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10 Best Business Phone Services for Small Business (2021)


Use the best business phone services to save costs on landlines, provide a faster and better customer support and sales experience.

best business phone services

Have you thought of replacing the traditional telephone with a new and advanced business phone system for small businesses?

If not, you must give it some thought as you can do so much more with a business phone system at a much lesser price. 

Business phone systems are these all-in-one packages that let you make audio and video calls, send messages and emails, handle multiple calls at once, allow you to block numbers, set business hours, set hold music, deploy a virtual receptionist and so much more. 

Moreover, a business phone system makes it possible to make and receive calls even when you are out of the office. This way, in the current pandemic, your business can still be reachable even when your entire team works remotely.

Our guide will help you understand the benefits that a VoIP phone system offers, and why as a small business you should invest in one. We will also guide you in choosing the best business phone system so that you make an informed choice. 

Let’s begin!

Why and When You Need a Business Phone Service?

Your business needs to have a business phone service primarily because VoIP phone systems are replacing traditional telephones and they provide distinct advantages over the old phones. 

You need to have a business phone service because of the reasons we have mentioned in this guide.

1. You need to be reachable by phone for your customers.

Every business must be accessible to customers and one of the ways to do so is through the phone. You may have an email but a frustrated customer is more likely to call you first and then pen down an email.

If your business is not easily reachable, your customers might write about their grievances on public forums and social media sites which could do major damage to your brand image. 

Your business needs to have a business phone system if you expect your customers to call you. A business phone system will allow you to set a menu option that will let them connect themselves to the desired department without the need of someone being present all the time.

2. You are a customer support company that receives many calls.

You need to have a business system if yours is a customer support business as there will be a bulk of callers at most times. Imagine having 100 agents in your call center and managing all of them individually.

A business phone system helps you manage, monitor, and distribute calls between all agents, offers a common line with extensions, offers call forwarding and transferring, call queuing and parking, and much more which a normal phone doesn’t.

3. Different departments in your business need to be accessible through calls.

Businesses also need to have a business phone system if their callers need to be connected to specific departments. Instead of having different numbers for all departments or having extensions, a business phone system lets you deploy an automated receptionist

This receptionist plays menu options when a caller calls and guides them to press certain functions that automatically take them to the desired department. This makes your callers independent and frees up your resources.

4. You have been investing too much in your traditional telephone line.

If you have been investing irrationally on your telephone line, it may be time to invest in a business phone system.

While a traditional telephone requires you to pay a telephone bill, maintain the physical telephone and telephone cables, fax machines, and others, with a business phone system, all you need is a service provider, a subscription, and an internet connection

You can use any device that supports a web browser to make and receive calls and faxes without any additional hardware.

5. You require a business phone system that does more than just receive calls and fax.

Old telephone systems are becoming obsolete and allow users only to make and receive calls and faxes. If you want your phone system to do more and stay up-to-date with technology, you may want to invest in a business phone system.

A business phone lets you make and receive audio and video calls, send emails and SMS, send and receive digital faxes, and more.

Best Business Phone Services for Small Business

1. Nextiva

Best business phone service for businesses located in multiple locations. 

Nextiva is the best business phone service for businesses located in multiple locations

If your business serves multiple locations and you are looking for a business phone service that will allow you to manage all locations from one central location, Nextiva will help you accomplish your purpose. 

You also do not have to worry if this is your first time using a business phone service as the interface is very easy to use and the setup is very user-friendly too

Some of Nextiva’s offerings include an app for all your business communications, apps for sales and service tasks, remote access to your accounts, and an all-in-one app that lets you access everything that Nextiva has.

Using the desktop app, you can make audio and video calls, send emails as well as normal messages, access the sales and service tool you choose, and all your related business analytics. 

If you would like to connect your phone to your communications system, Nextiva helps you make your handheld device intelligent by connecting it with the app using the VoIP phone feature. 

When you are out of your office, you can use Nextiva’s mobile app and carry on with your communications just the way you would in your office. 

Nextiva lets you bring together your communication with customers and sales together in the same app and also lets you integrate your help desk and regular communications. 

