Small Business VOIP Service: Who Is The Best?

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Several small business VOIP providers offer phone systems with amazing features and functionality at low prices. (VOIP is a phone system that uses an internet connection to carry calls, with no special hardware needed to be installed at your office. )  Your business will be able to provide employees with their own direct dial phone number, unlimited local and long distance minutes in the United States, voicemail, and fax, for around $30 per month per employee (before taxes and regulatory fees that add around 10% the price).

Our Top Choice For Small Business VOIP: Nextiva

Our choice for best small business VoIP phone provider for 2014 / 2015 is Nextiva. We chose Nextiva for two reasons: 1) excellent customer service and 2) Stability of service in an industry which likely to have consolidation.

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.

nextiva---Mini

Best Small Business VoIP Provider: Nextiva vs. RingCental vs. Phone.com Summary Table

 

Nextiva
4 Stars

RingCentral
3.5 Stars

Phone.com
3.5 Stars

Free Trial?

30 Day Money back Guarantee

Free 30 Day Trial

Free 30 Day Trial

Monthly Contact
Basic Pricing For 7
Employees

$258 + Taxes
Per Month

$260 + Taxes
Per Month

$194 + Taxes
Per Month

Yearly Contact
Basic Pricing For 7
Employees

$244 + Taxes
Per Month
(Paid Monthly)

$185 + Taxes
Per Month
(Must Pay All 12 Months Upfront

$180 + Taxes
Per Month
(Must Pay All 12 Months)

Unlimited US Calls?

Yes

Yes

Yes

800 Number?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Mobile apps to receive & make calls
from business #

iOS, Android, Window Phones

iOS, Android

iOS, Android, Blackberry

Online Fax

Yes

Yes W/ Digital Signature


Yes

Customer Service

US Based Phone, Email, & Chat

Not Solely US Based By Phone, Email, and Chat

24 Hour Support, US Based

Learn More

Learn More

Learn More

Which Small Business VoIP Providers Did We Not Include?

There are three very large VOIP companies which we did not include,  OOMA, Vonage and 8×8. In the case of OOMA and Vonage, we believe these companies are primarily focused on servicing retail customers and view small businesses as an extension of this market. Thus, we don’t think they will be investing in developing features specifically for small businesses. Also, we didn’t include 8×8, because they primarily serve large businesses and organizations (over 100 employees).

Why We Chose Nextiva As The Best Small Business VoIP Phone Service

nextiva

This was a very close call.  We chose Nextiva vs. RingCentral because of customer support. We chose Nextiva vs. Phone.com because we are unsure of Phone.com’s future as an independent company.

Nextiva provides US based customer support and answers 95% of all calls within two rings or less. Its major competitor, RingCentral only guarantees US based customer to larger companies, those paying for more than 20 lines.

Nextiva is a rapidly growing company, which recently added several hundred employees. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Phone.com is growing nearly as rapidly. Given the enormous benefits of scale in providing VoIP services, it’s likely that many smaller providers will merge with larger ones or go out of business. For a company doesn’t want to have worry about the stability of its service provider, Nextiva is a better choice than Phone.com.

Try Nextiva

Small Business VOIP Costs

Pricing for small business VOIP can be very confusing. The pricing plans quoted above are all for unlimited US and Canada calling minutes. If your company doesn’t receive or make many calls (under 500 minutes per month per user), you might be much better off with a pay per minute plan. While RingCentral and Nextiva don’t offer such a plan, Phone.com does, at just under 4 cents per minute.

All the companies above offer a free 30 day trial or money back guarantee. However, you may be able to negotiate with your account executive for extra free month.

One cost not mentioned in the table above is the cost of the phones handsets themselves, which can range from $50 to $200 per handset. The good news is that VOIP enabled handsets work for all providers, so you can switch without having to invest again. Often, providers have specials or even give away free handsets.

phone.comPhone.com is by far the cheapest provider for both the monthly and annual contracts at $194 for 7 users on the monthly contract and $180 per month for an annual contract. However, the price would be even less if each user only needed an extension and not a unique phone number. In that case, the price would drop by $30 per month. Visit Website

rc logoRingCentral monthly pricing ($260 for 7 users) looks similar to Nextiva’s pricing when there is no annual contract. However, it radically drops ($185) with an annual contract. There’s a catch however. You have to pay for the entire year upfront when in exchange for the better pricing.  Visit Website

nextivaNextiva is a tad lower than that RingCentral at ($258) for seven users on the monthly contract. However, we did compare the middle-tier service offering of Nextiva to lowest cost offering of RingCentral. The mid-tier offering “Office Pro Plus” included conference calling and the ability to use a mobile phone to make and receive calls from an office number, while the lowest cost offering of RingCentral includes these vital features. Visit Website

Standard Features of Small Business VoIP Phone Service

All three of these voip providers will enable you and your employees to make and receive calls anywhere in the United States with high quality audio for free. Here are some basic features which are standard with all three providers.

