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How to evaluate buying a VoIP Phone System

Updated: 17 hours ago


Purchasing VoIP instead of a traditional phone line for your business will save you money. If you're already using a clumsy VoIP service or hybrid solution, you might be able to make the transition without losing anything but annoyance.


It was only ten years previously that VoIP had a bad reputation and companies were reluctant to make the jump across to an unproven technology. Fast forward from the last decade and today companies don’t need convincing that VoIP provides better communications, with more reliability and enhanced flexibility at lower costs than old PABX and copper options.


Simplyfree Digital Voice was one of the first companies in New Zealand to specialise in selling and supporting VoIP technology. Their commitment to providing reliable solutions lead them into developing and owning their own VoIP platform allowing customers to deal with one supplier for a total solution. We don’t need to bang the drum about how Covid has affected how we work apart from the demand for VoIP in NZ has never been higher. This has been partly driven by the fact that Spark and Chorus are cutting and turning off the PSTN and copper networks.


With Simplyfree Digital Voice being the longest established and only dedicated VoIP specialist in New Zealand that owns, manages, controls and supports its own VoIP platform is making the future look exciting. It allows then to provide deals and packages that resellers or other multi-product competitors can’t beat. One of the challenges is to provide honest and impartial information to potential new customers who can evaluate the technology, what they are buying and understand what it will cost.


This blog will help you consider some of the issues you want to understand when evaluating a new VoIP phone solution and covers areas such as equipment, lines, call costs, installation, support, customer service and equipment replacement.


Looking at the US market to learn about how the market has developed we look at seven of the best VoIP phone service providers available and help you evaluate some of the issues your business may have if you are considering a VoIP solution:


#1 Nextiva Review


We have heard a lot about the trend of working from home, but no one can predict for sure what "office life" will look like in two or three years. Nextiva is a good solution if you want your teams to stay functional no matter which direction the wind blows.


Since it is a cloud-based VoIP, your workers can work from home, set up a desk at work, or use their phones on the go. Employees can use their phones without a VPN because they're calling through Nextiva, unlike an on-premises phone system.


As a result, you'll have a lot less to worry about in terms of security—which is something that managers who have people calling from hotels, coffee shops, and their home network are quite concerned about.


It's a true plug-and-play technology, according to experts, for businesses who want a dial tone without the IT difficulties. If your system is made up of 10 or fewer phones, you should have no trouble setting up Nextiva. At Simplyfree we have the same plug-and-play options available.


If necessary, Nextiva can scale to hundreds of phones. There will be some backend settings required to get things up and running, but Nextiva will guide you through the process.


Nextiva, unlike some other firms that provide this level of flexibility, can outfit your entire office. You'll be able to migrate your fax machines, conference phones, and several offices to Nextiva's modern platform. Where Simplyfree has provided multi-site solutions is where companies are benefiting from significant cost savings with less lines and fixed call costs.


Connect your company phone to email, text, and video, or consolidate all channels into a single window for your staff.


In some platforms, configuring auto attendants might be difficult, but with Nextiva, it's as simple as dragging and dropping.


The corporation has gone to great lengths to make things as simple as possible for end-users. If you're unsure whether your office has the required internet speed, you may check it right now on Nextiva's website. Create a traffic simulation for two or 200 phones. You'll learn about speed, jitter, and everything else that affects your ability to make calls consistently.


The site can also be used to measure the speed of remote workers who are required to be on call. If their home network does not enable VoIP, you could be in for a costly recruiting mistake.


Many teams benefit from the Essential strategy. Unlimited phone and video calling, a free local and toll-free number, and 1,500 toll-free minutes are all included. That's significantly more than you'll get with comparable entry-level plans.

Unlike RingCentral, the Essential package has no user limit. Instead of having to upgrade after you reach 20 users, you can offer additional customers unlimited voice and video for a cheap charge.


The Professional plan is required for conference calls and business SMS. Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zendesk are all integrated. Only Outlook and Google Contacts are connected with Essential.


Integrations with CRM software and single sign-on are included at the Enterprise tier, which is a significant plus for remote workers.


The company's omnichannel solution is Nextiva One. This may be an excellent idea if clients contact you via a variety of media other than phones.


All communication with each account is visible to your employees, which is quite useful if people are logging help desk issues, talking, reaching out on social media, and so on.


You can connect e-commerce with a call center or integrate multiple stores into one system.


You also only have to deal with one bill rather than many, and you won't have to search for information across numerous platforms. If a customer has a problem, you may instantly search the full record, regardless of how they contacted you.