It also offers process automation which allows automation of repeated messages, responses and also includes automated business intelligence if you ever need any extra help answering your customers. 

Nextiva deploys AI and machine learning to automate repetitive tasks, gather data and interpret them, predict situations and generate solutions in real-time. This way your business phone service can do so much more than just receive and make calls. 

It can work along with your team of humans and help achieve better relationships with the advanced technology that is put into use. 

Small businesses can benefit from Nextiva’s services as it offers unlimited calling without any per-call or per-minute charges. 

They also get an automated attendant who connects callers to the respective department and ensures there is always someone attending to your customers.

If you expect to receive many calls at a time, Nextiva could also help you with its call queuing feature which queues calls so that the next available representative can attend to them instead of simply asking the caller to call again later. 

Since Nextiva is a cloud-based business phone service provider, it stores all necessary information in the cloud and can be accessed and operated from anywhere. 

Instead of having multiple phone systems across offices, you can manage and access a common system from anywhere. 

Pricing

Nextiva Pricing Plan

Nextiva’s pricing plans vary depending on the number of members who would access the system. There is no compulsory subscription and while you can choose a monthly or an annual plan, choosing a long-term plan often comes at a discounted price

If you have anywhere under 100 employees we would recommend choosing the Enterprise plan as it includes all professional and essential features and comes at a reasonable price per user.

2. RingCentral

Best business phone software for small businesses looking for an all-in-one communications software.

RingCentral is the best business phone software who looking for an all in one communications software

Not only does RingCentral keep businesses connected to their customers but is also a great tool that keeps teams connected within the business. Glip by RingCentral is a team collaboration software that allows unlimited team video meetings and messaging.

Irrespective of the device you are using at any point, since RingCentral is a cloud-based software it lets you access your conversations, participate in meetings, make calls, and more from any device.

The setup is quite easy and can be completed in just a few clicks.

RingCentral has its own dedicated app that allows users to make calls using phones, send messages, make video calls all from one place.

It also offers integrations with many tools like Google, Workspace, Salesforce, and others so that you can bring your customer accounts, sales functions, collaborative work all in one platform.

This eliminates the need to access multiple applications and switching between apps by bringing all of them together. 

If you are looking specifically for a phone system that will replace your telephone lines, RingCentral’s business phone system will take care of your phone calls, faxes, voicemails as well as business texts.

You can customize your calling system the way you want by either importing your previous numbers, get a new number in a few minutes, set custom greetings or business hours, re-route calls, and much more with RingCentral’s system.

For businesses focusing on customer engagement and support, RingCentral has an omnichannel and omni-digital that lets you communicate with all your customers across different platforms from a central chatbox.

Some advanced features for customer support companies include skill-based routing of calls, agent management for automatic routing of calls, agent monitoring, and real-time insights about every customer interaction. 

With RingCentral, you can access several other features like setting up self-service options for customers, supervisor tools, team collaboration, and others.

Pricing

RingCentral Pricing Plan

RingCentral offers three categories of pricing plans for different business needs like a plan for calls and video meetings, one for customer support companies, and the other for team collaboration. 

For small businesses looking for a good business system, the Premium plan would be a good choice as it includes all basic as well as advanced calling and video conferencing features. 

Since RingCentral may be slightly expensive, users often look for RingCentral alternatives.

3. Vonage

Best business phone service for high-quality audio calling.

Vonage is the best business phone service for high quality audio calling

Vonage allows users to make high-quality audio calls even over a weak internet connection. There are several features that Vonage offers to its users that allow them to operate their business communication remotely without any gap.

Vonage’s product offerings include three different products which include Communications API, Unified Communications, and Contact centers.

The Communications API lets users build interactive video and audio calling features into their applications and send and receive SMS across the globe. 

The Messages API Sandbox feature allows users to stay in touch with their customers through social media chats, Whatsapp, and likes. 

It also lets you send email marketing campaigns, transactional emails using their software. If your conversations with a customer are happening across different channels, with Vonage you can bring all of them together into one single thread of conversation. 

You can also manage all your channels of communication centrally so that you have access to all your conversations in one place. Vonage allows multi-channel messaging too.

