Phone Solutions for Business – the Top Providers for 2022 and Ahead
In the past, companies that wanted powerful business phone systems had to pay a lot of money for them. It was expensive both to install the whole phone infrastructure iand to use a private branch exchange (PBX) system. Especially if there were multiple lines to manage. But as all businesses used to rely on phone calls as their main channel of communication with customers, getting a dedicated phone line was simply a must.
Fortunately, there’s now another option. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers make setting up a phone system easier and cheaper than ever before. They also provide features like video conferences, team chats, and voicemail-to-email services.
That’s why 61% of businesses using traditional landline phones said that they intend to upgrade to VoIP systems when their current contracts expire.
Which phone solution for business should you pick out of the many available options on the market? We’ll tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision. We will also compare three popular business phone solutions so that you’ll have an idea of what they offer.
How does a business phone system work?
Analog lines and PBX systems have been the most reliable calling options for a long time. They provide just enough useful features for businesses (such as call transfer and extensions) to justify the costs.
So even though a regular phone line was a lot of hassle to set up and use (including a dedicated room to host all the equipment and IT staff to keep it running), it was still the most popular choice for businesses.
But as the technology has evolved, analog phones relying on traditional landlines have been left in the dust by cloud platforms and VoIP services. Contrary to traditional ones, virtual phone systems are hosted online and maintained by the provider. As a result, they don’t require any dedicated office space.
What’s more, virtual phone systems can be configured through a user-friendly interface without having to ask an IT professional for help. And the differences don’t stop there; we’ve put together a quick comparison of the features of traditional phone lines and virtual cloud platforms in the table below.
|Categories||Traditional phone system||Virtual cloud system|
High – you have to pay upfront for dedicated equipment, cable infrastructure, and a PBX platform.
|Lower – you only need to pay for the cloud platform subscription.|
|Regular usage costs|
High – phone bills, maintenance costs, and any add-ons all increase the end cost.
Lower – the costs of calling through the internet are much lower, plus all maintenance is handled by the platform provider.
Long – It is difficult to change or upgrade the phone system before your contract ends.
|Flexible – cloud-based platforms offer both monthly and yearly contracts.|
|Ease of scaling|
Low – upgrading the system is complicated and expensive.
High – you can easily add new features, users, or phone lines from the platform’s dashboard.
Low – can only be used in the location where the phone lines have been installed.
High – employees can use any device they wish and anywhere they are, as long as they have a stable internet connection.
As you can see, virtual cloud platforms have many benefits that give them a big advantage over traditional systems. From being much easier to set up and more flexible in contract length, to having greater ease of scalability and portability.
We’ve also touched upon how both the initial and regular usage costs are lower for virtual cloud systems than traditional phone lines. They can therefore help business owners save a significant amount of money, but just how much?
How much can a business phone system cost you?
While we are on the topic of budgets, virtual phone solutions for business can actually save you a pretty penny. PBX sets are not cheap, though their cost is determined largely by the company’s size. Including the base system, the actual phones, any additional features, wiring and installation, plus training and support in most cases sum up to an end cost of approximately $800 to $1,000 per employee.
How does it look with cloud platforms, then?
- The average VoIP costs are around $20 to $30 per user per month, while the installation costs are little to none. For example, CloudTalk can be fully assembled by you in a matter of minutes, with no need of IT support.
- Businesses adopting VoIP technology can expect to save between 50% and 75% on communication costs.
- Thanks to using a VoIP platform, new businesses can reduce their startup costs by up to 90%.
Where do those savings come from?
One aspect is that companies simply no longer need several dedicated telephone desk handsets. They don’t have to pay for the installation and maintenance of telephone lines in the office either. Long-distance and overseas call charges are also much cheaper with VoIP, since all calls – regardless of destination – are routed through the internet.
But there are also more indirect savings from the increased productivity and efficiency of your team, thanks to the multiple features available with such platforms. Traditional phone systems, on the other hand, usually require extra payment for the installation of additional features, such as a virtual attendant.
Meanwhile, cloud-based systems come with numerous features available right out of the box. Among tools commonly offered by providers are call routing, call forwarding, voicemail notifications, or call recording. If any new features are added to the platform later on, you’ll most likely get them included free of charge. This is unlike a typical PBX, for which you’d have to pay a fee for every new addition.
The best business phone systems for small companies
ResearchAndMarkets recently estimated that the global market for VoIP services will grow from $85.2 billion in 2021 to $102.5 billion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% during the period of 2021-2026. Considering the popularity of online calling, it is not surprising that the number of available VoIP services and platforms quickly grows as well.
But how can companies identify which platform is best for them since so many exist, each with different features and pricing plans? We have selected three outstanding cloud-based phone systems and compared them so you can explore their features.