With Nextiva, an organization is a breeze. No matter where you are, staying on the same page with customers and workers is as simple as login into the system.

Nextiva is the best VoIP option for teams without an office to coordinate activities.


It's a tool that new and existing employees may use right now on any device they have. Nextiva's excellent customer care is available to help them if they ever have a problem.

If you're looking at the different packages' features and can't find one that's right for you, just contact Nextiva.


#2 Ooma Office Review


If you've been putting off updating your outdated phone system, Ooma can help you set up business-class VoIP with minimal downtime.


Any phone you have that is still functional, whether analog or IP, will work with your new Ooma system. You may also buy phones from them at a good price and have them preconfigured and ready to use right away.


Employees can use the Ooma mobile app to make calls and collaborate with coworkers whether they are in the office or on the go.


Ooma refers to an auto attendant as a Virtual Receptionist. You can program it to play unique messages about business hours, allow callers to dial by name, choose a preferred language, or transfer the caller to another extension.

Other suppliers, especially those with low prices like Ooma, frequently charge extra to enable online faxing. Some VoIP phone service providers will not allow it.


Each of your users can get their own free fax extension with Ooma.


When it comes to integrating VoIP with current equipment, Ooma simplifies the process while increasing your freedom. To get analog devices on board, connect to Ooma Office via WiFi, ethernet, or the base station.


Consider it a cloud-based VoIP system that excels at integrating with current hardware. The administrator portal may take some time to set up, but it is simple and straightforward to use.


While Ooma provides enterprise solutions, their VoIP phone services for small enterprises really stand out.


There are no contracts, which is rare in this industry. To obtain the best deal on VoIP, you should usually sign up for at least a year. The price of Ooma is what it is. Ooma price is divided into two tiers for small businesses:


Ooma Office costs $19.95 per user every month.

Ooma Office Pro costs $24.95 per user each month.


You get the desktop app, video conferencing, call recording, better call blocking, and voicemail transcription when you upgrade to Pro. You can also hold conference calls with up to 25 individuals, but Ooma Office only allows for ten.


With Ooma Office, you can't upgrade users individually; it's either all employees on one plan or all employees on another. However, at $5 per user, you're still in the middle of the VoIP price range.


You can also set people up on their laptops with a softphone if you upgrade, which means you'll have less hardware to buy.


#3 RingCentral Review


At a low cost, RingCentral provides unlimited calling, texting, and video conferencing. You can obtain a better rate if you only need the phones and texting.

Forget about per-minute expenses and equip your employees with simple-to-use VoIP. RingCentral is ideal for contact centers, customer service, and salespeople that are continuously on the phone. This is especially true if you are constantly training new personnel.


First and foremost, they will be able to operate the interface. Anyone who has used a computer will understand it. Administrators and managers will discover that they may reduce the time it takes to transform new personnel into skilled brand ambassadors.


When opposed to working on a landline, the ability to track calls, KPIs, and listen to recordings is superior. Teams can listen to recorded calls to figure out how to make the most of each chance.

The reporting features don't require a data scientist to extract information. Find out what your best performers are doing. Identify and fire persons that aren't a good fit.


You'll most likely use other KPIs, but the concept is the same. With RingCentral's level of visibility, you can reduce the numbers to simple metrics that keep staff accountable. You know how much money you'll make ahead of time, and you may scale up or down accordingly.


RingCentral has a lot of features that make it ideal for large-scale calling. Adding new users and giving them access to certain resources does not require admins to be IT wizards. They'll be able to easily hire fresh employees. When someone departs, they'll be able to transfer accounts and recycle the phone number, ensuring that you don't pay for lines you don't use.


If you have a lot of turnovers, as many high-volume calling jobs do, you should be concerned about database integrity. RingCentral makes it simple to restrict and cancel access to resources.


To call at scale, you'll almost certainly use a CRM (or some other database). Many of them are connected with RingCentral. You'd like to keep that information to yourself.


Another risk that RingCentral helps call centers manage is compliance, which is critical if you make a lot of cold calls or use an autodialer. A TCPA safe dialer is available to help agents avoid launching a lawsuit against your firm. Instead of worrying about making a mistake, they can concentrate on the person with whom they are conversing.


The features of the DNC list are also simple to use. Integrate with third-party technologies to keep your list up to date, and show your staff how to keep it up to date on their own.


RingCentral is HIPAA-compliant, which means it meets extremely high privacy and security standards. HIPAA infractions include hefty fines, but that's not the worst that can happen.