Some other API features that Vonage includes are Voice-Based critical alerts, private SMS communications, call tracking, two-factor authentication, and others. This can help improve your current communications with your customers. 

With Vonage, it is very easy and quick for businesses to get local numbers irrespective of the country. It also provides detailed analytics, call logs, and detailed video session analytics ensuring proper control over your business communications. 

While Vonage like most other business phone services lets you make audio calls, it also includes features like paperless fax, one-click dialing, call flip, virtual receptionists, and call monitoring. 

It also has advanced video calling features and lets you join meetings on-the-go or conduct webinars and training sessions for your employees through one integrated application. 

Moreover, your entire team can collaborate and manage calls together, pick up where another member left off, record and share meetings, and do much more. 

Some other features that Vonage’s feature set includes help users handle customer interactions better.

Users can screen calls, be alerted before they are assigned to a caller, get detailed call logs, use automated call rerouting facilities, and manage callers by professionally queueing them.

However, Vonage misses on allowing users to send or receive MMS, while alternatives to Vonage often let its users send images and visuals. 

Pricing

Vonage Pricing Plan

Vonage offers three different plans for different business requirements. The basic plan is quite basic with limited features while the premium is ideal for small businesses as it includes some premium features and all the advanced premium features as well.
The advanced plan includes some features that not all small businesses might find relevant.

4. Ooma

Best business phone service with extensive VoIP features. 

Ooma is the best business phone service with extensive VoIP features

Ooma has a wide range of features that makes VoIP calling for small businesses very easy, manageable, and centralized. It includes all the basic and premium features that any small-to-medium-sized business would find useful.

Setting up your Ooma phone service system is very easy however it varies based on the type of device you are using. You can use Ooma with any phone and utilize the many setup guides that they have if you find it difficult.

Post setup, there is a paid web application by the name Ooma Office Pro which allows users to make audio and video calls over the internet easily, send messages and emails, set communication preferences, and others.

There is also a free mobile app that allows users to manage all their communications from their smartphones if they do not have access to the web application.

Users can collaborate with employees using the mobile app, utilize the inbuilt messaging tool to communicate with other employees, receive calls on their phones directly, flip a call from the web application to their phone, distinguish between personal and work calls, and more.

While Ooma also offers video conferencing, a unique feature is that multiple presenters can share their screens simultaneously unlike most other video conferencing tools. Your employees can join meetings or conduct meetings anywhere, anytime. 

In case you expect to receive many calls, you can make use of the virtual receptionist feature that facilitates call routing, call queuing, allows you to set custom messages, set up workflows, create working hours, and more. 

If your business receives a lot of telemarketing and spam calls, with Ooma you can easily block all those calls and keep your business safe from robocalls. It automatically detects if a call is spam and blocks the number.

Some other call management features that users get when they choose Ooma are online fax, hold music, transfer music, call parking, call forwarding, voicemail, extension dialing, intercom, and others. 

If you sign up for the Pro plan of Ooma Office, you get some advanced features like call recording, voicemail transcription, and a higher bandwidth for storing, monitoring, and parking calls. 

Pricing

Ooma Business Phone Plans

There are two plans that Ooma offers to its users, which completely depend on your choice of Ooma Office plans. 

While the Ooma Office plan includes all the important basic features, some features may be missing from the basic plan. You might want to consider Ooma alternatives for a basic plan with a larger variety of features in low cost basic plans.  

If you are looking for advanced features like enhanced call blocking, Ooma Office Pro is a better choice.

5. GrassHopper

Best business phone service for small businesses looking for call-forwarding solutions. 

GrassHopper is the best business phone service for small businesses looking for call forwarding solutions

Grasshopper is a great virtual telephone service ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs and provides all the important business communication features that businesses generally look for. 

You can either port your existing number to Grasshopper and start using their services, or you can get your own Toll free numbers, Vanity numbers, and local numbers without any delay or hassle. 

This allows you to keep your business calls and your personal calls separate. Whenever you receive a business call through Grasshopper, it will ensure that it lets you know that it is a business call so that you can talk accordingly.

You can set professional greetings, automatically route your callers to particular employees, and more. You can also access your calls either from the web application or on-the-go through their mobile app.