Its outstanding call quality and over 70 features make CloudTalk one of the top-rated virtual contact center platforms on Capterra, being awarded as “Emerging Favourite” and “Top Performer” of 2021.
- Rating on Capterra: 4.5
- Pricing: there are three pricing plans offered by CloudTalk, plus a custom option. When paid annually, the lowest (Starter) plan is $25 per user per month, while the Essential plan costs $30 per user per month and an Expert plan goes by $50 per user per month.
- Features: CloudTalk boasts 70 features, which places it among the market leaders in terms of quantity. Among them are several analytics tools (from call statistics to agent reporting and emotion analytics), intelligent dialers, conference and three-way calling, plus callback.
- Integrations: CloudTalk offers 40+ direct integrations as well as Zapier and Integromat plugins. With Zapier and Integromat, you can literally connect it to any app that you can think of.
- On the constantly growing list of supported apps and tools, you can find HubSpot, Zendesk, Shopify, Copper, and Microsoft Dynamics, as well as BigCommerce, Front, and Helpscout.
Find out how to obtain a free business phone number and why you should do it:
Vonage was the pioneer of VoIP phone services when it launched in 2001. Now they offer voice, messaging, and video solutions for businesses, together with standard PBX phone sets.
- Rating on Capterra: 4.0
- Pricing: Vonage offers three pricing plans (Basic, Premium, and Advanced) with the cost of each depending on the number of users. For 10 users, let’s say, the price would be $17.99, $27.99, or $37.99, respectively.
- Features: There are 50+ unified communication features like automated voicemail, conference bridges, call monitoring tools, and click-to-dial.
- Integrations: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Office 365, Hubspot, Zendesk, and Zoho are just some of their most popular integrations.
CallHippo is a virtual phone system that offers toll-free and local phone numbers in more than 50 countries, as well as several integrations.
- Rating on Capterra: 4.2.
- Pricing: CallHippo’s four different plans for you to choose from are Bronze ($16 per user per month), Silver ($24), Platinum ($40), and Enterprise ($48).
- Features: CallHippo includes several useful features, including a multilingual IVR, unique phone numbers for each department or agent, and call analytics.
- Integrations: Over 90 integrations are available inside the app, including Pipedrive, Salesforce, Zendesk, Groove, and Shopify.
Features you can use for remote work
Before 2020, being allowed to work from home occasionally was often seen as a perk. Now though, remote work is the new normal. Currently, 58.6% of the American workforce works remotely, with 41% fully so. If you want to make employees’ remote work easier and help them provide the best service possible, there are a several features of cloud phone solutions for businesses that you should be interested in:
- Call recording: allows you to record and save all calls as audio files. As soon as a call ends, you can listen to it directly from your web browser.
- Audio and Video conferencing: in just a couple of minutes you can schedule an audio or video conference and invite anyone you want to join such as your clients or suppliers.
- 3-way calling: when a situation requires it (for example, your remote agent needs help with a difficult client), you can easily add a third person to the call.
- Agent status: no matter where your employees work, you can quickly check their status (are they busy, idle, or absent?) and know to whom you can direct an incoming call.
- Mobile app: all cloud platforms come with a mobile app that your employees can use to stay in touch with their customers at any time.
All these features and many more can be found inside CloudTalk, helping your remote agents work more smoothly and efficiently. However, that’s not all. Every new feature added to the platform is usually available to you and your employees pretty quickly, without you having to ask an IT crew to add it or pay extra for it.
We are sure you’ve heard this before: there’s no “one right office phone system” that’s a perfect fit for every business. To find the right system for you and your team, first you should think about your and your employees’ needs, then take advantage of all the free trials that are available for the various solutions.
Since CloudTalk is so easy to customize, we are confident that it will be beneficial to smaller, local companies as well as to larger businesses. Plus, the amount of remote-friendly features provided will surely make working outside the office easier than ever in the upcoming year.
Virtual phone solutions FAQs
Q: How is a virtual phone service different from a landline?
A: Rather than using a server located in your office, a virtual phone runs on an online one. This means you don’t have to keep any equipment or wiring for the phone line, since the service provider will handle everything.
Q: Is the call quality any worse with internet calls?
A: Quite the opposite. As VoIP platforms use wideband codecs for call quality, that allows you to enjoy crystal clear sound regardless of the distance.
Q: How can I add new phone numbers or users to a virtual phone solution? Do I need to call someone from the IT department?
A: Not at all. You can create and add new phone numbers or users to the platform straight from its main dashboard in just a couple of clicks. This also means that you can make any changes the moment you need them, such as giving a new employee a platform access straight away.