You can save money by replacing your phones with VoIP or entirely equipping an omnichannel call center by choosing from RingCentral's variety of solutions.


There are four tiers in RingCentral MVP (previously RingCentral Office):


Essentials start at $19.99 per user per month.

Standard: $27.99 per month for each user

Premium: starts at $34.99 per user per month.

Starting at $49.99 per month per user, Ultimate


These are the pricing for a year of service, which represents a 33 percent savings over the monthly fee and are in US dollars.


The Essentials plan has a 20-user limit. You receive unlimited chat, text, and document sharing, which might be useful for exchanging sales and customer service scripts. You also have access to team messaging, which is especially useful on days when not everyone is in the office.


Standard includes unlimited faxing, video conferencing, and Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 integrations. There is no limit on the number of users.


However, if you want to make a lot of calls, upgrade to Premium. You'll get the CRM integration you need to dial in your metrics and communicate successfully at scale.

Premium is a steal at $10 more than the typical VoIP price. Remember that the VoIP average only includes phone, whereas RingCentral MVP includes texting, video, and advanced call management features that other "average" plans do not.


Managers will be able to "whisper" advice and listen in on live calls. The staff can hear them, but not the caller. According to what I discovered, other manufacturers' capabilities like this were normally reserved for plans costing more than $50. As a result, I'd consider RingCentral MVP to be significantly below average in terms of price.


RingCentral also provides contact center software that unifies your communications. Your agents will have access to a complete history of a customer. For Contact Center rates, however, you'll need to contact RingCentral.


RingCentral can help you protect yourself from a variety of risks that come with large-scale outreach. It also provides you with the capability and resources you need to stay productive and maximize each employee's capacity to contribute.


#4 Phone.com Review


Phone.com is an excellent option for organizations searching for low-cost VoIP. You can choose to have an unlimited calling or pay less for a monthly block of minutes.


You can mix and match plans, which is one of Phone.com's cost-effective benefits. Allow your sales staff to have unlimited plans while saving money on employees who only use the phones on occasion.


You'll also get most of the basic VoIP services, such as call handling, auto attendants, and hold music, with the Basic subscription. For example, you'll need to upgrade to receive HIPAA-compliant video conferencing, but Basic can host up to 10 people in a normal session.


Most other suppliers require you to upgrade all of your users' plans. Phone.com can help you save money by providing them with the capabilities they demand. This is one of those licensing quirks that Gregg mentioned, and it can work out well if you know what you're doing.


Phone.com allows you to choose what you require. Call recording and inbound faxing are optional, although you can send faxes from your phone regardless of plan.

Nextiva and RingCentral are more feature-rich, particularly in terms of reporting and analytics. Phone.com's CRM integration is limited to AllProWebTools and Zoho, but some firms simply require a reliable phone with self-managed call handling capabilities. Phone.com offers a lot more, and it's just cheap enough compared to the other options to save your organization money without settling for an unsatisfactory solution.

Allow your customers to text you if they have any questions. Phone.com organizes all of your employees' texts. Come for the phone system, but stay for the message system.

You'll need an updated plan in order to use IP phones. The business offers extremely low pricing on a variety of popular phones. Phone.com supports a wide range of hardware, so you can utilize what you've got.


Although using your own equipment reduces the initial investment, outdated phones are vulnerable to hacking. Just make sure the processor isn't too far behind what Phone.com is selling you, and be prepared to perform part of the configuration yourself. When you purchase equipment from Phone.com, you can truly plug and play.


Phone.com offers inexpensive prices on all of its services. With an annual commitment, you'll save 20% over monthly billing.


Basic: monthly fees start at $10.39 per user.

Plus: starting at $15.99 per month per user

Pro: monthly fees start at $23.99 per user.


Basic includes 300 minutes that are pooled across all of your users. This simply implies that Basic customers can share minutes rather than having to worry about going over each month individually.


In addition, each user receives 1,000 pooled text segments. A segment can only be 160 characters long, which is far less than most modern phones can send in a text message. So, unless you like to keep things brief, it's not 1,000 SMS every month.


Both for users and for extra phone numbers, volume licensing lowers the price. With 25 or more users, Basic becomes $8.99, Plus becomes $14.99, and Pro becomes $21.99.

Pro can compete with many contact center VoIP solutions, therefore it's worth looking into if you need a high number of phones on a tight price. It could be an excellent option for medical clinics that want to promote telemedicine using HIPAA-compliant speech and video.


You must collect information from every person and department via the phone system. Determine the technologies and features you'll require. Phone.com will be a more limited version than you'll find elsewhere if it matches your demands.