Grasshopper also takes care of your business texting by letting you send quick business messages to your customers through your business number using your phone. 

You can forward your calls, direct them to voicemail, access voicemail transcription, get all your faxes directly in PDF formats in your email inbox, handle multiple callers simultaneously, and more.

If you are using your phone to access the software, Grasshopper also ensures that you do not miss a single call even if you do not have good cell reception. All you need is an internet connection. 

By using the analytics that Grasshopper offers, business managers can also get a clear picture of all business communications, call logs, the efficiency of team members, and more.

A unique feature that Grasshopper offers is that you can get the help of their very own receptionists located in the US and they will help you answer and route your calls to the responsible team members. 

Grasshopper is not only very easy to use on a daily basis but its setup is also short, easy, and very quick. You will have to select a number or port your existing number, choose your plan, download the application and start calling and texting.

Quite easy, isn’t it?

Pricing

Grasshopper Pricing Plan

Grasshopper has three different pricing plans based on whether you are a solopreneur, have a partnership, or a small business. Each of their plans includes all the basic features but the number of phone numbers and the allowed extensions vary. 

If you would like to connect everyone in your company to be accessible by phone, the small business plan is ideal as it offers unlimited extensions.

6. CallHippo

Best business phone service for very small businesses or entrepreneurs. 

CallHippo is the best business phone service for very small businesses or entrepreneurs

CallHippo can help budding businesses set up a virtual phone system that can do much more than just receive and make calls like a traditional phone system. All you would need is a working internet connection.

One of the unique features that it offers is that you do not have to dial in every number that you would like to call. If the numbers are repeat numbers, you can import a contact list and just power dial the desired contact, very much like a speed dial.

While all virtual phone systems allow you to make calls, with CallHippo you can check the time zone, date, time, and country of your recipient so you do not call them at odd times. 

If you face connectivity issues while calling, CallHippo also lets you switch between available network providers so that you can choose one that offers the least disturbance. 

Another feature that CallHippo is quite famous for is its call forwarding feature. If your caller calls you after business hours and you are at home, it forwards the call to your mobile and also informs you that it is a work call.

You can also transfer calls to other lines in case you would like to reroute your caller to your manager or somebody else. When multiple people call at once, you can also queue calls while you attend to others. 

When your callers wait, you can set hold music which plays by default until they get connected. 

CallHippo also offers call conferencing features where multiple people can come together and collaborate through calls. 

If yours is a customer support company, CallHippo could come in handy when you have new members on your team. CallHippo allows users to record the call, managers to listen to them, provide suggestions, and even barge in the calls using the call barging feature if necessary.

You can also utilize the call analytics to know how your agents have been doing, where improvements could be made, and analyze overall call support.

Pricing

CallHippo Pricing Plan

CallHippo offers four different plans, one of which is a custom plan. The pricing plans differ based on the size of your teams. The Bronze plan is very basic with very limited features, the Silver plan is good for very small teams. 

If yours is a customer support company or a small business, the Platinum plan is what you must consider.

7. Ringblaze

Best simple business phone service for small sales and support businesses.

Ringblaze is the best simple business phone service for small sales and support businesses

Along with small sales and support companies, some other types of businesses that could benefit from the product offerings of Ringblaze are travel agencies, marketing agencies, real-estate firms, and other small businesses.

You can start using Ringblaze by beginning with a phone number. You have the option to choose between a local number, a toll-free number, and a vanity number.

With Ringblaze, the entire team can stay in the loop by accessing all call records, attending to missed calls, rerouting calls when an agent is busy, listening to call recording, access team notes so that everyone is up-to-date, and more.

Not only can you make and receive calls using Ringblaze, but you will also be required to assign a call leader for each call so that the particular call and all issues related to it can be handled by one person end-to-end. This ensures higher accountability and better efficiency.

Ringblaze allows you to receive calls from across the globe and performs well even when there are connectivity issues. 

You can make your business accessible to customers by simply inserting a call box on your page without having your customers look elsewhere for a customer support number. 

While Ringblaze offers only some basic features, it also includes reporting, which gives a clear overview of all the calls made and received and how they were attended, and their status.

