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Top 15 Phone Systems for Small Business

Category: B2B News
What is the best phone system for small business?

The best phone system for small business is RingCentral. Trusted by more than 350,000 businesses, this all-in-one phone system is easy to use, dependable, and affordable. Since it’s 100% cloud-based, it’s easy to set-up, deploy, and manage.

As the pace of technological advancements goes on at breakneck speed, certain important devices and processes lose their relevance. Some even cease to exist anymore. There are, however, technologies that seem to stand the test of time. Among these is the iconic telephone, which is the focus of this top 15 phone systems review.

While most of this durable technology’s features have undergone considerable transformations, some of its core functionalities remain. In this highly-competitive business environment, you can rely on these top 15 phone systems for small business to help you succeed and thrive.

Phone Systems for Small Business

99.7% of all US businesses—or 28.7 million—are small businesses. Operating with 500 employees and below, SMBs represent around half of overall private-sector employment.

Aside from generating vast employment opportunities, small businesses also contribute up to 44% of overall U.S. economic activity.

Small businesses, however, are not capitalizing on the advantages that technological advancements bring. 80% of US small businesses aren’t taking full advantage of available digital tools. These include data analytics and more sophisticated telecommunication tools.

Technological telecommunication tools offer small businesses numerous benefits. These include enabling business growth, easier access to new markets, more diverse product/service offerings, and better customer engagement.

Infographic on Broken Communications Effects on small business

Are small businesses optimizing the use of digital communication tools?

Digital tools facilitate better communication and collaboration between teams and locations. At the same time, they ensure that customers are served well and satisfied.

In reality, however, both small business customers and employees are not experiencing the benefits of these digital communication tools. Today’s top communications technology challenges are poor employee productivity, high staff frustration, and rising customer churn.

This indicates the wide gap between customer and employee expectations in terms of how businesses should treat them. For instance, 96% of customers expect that their issues be resolved quickly on their chosen channel. Conversely, 74% of customer support reps are not equipped with the proper digital tools to quickly resolve customer issues.

Most phone business statistics agree with this current trend.

Providing your employees with the necessary communication tools is crucial to keep your customers satisfied with your brand. The challenge now is how small businesses can strike a balance in their digital investments between employee and customer engagement. Going through this list of today’s top 15 phone systems will help a lot in bridging that gap.

1. RingCentral

ringcentral dashboard example

RingCentral is a cloud-based communication and collaboration platform. This all-in-one phone system is designed to help the mobile workforce of today better perform their daily tasks.

This widely-used solution is easy to use and manage. It can empower businesses to connect with customers on multiple channels. RingCentral offers small businesses everything they need: cloud phone, text messaging, online fax, and online meeting tools.

This popular solution is offered through four affordable plans. Subscription rates range from $19.99 per month per user to $49 per month per user. RingCentral also offers an excellent free trial plan. You can sign up for RingCentral free trial here.

RingCentral

This award is given to the best product in our phone systems category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.

RingCentral won our Best Phone System of 2018

Our score
9.7
User satisfaction
99%

Why do small businesses choose RingCentral?

  1. Mobile-ready communication system. This platform is an ideal choice when it comes to supporting seamless mobile business operations. Its mobile features offer a smart, unified experience that allows your team to make and receive calls and messages even when they’re on the go.
  2. Powerful collaboration tools. RingCentral’s intuitive team messaging and web collaboration tool functions the way teams would like their internal communication to be done. Called Glip, this collaborative software supports a wide range of file sharing, including video, tasks, and other team activities.
  3. Efficient, scalable cloud PBX. Its top-notch virtual PBX leverages the power of the cloud to provide a secure, dependable, and complete business phone system. It offers flexible features that adjust to your needs, such as multi-level IVR, auto-receptionist tools, and role-based access control.

2. Freshcaller

freshcaller dashboard example

On the second spot of our list of top 15 phone systems is Freshcaller. This popular phone system has a built-in call center solution that addresses the sales and customer support needs of small businesses.

This solution offers four reasonably-priced plans and you only pay per minute of airtime used. If you’re a startup or a freelancer, the Sprout plan is free. Freshcaller’s Blossom plan comes for $19 per agent per month, while the Garden plan is at $40 per agent per month.

