In 2020, business phone services go far beyond having an office PBX installed. Powered by Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) technology, business telephony suites now include a multitude of options, from video conferencing to voicemail-to-email features.
With the VoIP market predicted to double to $150 billion globally by 2024, providers are further bolstering their offers with additional communication channels, integrations with other platforms, CRM features, and AI analytics capabilities.
Here is an overview of the offers by the top five VoIP-powered business phone services on the market in 2020.
1 - Nextiva
Recently named the best business phone service by U.S. News, Nextiva is one of the top business phone systems available.
The company provides cutting-edge cloud communications services, available on mobile and desktop apps, as well as VoIP phones, or - via adapter - regular desk phones. The offer is replete with headache-saving features like find-me-follow-me, integrations with many business applications, voicemail-to-email, and voicemail-to-text capabilities, and enhanced IVR based on conversational AI.
But Nextiva’s offer also encompasses a rich set of additional tools. The company’s NextOS platform lets you optimize productivity and enhance customer experience through advanced analytics, including predictive analysis, and machine learning features. Cospace, Nextiva’s new team collaboration tool, is based on the company’s own years of experience with a distributed workforce. The tool is an invaluable aid to many of Nextiva’s clients, especially in navigating the corona crisis with suddenly remote teams.
Finally, Nextiva also scores big on reliability and customer service. With an uptime of 99.999% (‘five-nines’), safeguarded by a large number of distributed data centers, the provider is one you can count on. The company’s customer service is outstanding, available 24/7 via email, live chat, and phone. In fact, Nextiva has just been awarded multiple Stevie awards - for the fifth consecutive year.
In terms of pricing, Nextiva’s basic tier is available for $19.95 per user and month. Costs for additional lines decreases with the number of users.
2 - Aircall
Aircall is a more specialized VoIP service providing complete call center solutions. The platform operates entirely in the cloud, without extra hardware.
Setting up a call center takes a few clicks in Aircall’s online interface, and admin is similarly straightforward. Call centers can be tailored for various uses, but always with the needs of sales and customer support teams in mind.
Covering voice and video calling as well as messaging, Aircall’s service is accessible through the company’s desktop, mobile, and web applications.
Many included services make the lives of call center operators and users easier. A feature-rich, native CRM system is complemented by helpdesk functionalities, tools for sales support, and productivity aids.
Another big plus is Aircall’s App Marketplace, which offers a rich host of extensions. Apps like Avoma or ExecVision transcribe and analyze business conversations, yielding actionable insights. Other apps allow for designing surveys or sales automation. Furthermore, Aircall natively integrates with HubSpot and Salesforce, and allows further extensions through Zapier.
Compared to other providers on this list, Aircall definitely operates in higher price spheres. Their basic plan starts at $30 per user and month, includes only limited functionalities, and requires a minimum of three users. The full range of features is unlocked at $50 per user and month.
3 - OnSIP
OnSIP offers powerful yet simple VoIP business telephony services. At highly attractive prices.
OnSIP provides both mobile and desktop apps enabling voice and video calling, conferencing, and messaging. It also includes features like auto attendants, voicemail-to-email, find-me-anywhere, and ACD queues. Native integrations are available for Slack, Microsoft, Google Analytics, Salesforce and Zendesk, and others. OnSIP’s intuitive online admin portal makes it easy to set up and manage.
What really makes this service stand out, though, are its flexible pricing options, which even include a free plan.
In terms of paid plans, customers can choose between an unlimited per-user plan for a monthly $18.95, or a pay-as-you-go plan for a standard monthly $49.95 per account and 2.9 cents per minute. OnSIP’s sayso service is free, enabling website visitors to click-to-call you directly.
One aspect of OnSIP’s pricing may be an advantage or a drawback depending on your specific needs: an extensive menu of features that can be added individually to plans.
While you won’t end up paying for features you never use, subscribing to a large number of added features like hold music, call recording, or an enhanced dashboard, can quickly drive up the subscription fee.
4 - Vonage
Flexible and scalable, this platform offers over 50 tools complementing their basic VoIP services. The platform is available on both smartphone and desktop apps, and can boast a five-nines uptime.
In terms of features, Vonage offers omnichannel support, for voice and video calling, messaging, live chats, and even social media integrations. Users can hold video conferences with up to 300 participants, have access to Amazon Chime, and can make use of tools like virtual receptionists.
Customer support is competent, though only emergency service is available outside weekday (8 a.m. - midnight ET) and weekend (9 a.m. - 9 p.m. ET) hours, which may be inconvenient if you have offices outside the U.S.
Vonage’s SMB offer starts at a price of $19.99 per user and month, going down to $14.99 for up to 99 users on the Mobile plan, which does not support desk phones. The Premium and Advanced plans begin at $29.99 and $39.99 respectively, with the latter including set-up by the company. For larger businesses and enterprises, custom pricing applies.
Vonage offers a broad set of features, high reliability, and high flexibility. It’s a particularly good fit for growing businesses, scaling smoothly. For very small businesses, however, you might get more value for your money elsewhere.
5 - Dialpad
Finally, Dialpad is another contender with a truly impressive set of features, with perhaps the strongest focus on AI features out of all the options on this list.
Its core business phone service runs on desktop and mobile apps, as well as VoIP-enabled desk phones. Voice, video, email, chat, and text messaging are all included, and so are all the standard VoIP telephony features like queuing and routing.
But this is where Dialpad is only getting started. AI plays a large part in the provider’s ecosystem. Features powered by AI and machine learning include automated note-taking during calls and real-time sales support. Voicemail and calls are automatically recorded and transcribed, form the basis of Dialpad’s extensive analytics capabilities, which yield in-depth insights.
Dialpad also shines when it comes to integrations, natively connecting to G Suite, Office 365, Salesforce, HubSpot, UberConference, and Slack. Like Aircall, Dialpad makes other integrations possible by taking advantage of Zapier’s services.
Customer service is 24/7 via live chat as well as round the clock on phone on weekdays (PST).
In terms of pricing, Dialpad’s basic tier runs to $20 per user and month. It’s limited in its analytics features and restricted to one business location. The full feature set including 24/7 phone support and advanced analytics only becomes available with the $35 per user and month enterprise plan.
Dialpad is a solid provider of business telephony with an impressive number of features and integration options. It may, however, not be the ideal fit for small business, as many useful features others include by default are only available in the higher tiers.
The Bottom Line
With the broad offer of VoIP business phone service providers, there is a suitable option for virtually any business out there.
Whether you gravitate towards specialized services like Aircall, price-competitive options like OnSIP, or providers that can boast all-round excellence like Nextiva, doing research on the perks that each package comes with, and crunching the numbers on plans, will pay off in the end.
Because at the end of the day, your choice of a business phone service suite, with all its integrations and tools, will form a strong basis on which to build your business communications strategy. Choose wisely and keep in mind the age-old adage - that communication is key.
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