There is no contract, and Phone.com's cost is more affordable than OpenPhone, Grasshopper, and other lightweight VoIP competitors.


#5 Grasshopper Review


Grasshopper is an excellent choice for small businesses looking to develop a professional identity without investing in a complicated system.


Don't pay more for stuff you don't need if you detail your business requirements and discover you only need the essentials. Grasshopper will provide you with everything you require for a single monthly fee.


You'll get a set of features tailored to the needs of a modern business, without the bloat that comes with larger companies. It's not necessary to upgrade only to use a specific feature. Every Grasshopper package includes unlimited calling as well as all of the company's features, including the ability to build up a phone tree, personal greetings, call routing, and more.


There are also some advantages that you won't find with other providers, such as rapid response. Grasshopper will automatically send a text message if you miss a call.

When you're busy, you can delegate calls to teammates via simultaneous call handling and call forwarding. After hours, voicemail transcription makes it easier to catch up on missed calls.


Everything listed can be managed simply from the smartphone app. It only takes a few swipes on your phone to route calls exactly where they need to go.


Grasshopper Small Businesses plans include limitless extensions, and their other plans include numerous free extensions. Calls can be forwarded to other lines, mobile devices, instructional extensions to address frequently asked questions, or a courteous out-of-office voicemail.


People should be aware of the possibility of being charged for extensions, according to Gregg. If you have to pay for a second line only to set up a voicemail extension, the overall cost can "get up extremely quick."


You won't have to be concerned as much with Grasshopper. The basic subscription includes one phone number and three extensions, making it ideal for a lone entrepreneur or founder to greet customers with a professional menu and link them to the appropriate person.


There are three options with Grasshopper:


Solo: one number and three extensions start at $26 per month.

Partner: three numbers and six extensions start at $44 per month.

Small businesses: starting at $80 per month for five numbers and unlimited extensions for


Because there's no CRM integration or call recording, look of Grasshopper as a solution to replace rather than transform your phone system.

If you've been attempting to work magic with free VoIP services like Google Voice, the ability to set up call routing may seem revolutionary.


It will also be less expensive and simpler to set up than its more robust competitors. Toll-free numbers may take up to a day to activate, but your number is usually ready to use the moment you sign up.


It costs $10 per month to add an additional line. Plus, the interface isn't designed to handle a large system in the first place.


However, it is ideal for a tiny workplace. It makes no difference where you or your business partners work—they could be out in the field or in a different city when a call comes in. Grasshopper makes it simple to ensure that your calls reach their intended destination.


#6 PhoneBurner Review


This VoIP service is a little different from the others on the list. It's not intended to replace your phone system because it's a sales engagement tool. Instead, it's made to give outbound salespeople the best possible tool for prospecting, selling, and closing deals.


Is the team distributed? Do individuals prefer to work from home? It's not an issue. Users can call in from any location and begin going through their most important contacts.


The platform includes CRM and auto dialer software. You're not attempting to get technology to cooperate—all it's set up when you open the package. If you like, you may interface with your existing CRM, or simply import your leads and makeup to 80 calls every hour.


Because the CRM is integrated, salespeople can see who they're speaking with, where they're in the pipeline, and any notes left in the account.


Manual dialing, tabbing through pages to find a number, or hurriedly copying and pasting emails are no longer necessary with PhoneBurner. Instead of waiting for the beep, you can drop voicemails, send an appropriate email, or move a prospect to a different folder with a single click.


PhoneBurner handles a lot of the heavy lifting. The basic CRM/auto dialer integration is currently in place, albeit it will not nurture your information.


The organization goes even farther by providing one of the most complete onboarding packages in the industry. Before you set up, their team works with you on goals, does a test session, and then trains your team on how to utilize the platform.


You'll also learn how to create reports to track your progress. It's easy to get this incorrectly, but your PhoneBurner consultant walks businesses through the process every week. They'll set you up with dashboards and leaderboards that are tailored to your objectives.


Leads are automatically allocated based on the guidelines you provide. Choose from pre-configured options like Round Robin or First Come, First Served, or create your own. With minimal effort on the manager's part, ensure that leads are sent to the correct agent every time.


PhoneBurner isn't cheap, but keep in mind that you're getting the auto dialer and CRM built in, so this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison with other VoIP companies.


Standard: monthly fees start at $124 per user.

Professional: monthly fees start at $149 per user.

Premium: monthly fees start at $166 per user.


These are the pricing if you join up for a year, which provides you two months free as compared to monthly payments.