Ringblaze’s basic features make it ideal for businesses looking for a simple solution just to manage their calls and keep track of all calls from a common dashboard.

Pricing

Ringblaze Pricing Plan

Since Ringblaze offers only basic features, all its features are included in just one plan. You could save around 20% of the plan cost if you subscribe to the annual plan instead of the monthly one.

8. CloudTalk

Best business phone services for customer support teams. 

CloudTalk is the best business phone services for customer support teams

CloudTalk is a cloud-based call center software but also includes a business phone system as one of its solutions. It not only helps businesses stay connected with customers but also helps in connecting branches, departments, and teams.

To use CloudTalk you do not need to have any additional hardware or phone systems. All you need is a headset, a working internet connection, and a browser, and you will be ready to take calls.

While you can receive and make calls with CloudTalk, you can look at past call records with a particular caller, make and access notes made for them, listen to call recordings and others.

CloudTalk lets you queue calls if your call center receives a bulk of calls all at once. You can also view statistics on the number of calls in the queue, identify free agents and view overall call performance using call analytics.

There is also an automatic call distribution system that automatically assigns calls to agents as and when they get free from a call. This helps in queue management.

If a customer call goes unanswered, CloudTalk also allows you to call them back so that no customer query is missed or left unattended. 

When you start using CloudTalk, you can assign one person as the admin who can then appoint agents, assign them phone numbers, and set up their system so that they can start making calls. 

Since it is cloud-based software, CloudTalk can be accessed from anywhere and calls can be made from a cellphone as well as a laptop. Also, even if you have a local number, you can receive calls from anywhere across the world. 

You can also set up an interactive voice response menu that plays every time the caller calls and directs them to choose menu options to reach their desired department.

It also lets you set business hours beyond which callers can listen to an absence message redirecting them to call on another time or forward the calls to another number.

Pricing

CloudTalk Pricing Plan

CloudTalk offers four different pricing plans one of which is a custom plan. You can utilize the 14-day free trial before you finalize your choice. The ideal choice of plan would be the essential plan as it includes all basic features and many advanced features.

The Expert plan, on the other hand, includes even more advanced features but not all businesses might require them.

9. Phone.com

Best business phone service for small businesses operating remotely or from scattered locations. 

Phone.com is the best business phone service for small businesses operating remotely or from scattered locations

Phone.com can help small businesses experience business communication like big enterprises by utilizing the modern features that it offers.

Getting started with Phone.com is very easy. You will just be required to provide some basic information and Phone.com will provide a free local number to all users. If you already have an existing number, with Phone.com you will also be able to port the number.

If you already have an analog phone in your office, just by connecting the Analog Telephone Adapter, you can start using your phone to make calls using the VoIP service.  

You can easily sync your phonebook to Phone.com and make calls or send messages directly to your contacts. This eliminates the need to dial every number. You can also add up to 300 participants to a call using the audio conferencing feature.

A unique feature is that you can configure your call settings the way you want. You can configure your calls in such a way that you receive messages or call notifications every time you have a caller. This gives you the name, number, date, time, duration of each call.

It also lets you screen your calls so that you know exactly who is calling.

Another unique feature that Phone.com includes is that it lets users embed a code on their website, using which they are required to enter their phone number and the software then makes an outbound call to the number automatically and connects it to an agent.

Some other features that Phone.com’s phone system offers to its customers are that it allows them to set hold music, forward calls to another number, set menus that guide people to the department they want to connect, HD calling, international calls, and others.

You can access your account on Phone.com through any device that has a browser and manage your calls from the device. Using the mobile app you can also convert your phone into an extension and receive all communication there. 

Phone.com also allows users to directly send and receive faxes directly through their inbox instead of following the old method of sending faxes.

While using this phone system, you can also choose to hire a virtual receptionist from Phone.com who will help you with your call handling and management and guide callers or even schedule appointments. 

Pricing

Phone.com Pricing Plan

Phone.com offers three different plans, where the basic plan is very basic and offers limited features. If yours is a flourishing business, you would want to go for the Pro Plan it includes all the basic features, plus plan features, and the advanced features.