Freshcaller offers free trial as well. You only need to sign up for Freshcaller free trial here.

Freshcaller can be used without the need for any expensive hardware installation. Since its a cloud-hosted PBX platform, it can be easily customized to your specific requirements. It offers numerous benefits such as simplified call management, smart resource utilization, and cost savings.

Why do small businesses choose Freshcaller?

  1. Phone system for your global operations. You can successfully support worldwide operations from your home location. Freshcaller’s communication tools like local+international phone numbers and toll-free numbers will help you provide consistently personalized service.
  2. Seamless call handling system. This solution provides every phone system feature you’ll ever need. These include multi-level IVR, shared lines, and customer call routing. These smart tools allow your team to more efficiently handle calls to ensure excellent service wherever your customers are.
  3. Track and manage the communication experience. Each customer is unique, so you should handle every customer encounter with exclusivity to provide the right service. Freshcaller’s robust customer analytics and reporting features allow you to do just that.

3. CloudTalk

cloudtalk dashboard example

If there are phone systems designed specifically for small business use, CloudTalk is a perfect example. This call center solution allows SMBs to create a virtual phone system for their customer service and sales teams at the convenience of their home locations.

Its Starter plan is at $10 per user per month, while its Essential plan is at $20 per user a month. It has an Expert plan at $35 per user per month and you can request a customized plan that suits your business needs.

When you sign up for CloudTalk free trial here you can test-drive this platform without any cost.

CloudTalk uses advanced VoIP technology to deliver state-of-the-art call center management and call routing. Whatever is the level of your business operations, CloudTalk will fully adapt to your specific needs. CloudTalk supports a wide array of native integrations with popular business tools like helpdesks and CRM platforms.

Why do small businesses choose CloudTalk?

  1. Sophisticated call center functionalities. Enhance your customer support with CloudTalk’s advanced features. From call queuing and recording to voice mail, your team will have the tools for providing top-notch customer assistance.
  2. Automated call tracking and management. Its sophisticated call center analytics allows you to easily measure and enhance customer communication. What’s more, its real-time analytics enables business owners to monitor agent performance in real-time.
  3. Extensive, scalable interface. CloudTalk boasts of a scalable, GDPR-compliant interface that businesses can easily configure to their specific needs. This enables users to make this phone system effortlessly adapt to their current business workflows and structure.

4. Ooma Office

ooma office dashboard example

Ooma Office is a VoIP phone system designed to cater to small businesses. If you’re a new business, you can depend on Ooma to effortlessly make you sound like an established brand. If you’re an existing business, you can rely on Ooma to enhance your operations without the expected added costs.

Unlike others, using Ooma doesn’t need any contract to be signed. It simply offers a flat rate of $19.95 per user per month. You can easily add more base stations, either analog or IP phones, along with the added features.

If you want to test this phone system, you can easily do so when you sign up for Ooma Office free trial here.

Whether you operate with one or 100 staff, Ooma offers a comprehensive suite of office phone features. These include intercom, voicemail, virtual receptionist, ring groups, call part, virtual fax, call transfer, and a lot more. It also provides mobility tools like virtual extensions, SMS, and call forwarding.

Why do small businesses choose Ooma Office?

  1. Significant, long-term savings. Because this office phone system is built for small businesses, it will help you gain considerable savings. The longer you use Ooma, the higher your phone cost savings will be.
  2. Smart virtual receptionist. Ooma’s multi-level virtual receptionist allows you to manage inbound calls with more automation and routing options. All your calls efficiently managed by one, highly reliable virtual receptionist, which keeps callers engaged until their calls are routed to the available rep.
  3. Great flat rate, no contracts. Each Ooma Office account includes a local and toll-free phone number of your choice, a virtual fax extension, and a conference extension line. It doesn’t charge any setup fees as well.

5. Axon Virtual PBX

axon virtual pbx dashboard example

Axon Virtual PBX is a multi-feature, Windows-based virtual phone system for small businesses. Powered by best-in-class VoIP technology, this platform offers all the common features of legacy PBX systems and much more.

It can be easily installed and can be used within a matter of minutes. Axon can support up to 64 phone lines, plus an unlimited number of extensions. If you’re looking for a cost-effective and reliable phone system for business use or as a call center software, this platform is a great choice.