You get limitless dial minutes, which is critical if your salespeople are making a thousand calls per week. It's simple to do with PhoneBurner.


With the Standard plan, call recordings are free for 30 days, 60 days with the


Professional plan, and there is no limit with the Premium plan. The quantity of contacts you can keep is also limited, starting at 10,000 on the Standard plan.


To use softphone features, you'll need to upgrade to Professional. If you already have a phone, it's not a big concern, but it will irritate others who want to use their tablet or computer.


With Premium, you get a dedicated inbound line as well as some of the handling choices.


Although PhoneBurner isn't recommended for significant inbound traffic—other VoIP providers will be far less expensive—some teams may like the option to personalize voicemail and forward calls.


With PhoneBurner, a rep can make 233 percent more calls than they can with a conventional line.


PhoneBurner is for you if doubling or triple your rep's productivity seems appealing.


#7 OpenPhone Review


OpenPhone is new, but it isn't a phenomenon. It's a recent Y Combinator alumnus who helped establish AirBnB, DoorDash, DropBox, and Reddit.


OpenPhone, like previous companies, has entered the market with a new set of assumptions about how people live and work. Rather than attempting to replace a corporate phone system, as many Cloud-PBXs promises, OpenPhone just transforms your smartphone into a better business phone.


It's aimed squarely at the modern startup or small firm, particularly if the owner is one of those people that run their ship from their phone. Your mobile phone will be assigned a business number. You can go local, toll-free, or keep your own number. It is completely free to port your previous phone number.


Set up an auto-attendant so that callers can acquire the information they require and be connected to the appropriate person. In minutes, create a professional identity for your company. Because you always know if an incoming call is business or personal, you'll be able to reach out to people more effectively.


There's no need for any additional hardware, and you won't have to share your phone number. Maintain your privacy. Get your team's phone numbers and respect their privacy.


The shared inbox is where OpenPhone really stands out from the others. Multiple people can call and text from the same phone number. They can even make simultaneous calls from that number.


Many phone networks do not support text messaging, much less several people texting in the same thread. You can text normally with OpenPhone:


Using mentions to tag individuals rapidly pulls the proper people into the conversation. Group texting is extremely useful for cooperation, especially because files, movies, and GIFs may be sent.


You aren't limited to texting like you are with many other VoIP phone services. As part of a campaign, you can send excerpts from templates or set up an auto-reply to missed calls and Contact management is also simple, thanks to limited CRM connectivity via Google Contacts or Zapier. HubSpot may also be used as a more complete CRM solution, allowing you to easily keep recordings and view message histories.


Keep in mind that this will not be a full-fledged CRM solution like PhoneBurner or others. To make updates to contacts, for example, you'll need to log into HubSpot.


Because it's a fledgling company, more and deeper integrations will be added "in the future," which can be aggravating. If you're a small business, though, HubSpot's free CRM software combined with OpenPhone is the cheapest method to get the core benefits of linking VoIP and your CRM.


Standard: monthly fees start at $10 per user.

Premium: beginning at $25 per month per user

Enterprise: contact sales


Standard includes most of what I've just said, as well as unlimited calling and texting. Keep in mind that the fair usage policy allows for limitless use. The Standard plan includes 1,000 messages and calling minutes each month, according to the terms of service.


That's quite generous, even if it isn't completely unlimited. Phone.com's entry-level plan is limited to 300 minutes and 1,000 text segments, implying a lower quantity of texts.


The Premium package adds HubSpot integration as well as more collaboration capabilities including the ability to transfer calls and a sophisticated auto attendant with more call routing options.


Extra lines cost $5 each. So, for the cost of ordinary VoIP (about $25 pretax), a firm of four may be set up on the Standard plan.


There are other free options for getting a business phone number, but the inconvenient nature of attempting to work around something like Google Voice starts to cost money.


For $10 per month, OpenPhone solves the majority of those issues. It's definitely worth a look.


If you need help to migrate to VoIP PABX, call Simplyfree.


Simplyfree is based in Wellington, New Zealand and provides smart business phone solutions such as Fibre, Broadband, Toll-Free, 0800 numbers, Unified Communications, Conference Calls, Call waiting, Call queuing, Voicemail to email, call recording, video team meetings and more!


In New Zealand, nobody knows VOIP phone system the way Simplyfree does. Whatever your requirement, simple or complex, small or large, feature rich or basic operation, Simplyfree can help and will have a solution to meet your needs.


Contact Simplyfree today: 0800 474 675

Source: Neil Patel


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