In 2022, many businesses are looking for more from their business phone system than simply enabling voice calling. In fact, the importance of having the right business phone system was demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic. Companies with traditional phone systems struggled to handle business while staying at home, while teams utilizing a cloud based phone system could quickly adapt.
With cloud based phone systems offering improved capabilities for both at home and in office working environments, it just makes sense to look for a VoIP phone solution. Voice over Internet Protocol systems can help companies improve collaboration and productivity, with vast ranges in terms of pricing and functionalities. This way you can find the perfect solution for your business, as you pick a provider that allows you to do business in the best way possible.
Today, we are going to go through all things business VoIP. We’re going to start by reminding you, or maybe even introducing to you, what technology is behind a business VoIP solution. From there, we’re going to be discussing how you can find the perfect solution from your team. We’re then going to give you a few VoIP systems to compare, including the following:
If that sounds good to you, then we can’t wait to get started!
It can be helpful to understand both how to use a VoIP phone, as well as what is happening behind the scenes to make these systems possible to be used.
The operation of a virtual phone is the same as any phone you have used before. You may be shocked, but you and your callers won’t notice any difference in terms of the mechanics of the actual call. But don’t worry, the noticeable differences will come through the advanced features and capabilities that could be at your fingertips.
If you want to initiate a call, you simply dial the number and are instantly connected. You may be imagining a traditional SIP phone, where you pick up the handset and prod at the number keypad. This is one way in which you can make a VoIP call. VoIP systems can also usually connect to your laptop, desktop, smartphone, and tablets. The mechanics are still the same, you just type in the phone number into the VoIP provider app or window.
Pro tip: look for a special VoIP feature called Click to Dial, which can convert any phone number displayed on your screen into a clickable link that can instantly dial the phone number for you. This seemingly simple feature can help you avoid mistakes copying a phone number, and can save you time through a more streamlined process!
For your caller on the other end, whether they are using a virtual phone or a traditional phone system, won’t notice any differences. They’ll experience your phone call just like any other they may be having!
The technology behind the phone system is where one of the key differences in these systems lies. Instead of relying on the antiquated phone lines, aka those copper wires that were installed decades ago, your phone is able to send and receive voice signals over the internet. The process can be broken down into a few steps:
Your cloud phone system picking up your voice signals
Those voice signals being compressed into data packets
The data packets are then sent over the internet to the user on the other end
Your data packets are then decompressed back into voice signals for the user on the other end of the phone to hear
This process is done instantaneously. There is no delay between voice signals from a VoIP system and voice signals from telephone wires. That means you won’t experience any lags in the call or awkward pauses.
This technology is not detectable to users on either end, outside of providing a crystal clear voice communication experience.
By selecting a cloud based VoIP solution, you are simply offloading the responsibility and expense of maintaining and implementing the servers responsible for making all this magic happen. If you lack the space, budget, or patience to handle this component in house, you’re in luck. All of the providers we will be talking about today will be cloud based solutions, so you won’t have to worry about this significant component yourself.
You may be wondering exactly that, especially as you learn that the underlying technology is the same for VoIP providers. However, the differences can be found in the features, capabilities, and pricing between providers. It can be hard to sift through providers that offer hundreds of features to understand what exactly your business phone system ACTUALLY needs. That’s why we wanted to give you a little mini-guide below to help you along your VoIP provider selection process.
You’ll want to make sure that your business VoIP system allows you to communicate with your customers. This means having both voice and texting available. Next, ensure that you can keep the number you already have, as well as choose from a wide variety of business phone number types including international, toll-free, and local area codes.
Start each call off on the right foot with a customized greeting, as well as the ability to set music or a message on hold. You’ll probably want a way to communicate with your callers even if you can’t answer the phone, so look for “Canned responses” which allow you to have a pre-written message read to your callers in real time. This is a quick and easy way to notify your callers if you are currently in a meeting, will return their call, and more.
Next generation features are the functionalities and capabilities that can really help improve your business phone communication in 2022. Look for Voice based IVR, allowing you to direct callers based on what they are saying in real time, instead of relying on outdated menus which sound like “press 1 for sales, press 2 for billing.” Another great feature is having automatic call and voicemail transcriptions, which can help you easily refer back to call information.