Axon is offered in various plans. You can avail of its Business Edition Quarterly Plan at $10.83 per month. It also offers these plans with lifetime license: Business Edition at $195.95 and Enterprise Edition at $385.00.

Why do small businesses choose Axon Virtual PBX?

  1. Complete PBX features. Axon Virtual PBX offers all the standard PBX features that businesses need in a phone system. It can transfer, hold, and record phone calls, including video conferencing, digital call routing, and predictive dialing. 
  2. Supports extensive integration. This phone system is very reliable as a stand-alone platform. But if you integrate it with other applications, its capabilities further expand. You can easily integrate it with the vendor’s other telephony apps like Dial Dictate phone-in dictation server and IVM call attendant.
  3. Easily accessible control panel. Axon allows business users to manage their operations from anywhere, at any time. It comes with an easy-to-use control panel browser-based interface that can be remotely accessed.

6. Jive Voice

jive voice dashboard example

Jive Voice is a cloud-based, fast VoIP that can be scaled according to your business’ size and needs. It can be easily customized to keep up with the varying volumes of your business calls

This phone system is designed to help streamline the communications of small businesses. From basic to more sophisticated features, Jive Voice unifies and enhances business communications using any preferred channel.

Accessible online, via mobile, or on-premise, Jive Voice offers simplified subscription plans. For businesses with 100 users and below, the pricing ranges from $19.95 to $29.95. For businesses with over 100+ users, the vendor offers specialized quotes.

Why do small businesses choose Jive Voice?

  1. Optimized call routing control. Jive Voice allows you to easily manage your cloud-based phone system from anywhere you want, through its online portal. It features a dial plan editor and custom schedules and routing for scheduling calls in advance.
  2. Smart find me/follow me tool. This smart feature allows you to easily route calls, even when you’re on-the-go. You can customize a set of sequences for transferring calls, which helps enhance user experience.
  3. High-level call security. Jive Voice has its very own robust, bank-level encryption tool, called Jive Secure. This feature ensures that your business information and your customers’ privacy are protected.

7. Comcast VoIP

comcast voip dashboard example

If you’re on the hunt for a highly-scalable phone system, Comcast VoIP (rebranded as Xfinity Voice) is a good choice. Powered by one of the biggest telecoms conglomerates around, this platform operates securely and cost-efficiently on a privately owned and operated network.

Comcast VoIP enables small businesses to significantly expand the possibilities of their existing phone lines, whether landline or mobile. This vendor offers unlimited nationwide calls, customizable international calls, and a host of advanced features like Xfinity Connect app.

You can avail of this phone system via three platform options. You can directly contact the vendor through its website for actual quotes and other pricing details, which may range from $29.95 per line per month to $34.95 per seat per month.

Why do small businesses choose Comcast VOIP?

  1. Build a cloud-based virtual PBX. Businesses can easily set up their very own private branch exchange phone system without making any expensive hardware purchase. This PBX can be run on-premise, cloud-hosted, or as a virtual solution.
  2. Smart virtual receptionist. Stop worrying about missed calls from precious clients. With Comcast’s virtual receptionist, you can be sure that every incoming call is quickly attended to and every customer concern is acted upon.
  3. Best-in-class call qualityComcast VoIP’s cloud-hosted phone system offers top-of-the-line communications capabilities and tools. With such an efficient phone system at your disposal, you can be sure that the quality of your calls will be top-notch. And so will the quality of your customer service.

8. Vonage

vonage dashboard example

Vonage is a 100% cloud-based phone system that allows growing businesses to easily deploy new technologies without any extra cost. Accessible on-premise and via mobile, this robust communication system runs on high-speed internet and has a 99.99% uptime.

At the core of Vonage is its extensive business phone features that help a business to work smarter, thus, enhancing, its productivity and profitability. It is offered in three pricing schemes: the Mobile plan ($19.99/user/month), Premium plan ($29.99/user/month), and Advanced plan ($39.99/user/month).

Why do small businesses choose Vonage?