10. 8×8

Best all-in-one business phone service that includes audio, video, fax, messages, and chat.

8x8 is the best all in one business phone service that includes audio, video, fax, messages, and chat.

8×8 is an all-in-one solution for businesses looking for a well-rounded business phone system to handle business communications. Moreover, it provides one of the easiest interfaces that can make call management a piece of cake. 

With 8×8’s business phone system, you can introduce a cloud-based phone system into your communication system that can be accessed from anywhere through any device. 

With 8×8, you get enterprise-level cloud PBX which lets you make unlimited audio and video calls, send unlimited SMS, and fax. 

You can effortlessly manage your calls with the features that 8×8 includes like caller ID, number blocking, call forwarding, call transfer, DND, call waiting and parking, and 3 way calling.

Managers can even monitor calls and listen to calls on particular extensions for quality control and training purposes. When there is a rush of calls, 8×8 makes it possible to queue your calls while an agent becomes available. 

It also includes some advanced call distribution system that ensures that incoming calls get evenly distributed amongst agents and no one is left free or overly occupied. 

While most companies have automated call attendants until the call gets connected to a human agent, with 8×8, you can set multiple automated attendants that perform different roles.

Admin work becomes easy because 8×8 lets admins provide role-based access and monitoring.

With 8×8, you can also sign up your business to the business directory so that your customers can find you and also to connect you with potential customers. 

There is comprehensive call analytics that offers insights into usage, performance, trend identification amongst callers and employees, and others. 

There are some advanced reporting features as well like sentiment detection through speech analysis, call quality and device reporting, and other interpretable data all accessible through easy-to-use custom dashboards. 

If you are looking for an all-in-one communications solution, 8×8 could be it because it includes several other products for video conferencing, integrations with other applications, team chat, contact centers, and others. 

Pricing

8x8 Business Phone Pricing Plan

There are three different plans that you can choose from. If you are looking for a simple business phone system that includes all important functions the 8×8 plan would be ideal.

For an all-in-one experience, you could choose the X2 plan. If you are a supervisor or manager looking for control and monitoring roles, the X4 plan could be what you are looking for.

What Features Do I Need to Look for in the Best Business Phone Service?

Business phone services these days deploy the VoIP phone systems to make and receive calls instead of using the traditional landline telephones. All communication is transmitted over the internet and sometimes it might look very complicated.

However, choosing a business phone service is quite easy if you know what to look for in the best business phone service.

1. Must include all basic call management features

The best business phone service must include all the basic calling and call management features that you would expect. 

Not only must it let you answer and make calls, but the best business phone service will let you put calls on hold, set hold music, forward and transfer calls, park calls, block calls or even set the do not disturb status.

You must be able to screen calls before you receive them. The best business phone service will also include a caller ID and some advanced ones might even send you an incoming call alert.

2. Should allow unlimited audio and video calling, SMS, and fax

Now, this may seem obvious, but some business services may only allow a set number of calling minutes or permitted messages. Choose a service that lets you make unlimited calls and permits an unlimited number of messages.

Also, choose a service that eliminates the obsolete faxing machine and delivers faxes straight to your inbox in PDF formats. 

3. Lets you appoint a virtual receptionist

While some of the best business phone systems let you hire human receptionists from their head office who handle all tasks like routing calls, making appointments, and others, look for one that offers a virtual receptionist.

A virtual receptionist plays automated messages and receives calls for you before connecting them to the respective department. Instead of calls coming into agents, the first screening is done by the virtual receptionist.

These virtual receptionists present the menu items, play hold music, connect to extensions and departments, set business hours, and also forward or redirect calls after business hours.

4. Offers call queueing

If you are looking for a business phone system for your customer support team, you must know that there will be times when there will be a rush of calls and you will fall short of agents to manage every incoming call.

This is where call queuing comes in. The best business phone system will let you queue calls instead of sending the busy tone so that no call gets missed. These systems queue calls until a free agent is available.

5. Adding new extensions, agents or numbers is easy

Your business will grow with time and you might need to add more agents to your team. There may also be new positions in your company that will need to be reachable by call. 

Choose a business phone system that lets you easily add more users, agents, and extensions without a lot of hassle. The best business phone systems will just require you to pay a per-user fee for all the new users you onboard.