  • Each employee and / or department can have their own unique phone number, phone greeting, and voicemail box.
  • Each company can use local phone numbers, have an 800 number or a combination of the two.
  • An auto-attendant can direct callers to the right department or you can give callers the options of dial by name directory.
  • You can set rules for how calls are handled. For examples, sales calls can ring on multiple lines at once or roll from one person to another if calls aren’t picked up.
  • Employees can make and receive call on their personal smartphone, using their business phone number.
  • You can send and receive electronic faxes (e-faxing).
  • All services will help you port / transfer your existing number to your new phone service.

Customer Service

nextivaNextiva provides all US based customer support by phone, email, and chat. However, the hours are limited to 5 AM – 6 PM MST during weekdays and 9 AM – 1 PM MST on Saturday.

phone.comPhone.com claims to offer 24 hour US support, however, I have serious questions about the availablity of the support. Two or three times, I asked questions by chat during normal business hours and had to wait around 5 or 6 minutes to get a response to simple question.

rc logoRingCentral offers 24 hour support, with a mix of US and non-US based support / onboarding for those that have less than 20 phone users.

The Bottom Line

After reviewing all the top players, we chose Nextiva as the best small business VoIP phone company based on their superior customer service and stability in a constantly changing industry.

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

Comments

  1. Mark says

    As a Nextiva customer for the past year, I agree with your views. It’s a great company and I was thorough in my research before selecting them. I shopped around and talked to ever voip service company multiple times before making my decision. While their price of service is competitive and affordable. Nextiva blows it out of the water when it comes to their customer support and help desk. A great company and I’m a happy customer.

  2. says

    Having used other services in the past, I will gladly stick with Nextiva! As mentioned by many others, the support along is in my mind reason number one to go with Nextiva. There is nothing worse than shelling out your hard earned cash for a product, only to find out later that you have been abandoned… Take Microsoft for instance… good luck finding a number for tech support! Once you do find someone, companies like this are so big that getting the right person, I mean someone that actually understands your question and knows how to fix the issue is darn tough! Then you realize all they want to do is sell you stuff… that’s their answer, just keep buying new stuff…Oh and please sign up to give feedback… this way they monitor your problems and figure out the issues that should have been fixed before the premature release of the new software or hardware! No thanks! I have resolved enough of your mistakes by donating my time explaining what is broken! Nextiva does have as any VOIP an occasional dropped call… but no matter what they are there… reachable…knowledgeable… and fix the problem FAST! Prices are as good as it gets for what you get! In my mind they are awesome! I have referred them to customers and suppliers… all are as happy as I am and are saving BIG MONEY… year after year! Try Nextiva first, and save yourself a lot of hassle! not to mention cash money! Good luck if you choose another! I think most of these reviews are fixed… yep someone gets paid to recommend a company and to write a review! I could not believe that Nextiva was not listed number one on every one of these top VOIP Choices! I guess they are busy supporting/training their customers, and not busy paying for the rankings! Myself, I buy and sell lumber, have for 29 years, I am a professional with thousands of direct contacts… I have made it a point to make at least one cold call per day since 1985… The phone is my life-line…the money machine! I need it to be working all day every day as I am dialing for dollars! Thanks to Nextiva, their staff and software, I’m online and efficient!

    • says

      Hi Michael, Good luck with those cold calls! My dad for a few years sold forest products (pine bark and peat moss) to nurseries. He was constantly cold calling and developing new relationships. Like you, his phone was his lifeline.

      The main point you make is that Nextiva has great customer service. On the other hand, the big knock against the largest player in the industry, RingCentral is that their customer services is bad. Definitely, a reason to chose Nextiva.

      Thanks for contributing!

    • says

      Hi SJ, If your self-employed google voice or skype might be a wonderful solutions, we are were thinking about doing an article “Free” VoIP solutions which would focus on them. However, I don’t know how these solution scale for companies that a more than a couple people and if they have the features that a small business might want like, an auto-receptionist or group ringing. Best, Marc

  3. Amy says

    I would definitely opt for Ringcentral when it comes to business. They are big and reliable. At least that’s one of the reason I pick them.

  4. Steve Calder says

    Thank you for an informative article. I found your article because I wish to support US based customer service departments, thus I will not be using Ring Central, despite the raving reviews I’ve received from local business owners here. I am a Nextiva subscriber, but am switching due to ongoing issues around call forwarding and message lights that do not work with consistency, and voicemails that get lost or come into our phones a week late! Nextiva has tried to help, but I could not even grant them an extended 30 days to fix the simple call forwarding issues when other feature issues came up. I signed on with them (mo. to mo.)in Oct. ’13. Their upper and Senior Management where attentive, but even this dialogue did not result in permanent fixes to the simple features I needed to have and where part of the package.
    The phone clarity is amazing, the customer service is attentive, but when there are system resets, your phone features can get changed to something you do not know about or even realize the feature was changed until you’ve lost calls or clients…….
    I’ve had 2 other Voip providers, since 2006. One you know about as above, the other one is a big name too, that just did not have the consistent clarity or good customer service . Unlike the reliability of the old hard wired phones, be prepared for hardware and software issues, changes that happen on the providers side. Note, you will have issues, it is a question of when. When that happens, the price is secondary. More important in keeping a customer, is the vendors’ customer service such as how quickly the issue is fixed and how long the “fix” stays in place. Watch out for those nasty “system upgrades”.
    Thanks again, Marc, for the fine article.