  1. Comprehensive communications platform. Vonage is a sophisticated phone system that is designed to boost your team’s productivity and efficiency. Aside from being feature-packed, it can easily work with other popular apps like Salesforce, G Suite, and Office365.
  2. Customizable business phone system. If you’re in search of a platform that can provide your specific needs, Vonage is a good choice. Aside from premium cloud contact centers, it offers more than 40 standard communication features that can surely address any unique business requirement.
  3. Best-in-class API capabilities. Vonage’s API platform–Nexmo–is an innovative technology that enables businesses to connect with customers in real-time in their preferred channels. This results in faster communication, enhanced customer service, and better business outcomes.

9. Cisco Unified Communications Manager

cisco unified communications manager dashboard example

Cisco Unified Communications Manager is an enterprise-grade platform for small businesses that is easily scalable to meet their growing needs. This solution is ideal for startups searching for a robust technology foundation that supports their potential to develop.

Accessible from any device, this powerful solution offers a unified integrated collaboration system that allows for secure and flexible voice and video calls and messaging. Cisco Unified Communications Manager encompasses a wide range of software and hardware tools and functionalities. It’s pricing schemes are quote-based.

Why do small businesses choose Cisco Unified Communications Manager?

  1. Integrated, secure communications. Cisco aims to consolidate the communications channels of small businesses through its unified phone infrastructure. It optimizes your operations through features like IP telephony and HD video conferencing.
  2. One-stop team collaboration. This feature is derived from Webex Teams, Cisco’s industry-leading team collaboration solution. It helps hasten project completion, better solve business problems, and build deeper relationships.
  3. Streamlined data center. Cisco’s HyperFlex is a flexible and cost-effective data center that can be scaled for the increasing requirements of a small business. It integrates all networking, storage, and computing activities in a single, secure virtualized location.

10. Dialpad

dialpad dashboard example

Dialpad is a cloud-based business phone system that is designed to streamline and integrate all of your communications needs in a single location. Many global brands trust this platform, including Asana, TED, and Xero because of its intuitive design and comprehensive features.

This Business VoIP solution is available in three pricing schemes. Its Standard plan is at $20 per month per user, while the Pro plan is at $30 per month per user. Its Enterprise plan is available via quote.

Why do small businesses choose Dialpad?

  1. Flexible phone system. Dialpad allows business users to retain their current numbers to let their existing client relationships continue. And if needed, a business can change service providers, which makes this solution flexible.
  2. Extensive integrations and options. This phone system supports numerous integrations to allow for enhanced user experience. It can be accessed in the office or while on the go and doesn’t require any additional hardware or software installation.
  3. Efficient collaborative activities. Dialpad offers a web conferencing functionality that lets businesses easily initiate conference calls. It supports video calls and instant group messaging as well.

11. Windstream

windstream dashboard example

Windstream (rebranded as Kinetic Business) offers cloud-based internet and voice solutions for small businesses and home-based professionals. This platform simplifies the process of enabling small businesses to access a unified communications solution necessary for today’s business environment.

Powered by a robust fiber-based network, this business phone system allows you to operate efficiently and is scalable to your needs. It offers three pricing schemes starting at $19.95/month/seat (Connected Office UC) to $44.99/ month (Business Internet).

Why do small businesses choose Windstream?

  1. Zero downtime SLA guarantee. Windstream provides its services through enterprise-class MPLS or SD-WAN to guarantee a 99.99% uptime, 24/7. It also uses secure data centers with automatic failovers to avoid any glitch to affect your business activities.
  2. Flexible communications solution. The Windstream communications solution is programmed to easily scale up or down without affecting its performance. This helps ensure that you can easily adapt to the changing requirements of your customers.
  3. All-in-one phone system. Windstream’s intuitive, integrated interface can connect to whatever channel your teams or customers are using. It can handle a wide range of communication media, including video, voice. and SMS. It’s also mobile-friendly.

12. 3CX

3cx dashboard example

The first of two open-source platforms in this top 15 phone systems list, 3CX is a comprehensive cloud and on-premise IP PBX solution. Designed to unify the communications of a business, this system allows you to enhance your call management activities cost-effectively.

Based on the robust SIP standard, 3CX is also mobile-ready. It is accessible via iOS or Android and empowers you and your team to continue your work even while on the go. You can avail of this under a free plan and two low-cost paid plans. One at $1.08/user/month (Pro) and at $1.31/user/month (Enterprise).