6. Allows users to port their existing numbers with minimum downtime

While it is important to choose a virtual phone system that lets you choose between a toll-free number or a vanity number or a local number, it is also important to choose one that lets you port your existing numbers.

The best business phone services will provide you with a temporary number where your calls get redirected until your porting gets completed. This way you do not miss any calls even during porting.

7. Includes a mobile application that lets users work remotely

The best VoIP phone systems for businesses always have a mobile application and are based on the cloud so that they can be accessed anywhere through a browser. 

Having a dedicated mobile application makes it possible to handle calls even when you are out of the office. Of course, this is not always ideal for customer support teams, but it helps teams collaborate remotely, utilize inbuilt messaging and conferencing, and other features. 

A mobile application also lets you separate personal and business calls or receive forwarded calls when you are not in the office.

8. Must allow managers to monitor and listen to calls

This feature is extremely important for quality control. The best virtual phone systems will allow managers to listen in on calls on specific extensions so they know that communication protocols are being followed and every agent is helping customers the way they are supposed to.

Sometimes this feature may come in handy with the call barging feature where a manager can intervene if the agent provides incorrect information or a conflict arises with the caller.

9. Offers an automated call distribution system

The best business phone service will include an automated call distribution system that, as the name suggests, automatically distributes calls. 

As and when calls come in, they get distributed and rotated amongst all agents so that the bulk of calls is evenly distributed, incoming calls get automatically allocated to free agents and queued-up calls keep moving automatically as soon as agents become available.

How do I set up a small business phone system?

Setting up a business phone system is much easier than you think. Most often, you do not need any additional hardware except for a headset, a web browser, and an internet connection. 

You also do not need to replace your analog phones with fancy digital phones, if at all you use them. Instead, you can connect an analog adapter provided by the company and make it a VoIP phone. 

Depending on the service provider you choose, the setup time for your small business phone system may vary and some steps might vary too. But we have put together the most common setup procedure for such phone systems.

1. Purchase a plan according to your business needs

This step is probably the most important one because the plan you choose will determine the services and features that you enjoy on your business phone system.

8×8 is a great solution that offers all its basic services at $12. CloudTalk on the other hand is not only a great tool for call centers but it also has an Essential plan that includes basic plus advanced features for just $25.

If you are confused about which plan works best for you, RingBlaze has just one plan which includes all its features and offerings. This eliminates the fear of missing out any important feature. 

If your primary need is to find a business phone service that has the best high quality video calling, Vonage could be a great solution. 

2. Create an account and login into the admin dashboard.

You will be required to create an account with your service provider by entering some details about your company. 

Once that is done, you will be able to log in to your account and access the admin dashboard. From this dashboard, you will be able to manage your teams, assign roles and access, access call logs, call analytics, listen to recordings, and more. 

3. Choose a business number or apply for porting your existing number.

Most business phone services include a free number with every plan. You can choose from a toll-free number, vanity number, or a local number that will be specific to your business.

If you have an existing number that you would like to transfer, you can utilize the porting feature that most service providers offer. 

While your existing number gets ported, you will be assigned a temporary number to which all your calls will be redirected. This ensures you do not miss any calls during the downtime. 

4. Configure your business phone system

After you have set up your business phone account, you will be required to configure your business phone system according to your business needs.

Some of the things that you will have to configure include roles and access, call transfer and forwarding, hold music, greetings and menu options, call flows and rerouting, and others. 

5. Download the mobile app and login

Next, you will be required to download the corresponding mobile application and log in to your account on your mobile so that you can access your phone system from your mobile device. This way you will be able to receive and make calls from your mobile too.

6. Start making and receiving calls

Once you have your phone number, have configured your account, have a working internet connection, you will be all set to make and receive calls on your small business phone system.

Business Phone Service FAQ

What is VoIP and how does it work?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a technology that converts voice messages into digital signals and allows them to be transmitted over the internet through VoIP phones, a computer, or even your mobile phones. 

Traditional phone companies and phone lines are getting replaced increasingly by this VoIP technology and VoIP phones. 

