer voicemail-to-email functionality. This sends either audio recordings or transcriptions of voicemails to the user’s email inbox, so they can read or listen to their messages even if they are away from the office.
  • Call recording: This gives phone systems users the ability to record their calls. Calls are then stored in the cloud or on their computers for playback later.

Other valuable features many business phone systems offer include extension dialing, call forwarding, call queues, and integrations with services like Microsoft Office and G Suite.

These systems also offer features that can boost a business’s collaboration abilities, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, presence indicators and online meetings.

Types of Business Phone Systems

Businesses in need of a multiline phone system have several options. The choices vary based on where equipment is housed, how connections are made and the cost structure, among other things.

Landline

Landline phone systems use traditional phone system connections and wiring provided by local and regional phone companies. These systems require onsite PBX equipment that your in-house IT team maintains and upgrades. These systems require a large upfront capital expenditure for all of the PBX equipment. Landline systems are falling by the wayside, as more and more phone system providers are no longer making equipment to support this type of business phone system.

VoIP

Instead of using traditional copper wiring connections like landline systems do, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems rely on internet connections to facilitate calls. This allows you to run your phone system off of the same internet connection your company uses to go online. There are two different types of VoIP systems:

  • Cloud-hosted VoIP: Cloud-hosted systems house their PBX equipment in the cloud. This means that the phone system provider is responsible for maintaining and upgrading it. To use a cloud-hosted system, all you have to do is plug your business’s configured IP phones into your local area network. These systems don’t require any upfront costs. Instead, businesses pay a monthly per-user fee. Costs usually range from $15 to $60 per user, per month.
  • On-premises VoIP: These systems are similar to landline systems in that the PBX equipment is housed inside your business. You are required to handle all of the maintenance. The difference is that these systems still facilitate calls via internet connection rather than landline. This gives your business more control over how the phone system operates and allows you to install any security measures you want. On-premises VoIP systems require large upfront capital investment as well as smaller monthly fees to cover the required connections for making and receiving calls.

Virtual Phone System

Another option businesses have is a virtual phone system. These systems don’t require any equipment, not even phones. A virtual system works as an extensive call-forwarding tree. You set these systems up so that all of the calls to your main business number are automatically routed to your employees’ mobile phones. You have total control over where calls are routed to and in what order. These systems only charge monthly fees.

Business Phone System FAQs

Having helped thousands of business owners find the best business phone service for their needs, we have answered quite a lot of questions. Below are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions about VoIP business phone systems and service providers.

Is business VoIP phone service cheaper than a landline phone?

Yes, VoIP business phone systems are cheaper than on-premise landline because it uses your existing internet connection rather than requiring a separate system or hardware. VoIP business phone service also lessen internal IT and support burdens by simplifying the overall workflow.

Typical landline phone providers charge extra for advanced call features like call queuing, call transfer / automatic call forwarding, music on hold, extension dialing, conference bridge, etc. With business VoIP all the advanced features are included, and you can even save up to 90% on internal calling costs.

Can I switch from landline phone to business VoIP service?

Yes, you can easily convert your landline business phone system to an online business VoIP solution. All the top business phone system companies like Nextiva and RingCentral make it easy for you to keep the same business phone number when switching from landline to VoIP.

Can I use my cordless phone with business VoIP?

Yes, you can use your existing cordless phones and desk phones with most business VoIP providers. All the top providers that we mentioned in our list also come with a mobile phone app that you can install on your personal cell phones as well. If you’re currently using analog phones or have a PBX setup, then you can use a VoIP adapter to keep the same business phone system.

What are the disadvantages of VoIP business phone systems?

VoIP business phone services make phone calls over internet. The biggest disadvantage is that if you do not have a reliable internet connection, then your customer call quality will not be as good. Also if your business experiences a power outage, then it likely means that your internet router will also lose power. This can lead to call dropping. We always recommend using a battery backup with your internet router to avoid call quality issues.

These disadvantages can be easily mitigated, and the advantages of VoIP business phone systems simply outweigh any cons. You get all the advanced call features like call routing, music on hold, conference calling, auto-attendant, interactive voice response (IVR), call queuing, extension dialing, voicemail forwarding, and a lot of flexibility without the high the high costs of landline phones.

We hope that this guide helped you choose the best business phone service for your business.

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