    • says

      Hi Steve, Thanks for the detailed informative post! Getting this feedback from actual users shapes our opinions/reviews. Can you be more descriptive about the call forwarding and message light problems? How often are there system resets? Thanks, Marc

    • says

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your feedback regarding your experience with Nextiva’s service. We will have someone from the Office of the CEO reach out to you shortly to discuss your experience.

      Sincerely,
      The Nextiva Team

  5. D M Barlow says

    No thanks on Nextiva. I have had their service since June 2013 and have been sorely disappointed. I have had at least 5 days when the service goes down for hours at a time, the last one being about 8 true hours and 4 business hours. The fax service is worse. They seem to attract spammers who crash their servers sending out spam faxes but in my business I can’t have a fax take 4 hours to arrive. The customer service everyone raves about hasn’t been so great for me. They don’t listen, they want to treat you like an idiot on every call and don’t seem to have any notes in the file to distinguish between a user who understands his own network and can talk about what steps have already been taken to ensure the problem is not local versus the guy who knows nothing and needs help on every step. They charged me more to have the ability to connect with Salesforce and have “softphones” from my computer but then they say afterward in order to have that service you need to buy something from some other 3rd party. I am a first timer moving to VOIP but I am ready to try a new provider because I got to believe life can be better than this. Also the admin panel for their service is not intuitive – you have to search help to understand the simplest of feature processes. My biggest problem though is down time on the phone and fax service. There is a common error on the fax that says the number you have dialed doesn’t detect a fax line. Well that is because if the line you are calling is busy then Nextiva tries back 3 times all within 1.5 minutes and then determines the line to be bad. I asked them to extend those times because it isn’t uncommon for a fax line to be busy for a couple of minutes but they have been either unwilling or unable to make the change.

    • says

      Hi D M Barlow, Thanks for providing that detailed review of your poor Nextiva experience. I hate hearing that people are having problems with the company that we have been recommending. When we review our recommendation for 2014, I can promise you that we will keep in mind the feedback from you and Steve Calder, who also had a bad experience. Thanks for contributing.Best Marc

  6. Bob Tucker says

    I’ve been searching for a VoIP company to replace my business landline and finally decided to go for Nextiva. It’s true that there is a lot of VoIP alternatives out there but Nextiva is the one that surpassed the features I was looking for, like number porting, call forwarding. For me there is no service better than Nextiva for my business.

  7. Roy Wagner says

    Marc, great review article on voip providers!!! We have been with RingCentral for over a year now and I have nothing but great things to say about them. I have heard about offshore support, etc, but when it comes down to the platform, features and pricing, nothing comes close. The SE (Reno) that helped me get my entire company to their solution was amazing. Very knowledgeable and provided great insights on solutions. With over 50 employees now and growing, their solutions is definitely very scalable and my employees have been raving about their SMS and Conferencing features. I definitely would recommend them based on my experience!

    • says

      Hi Roy, Thanks for sharing your experience with Ring Central. I have a small favor to ask. Would you mind posting your review on our RingCentral Review page You can cut and paste your comment. You will just need to add a start rating. Reviews from real users like yourself are extremely useful to those making purchase decisions! THanks, Marc

  8. Jonathan says

    Currently using 8×8. The pricing keeps going up and the iOS app sucks. Any comments about their service as it compares to others.

    • says

      Hi Jonathan, I don’t know as much about 8×8 as I do about companies like Nextiva and RingCentral. I think 8×8 specializes in serving large organizations like schools and hospitals, instead of small businesses. We have had hard time finding 8×8 customer wanting to provide reviews for us (please add your here http://fitsmallbusiness.com/8×8-reviews/ . On the other hand, RingCentral gets great reviews from dozens of customers http://fitsmallbusiness.com/ringcentral-reviews/ . Good Luck, Marc Prosser

        • says

          Hi Brent, I don’t think that we will be updating our VoIP recommendations until near the end of 2014. However, I would certainly be comfortable with you choosing Nextiva or Ring Central. If you go with Nextiva and have any problems, please let me know. I personally know the CEO and will forward any complaints to their management team. Good luck, Marc

          • says

            I have just started with RingCentral and am deeply disappointed by their inability to assist with transfer of my several hundred clients and vendors listed in my Time Matters database. These contacts have been synched through Outlook and Google to my smartphone. However RingCentral cannot bring over any contacts to either the handsets or the online call logs, and the handsets do not communicate Contact information to the online system. Their caller ID depends on my manually listing every client on both the handsets and the online logs. I cannot get any Caller ID by name without doing this, so missed calls are not identified by anything but the phone number. I have been in business 30 years, and this is a staggering burden, and is a dealbreaker. Is there any phone system which can pick up my already existing contacts?

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