In simple terms, a VoIP phone converts analog voice messages into digital signals by compressing the voice message and sending it over the internet. Once the message is received at the other end, it is uncompressed into the original voice message. 

For making VoIP calls you will need a phone compatible with VoIP technology or an adapter that can convert your existing phone into one. This connects your phone to an IP address and the calls are made over the internet from the IP addresses.

Are VoIP business phone services cheaper than a landline phone?

Yes, it is cheaper if you already have an internet connection, and almost every business these days needs to have an internet connection to function. 

Instead of having to invest separately in a landline connection, a device, and a telephone bill, all you have to do is select a business phone service provider, choose a reasonably priced subscription and connect it to your existing internet connection.

The subscription plans may seem expensive but they are much more practical and functional than a landline phone. 

A landline phone will just allow you to make audio calls and receive or send a fax, but with a VoIP business phone service, you can do audio, video and digital faxes, get call management features, deploy virtual receptionists, block number, and so much more.

Since a VoIP service also lets you send digital faxes that get delivered to your email inbox, you not only save on paper and ink but save a lot of space in your office and many man-hours that go into keeping track of all faxes.

Can I switch from landline to business VoIP service?

Yes, you can. You can port your existing landline number to the VoIP service provider that you choose and start using the same number to make and receive calls. 

What are the disadvantages of business phone systems?

The disadvantages of business phone systems aren’t many but like every other system, there are a few shortcomings.

Business phone systems are VoIP phone systems and are connected over the internet. This means that if your internet is down, your phone system is down too

There may often be a time lag in receiving messages and poor sound or video quality depending on the signal strength.

How do I set up a small business phone system?

Setting up a small business phone system is quite easy. The first and foremost step is to choose a reliable business phone service provider. You then subscribe to their most suitable plan for your business. 

If you already have an existing phone number you can then port it or get a completely new toll-free, vanity, or local number. You then have to configure your phone system to set extensions, agent access and roles, call forwarding and transfer, hold music, and others.

Once all configurations and porting are done, you can start making calls from your small business phone system.

How much does a business phone system cost?

A business phone system may cost anywhere between $12 and $80 depending on the plan you choose and the service provider

Business phone service providers like 8×8, Phone.com, Ringblaze, CallHippo include plans that cost as low as $12-$15, and other service providers like CloudTalk, Grasshopper, and others may charge anywhere between $40-$80.

It all depends on the service provider you choose.

What are the major components of a telephone system?

The major components of the traditional landline phone systems are telephone lines, switching centers, fiber optic cables, cellular networks, satellites, and cable systems. 

These are being replaced by the modern VoIP phone systems where the components are a signaling gateway controller, media gateway, media server, and application server. 

In both, you do not have to worry about the backend processes as your service provider will take care of that for you. You will just be needed to maintain the front-end hardware and a preliminary understanding of how your device functions will suffice.

How many phone lines do I need for my small business?

If you are referring to a landline that uses a physical phone, you will need as many lines as the number of employees you wish to connect through the phone. 

However, if you are referring to a VoIP phone system, you can have a common number and multiple extensions that let you connect to all your employees. So if you have a hundred employees, you can choose to have a hundred lines, or one line and hundred extensions.

Which Business Phone Service Should I Pick?

There are many business phone service providers in the market and like all other software and solutions, every business phone service also has its own unique selling point

So, to choose the best business phone service, you must ensure that you narrow down the main purpose of deploying a business phone system. 

Are you looking for high-quality calling? Or do you want a business phone system that does much more than audio and video calls? You could be looking for a basic system.

Depending on the main objective, make a choice that best fits your needs. 

If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, your choices could be 8×8, Ooma, or RingCentral. For those looking for a very basic VoIP provider, CallHippo would be the ideal choice.

If you are looking for a solution that can help you during this pandemic and let your team attend calls remotely, Nextiva and Phone.com are the choices. 

Customer sales and support teams could pick from CloudTalk, Ringblaze, or Grasshopper

Carefully evaluate all the features offered, analyze your requirements, choose a service that lets you scale and offers the best price range for the offered features, and start making and receiving calls more efficiently and easily.

Written by
Martin Luenendonk
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