Please Share!

VOIP Service

In our last article we continued our series on VOIP services, with a look at setting up your small business VOIP.  In today’s article we are going to continue that series, with a look at who is the best VOIP service provider.  So let’s get started!

Our Top Choice For Small Business VOIP: Nextiva

Nextiva offers a 30 day money-back guarantee with no cancellation charges or any other fees. The 30-day guarantee not only applies to their services, but also to the internet enabled phones purchased through them.

Try Nextiva With A 30 Day Moneyback Guarantee!

The good news for small businesses  is that there are a large number of hosted small business VOIP service providers that offer amazing features and functionality at an incredibly low price. (Hosted VOIP means a phone system that uses your existing internet connection, with no special hardware located at your office.)  You should be able to equip your employees with their own direct dial extension, voicemail, and fax with unlimited local and local distance minutes in the United States  and Canada for around $30 per month per employee (before taxes and regulatory fees that add around 10% the price).

RingCentral and The Small Business VOIP Service Competition

The industry giant in the small business VOIP space is RingCentral. The company has over 350,000 users, which is more than double their next largest competitor. While size doesn’t always mean better (and there are some drawbacks to using RingCentral), it can mean the company is less likely to go out of business or be swallowed by a competitor. If you have major concerns about your business being disrupted by changing phone service vendors, RingCentral has an edge. Competitors to RingCentral include Jive, Vocalocity and Nextiva.

RingCentral offers a 30 day money-back guarantee (21 days on hardware): Try RingCentral.

Our Top Choice For Small Business VOIP: Nextiva

Nextiva is the lowest cost provider of small business VOIP services, has US based customer support and a dedicated team that helps you set-up.

RingCentral

2.5 Stars

Nextiva

4 Stars

Jive

3.5 Stars

Vocalocity

3.5 Stars

Basic Pricing For 7 Employees

$209.93 Total

Per Month

Excludes Taxes

$174.65 Total

Per Month

Excludes Taxes

$195.65 Total

Per Month

Excludes Taxes

$189.87 Total

Per Month

Excludes Taxes

Customer Service

Combination of US & Overseas,

Dedicated Set-up Person

US Support, Dedicated Onboarding Team

US Support,

Dedicated Onboarding Team

US Support, No Dedicated Onboarding Team

Cool Features

Business SMS

Call Continuity

Learn More

Learn More

Learn More

Learn More

What did not make it into the table?

Uptime

All the business VOIP IP providers just mentioned guarantee that your service will be up 99.999% of the time, or you will get some money back. They have redundant hosting locations, so if one of their data centers gets hit by a natural disaster, your phone services should not be down for more than a few minutes. There are some scattered reports of these services being down, however, overall they all seem to be very reliable.

Month-To-Month Contracts

None of these providers lock you into contracts. You can switch service providers without penalties. This has two benefits, you don’t have to pay a big sum upfront, and if they provide poor service you’re not locked in.

Hardware

With all the business VOIP providers, you will need to buy a desktop SIP Phone, internet phones for your employees (unless they will be exclusively using their mobile). These phones will cost between $50 and $250 per phone depending on quality and features. However, the phones are not locked to a particular service provider. In other words, this is a one time cost.

Mobile Workforce / Softphone

Your employees that have iPhones or smartphones with Android operating systems, not only can receive calls coming into their work phone number, but can make calls from their phone that appear to be coming from their work number.  They turn their smartphone into a “softphone” (aka a virtual work phone) by downloading an app.

Pricing: How We Evaluated Pricing & Details

While on the surface small business voip providers all appear to provide simple to flat  per user pricing with tiers based on the number of users, the cost of your service can vary greatly depending on what features you want to include.

To compare apples to apples, we asked each business voip provider to give us a quote based on our company having seven employees, each needing to have their own direct dial extension with voicemail. Also, we asked for one call group. An extension or menu option which would ring multiple users at once, such as sales or customer service. All the plans we considered had unlimited local and long distance minutes for the United States and Canada.

Nextiva The cheapest plan was offered by Nextiva, which came in at $174.65 per month. While several of the business VOIP providers claim that they offer all inclusive pricing, Nextiva was the only one that their basic per user price, $24.95 included everything that I wanted.

RingCentral The most expensive plan was offered by RingCentral. However, there are two benefits of buying from RingCental:

  1. For those willing to make an annual commitment they offer yearly plans which brings their basic price in line with the other VOIP providers.
  2. You get to cancel within one month (two if you ask a salesperson) and get a full refund on the service.

Vocalocity The second cheapest was offered by Vocalocity at $189.87.  The pricing model for Vocalocity was different than the other small business VOIP providers. Where the other provides offered free efax and call groups as part of their basic product offering, Vocalocity charged a la carte for these services. If you have relatively simple requirements, Vocalocity is one of the cheapest, but gets more expensive as you want more features. Also, the $189.87 pricing includes discounts thrown in by the salesperson. As Vocalocity is probably the smallest firm included in this list, my guess is the salesperson has a fair degree of freedom to cut deals. You might be able to bring the cost much lower.

Jive In the middle of the pack was Jive at $195.65. While they promote that their monthly per user fee is all inclusive, you have to pay $1.75 extra per month for each phone number that can be directly dialed.

Bottom line

Each VOIP provider has a different pricing policy. Before you begin, you need to write down exactly what you want and get quotes for the vendor:

  1. Number of Users
  2. Number of Devices That Will Be Connected
  3. Number of Phone Numbers
  4. Number of Call Groups
  5. Use Of The 800 Number. Once you get a quote, don’t be afraid to negotiate to get a lower price.

Best Small Business VOIP For Price: Nextiva

Customer Service: Location & Dedicated Account Set-up

There were two areas in which we looked at customer service.

Was the customer service based out of the United States or Overseas?

The only firm which had overseas based support (for customers with under 10 users) was RingCentral. All the other firms had U.S. based customer support during the daytime and a 24 hour emergency number if your phone system was malfunctioning. In case of Vocalocity, both the sales and support teams are based out of Atlanta. Both my business partner and I got a good feeling after talking to Vocalocity.

Did the firm have a dedicated account set-up team?

With the exception of Vocalocity, every firm claims that they have dedicated teams that will provide you with one-on-one attention when initially setting up your phone system. Vocalocity gives live interactive webinars for new clients three times per week. PC Magazine describes that setting up a phone system with Jive is more intuitive than RingCentral. (The articles by Fasmida Rashida are educational regardless of what provider you are considering. Too bad he doesn’t review Nextiva or Vocalocity.)

Best Small Business VOIP for Service and Set-up: Jive

Cool Features

Send Text Messages – RingCentral is the only business VOIP provider that allows you to send text messages using your business phone numbers.

Call Continuity – What happens if the internet in your office goes down? What happens if the power in your office gets shut down? Vocalocity has you covered. Every 20 seconds they check your internet and power. If either is down, they have a number (typically, a mobile number) which they will forward calls to for each extension.

Try Nextiva Now With A 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!

That’s our article for today.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below.

View This Article As A Slideshare: 

Print Friendly