Your business phone system should be able to connect to the tools that your team already uses and loves! Whether this means integrating into your CRM to create shared contacts lists, or automating post call follow up emails, integrating your tools can help save your team time and improve efficiency. This is especially true if your team relies on a centralized communication platform, such as Slack!
Yodel.io is able to check all the boxes in terms of the basics and next generation features. In terms of the pleasantries, Yodel is able to offer virtual receptionist features that can help greet and route callers to the right place. The integration capabilities include a vast range of business tools, such as Slack, HubSpot, Salesforce and more! Yodel even offers canned responses, which as we said is a great way to interact with callers even before you pick up the phone.
With pricing plans at both $25/user/month and $35/user/month there are enough options so that you can find the best plan for your team. You can get started through a free trial, which allows for demo calls and live webinars to help your team get going.
RingCentral is a great solution that is able to check many of the business VoIP boxes, including the basics and next generation features. However, their pricing may cause issues for certain teams. RingCentral pricing depends on the range of employees using your system (1, 2-20, 21-50, 51-99, 100-999+), and then what features you want to have included. That means that the Essentials plan will cost a different amount for businesses of different sizes. This can make the system a little trickier if your business is planning on growing, downsizing, or just aren’t sure what your team is going to look like in the future. The inconsistent pricing can lead to issues in budgeting, but it may not be a big issue to some teams.
RingCentral allows for a limited trial, with a maximum of five users and two desktop phones. This does allow you to test them out before you commit, but the whole team may not be able to experience and weigh in with their feedback.
Aircall is a great solution, but they do not offer voice based IVR. Instead, their call routing is a multi-level solution that walks through different menu options with your callers. Other than that, they check most of the boxes as they can provide a wide variety of numbers as well as enable integrations such as HubSpot, Monday.com, and Salesforce. The pleasantries side of Aircall allows you to get started on the right foot, as you can create a custom greeting.
Aircall comes with a 7 day free trial that gives you access to the entire Aircall experience as well as customer support options. However, it is worth noting that Aircall tends to be a more expensive option in terms of business VoIP providers. Aircall’s pricing starts at $30/user/month and goes up to $50/user/month. Be sure to check out how Aircall can grow with your business before you commit to their higher end pricing scheme.
Grasshopper does something interesting, which is including add-ons in an a-la carte style. Their “add ons” include things we consider to be essential, such as enabling international calling capabilities. You should make sure to check which features from their “add ons” list you consider to be essential, as this will significantly impact pricing.
Grasshopper’s free 7 day trial will give you exposure to the various features they are able to offer. Grasshopper is often seen as an excellent choice for businesses with 1-15 employees. While this may make scaling an issue in the future, if your SMB fits that profile Grasshopper may be a great fit.
While a somewhat popular option, we don’t think that CallHippo meets the bare minimum benefits of a cloud phone system. This may sound harsh, but CallHippo HEAVILY relies on a-la carte pricing to the point where their basic phone system really doesn’t provide much. This can lead to a frustrating in boarding process, as you realize new features you may want, only increasing you cost.
Just to show you a few key features that are missing, did you know: CallHippo doesn’t allow you to connect to your hardware SIP phones, limiting their flexibility? CallHippo also appears to be missing even some of the most basic collaboration features, such as call whispering. These are functionalities that can’t even be added on!
If you do want to check out CallHippo, they do have a free trial where they MAY be able to help you determine which features you need before you get started, for a hopefully less confusing process.
We hope that you have been able to learn everything that you need to know to make an informed decision about selecting the best virtual phone system. You should feel ready to tackle the business VoIP provider search, and find the perfect solution for your team. While an intimidating process, you can soon unlock improved phone communications when you find the perfect provider for your business.
If you are ready to get started today, then be sure to check out Yodel’s free 14 day trial. You can take advantage of our demo call or live webinar to get started, so you can make sure you are starting off on the right foot. Yodel is a solution that is always easy to use, and even easier to implement. Avoid unnecessary downtime, and get started with crystal clear voice technology right from day one. Check it out today!