Why do small businesses choose 3CX?

  1. Easy self-installation and management. If there’s one feature that can separate 3CX from other phone systems, it’s its user-friendliness. Novice users can effortlessly install and manage this solution because of its simple, smart design.
  2. Web conferencing options. 3CX’s web conferencing feature supports easy collaboration with internal teams and external partners. This capability helps accelerate workflow, create better relationships, and generate a healthy workplace environment.
  3. Marketing app integration. This vendor understands that building and maintaining positive customer relationships is key to business success. This is why 3CX allows seamless integration with most third-party CRM apps to streamline your workflow and achieve quicker marketing outcomes.

13. Grasshopper

grasshopper dashboard example

Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that allows small businesses to operate using their smartphones, but with a business phone number. By integrating a business line to your personal phone, you can professionalize your brand, aside from being able to run your business from any location. Grasshopper’s business tools include voicemail transcription, call forwarding, and multiple extensions. 

This innovative solution is being offered in three subscription plans (Solo, Partner, and Small Business), which vary depending on the number of phone numbers and extensions used. Prices range from $26 (1 phone number, 3 extensions) to $80 per month (5 numbers, unlimited extensions).

Why do small businesses choose Grasshopper?

  1. Expert-grade phone system. Are you a solo startup or a small business preparing to expand? Do you want an expertly-rendered message to greet your callers? No matter what business you have, Grasshopper will provide you with all the necessary tools you need to offer professional-level customer service.
  2. Name directory options. It’s difficult to closely monitor all your customers and contacts using a phone. To make this task easy and efficient, Grasshopper offers a directory naming functionality.
  3. Extensive mobile compatibility. With Grasshopper, you only need your existing mobile phone to handle your business communication needs. Without needing any single additional hardware, this setup is perfect for small businesses that usually keep expenses at a minimum.

14. Aircall

aircall dashboard example

Aircall is a phone system that allows users to make and receive calls from anywhere and easily route calls. It also provides an excellent call center solution to support your customer service needs. With Aircall, you can quickly get phone numbers from more than 40 countries.

This platform is trusted by more than 3,000 brands across the world, including Pipedrive and Uber. Aircall is available in three plans: Essentials, Professional, and Custom (quote-based).  Essentials plan is at $30 per user per month, while Professional is at $50 per user per month. The vendor offers discounts for annual billing.

Why do small businesses choose Aircall?

  1. Professional phone system functionalities. Aircall offers an extensive array of top-tier business phone features. These include IVR, voice mail, call conferencing, toll-free numbers, and many other great features.
  2. Team collaboration support. This platform also provides great support for team communication and collaboration. Tools such as call commenting and shared call inbox are indispensable for teamwork.
  3. Expert call center solutions. Aircall’s call center features allow you to provide quality customer service. It can help you to group staff skills and have a live snapshot of calls that need immediate attention. It also has whispering tools and call-monitoring functions.

15. OnSIP

onsip dashboard example

OnSIP is an open-source cloud-based office phone system that is packed with communication features for businesses of any size. You’ll likely find what you’re looking for in this all-in-one solution, whether you need a call center platform or a basic business phone system. Its smart admin dashboard allows business owners and managers to easily view agent operations live.

This vendor offers various plans to suit your needs, including free, unlimited, metered, and pay-as-you-go subscriptions. Prices range from $18.95 per user per month (Unlimited plan) to $49.95 per user per month (Basic plan). It also offers its Sayso website chat for free.

Why do small businesses choose OnSIP?

  1. Comprehensive phone system functionalities. This phone system offers a wide array of communication tools. From ACD queues and emergency dialing to email options, this platform can deliver.
  2. Best-in-class support. OnSIP’s onboarding experts and support reps are acknowledged as among the best in the industry.
  3. Guaranteed uptime dependability. OnSIP has a patented system for uptime reliability so you can be sure that your operations can continue running 24/7 or as needed.

How to choose the right phone system for your business

We hope that our list of top 15 phone systems will help you choose the right business communication tool for your business. Yes, with such a roster of best-in-class phone systems, selecting the right solution can be quite difficult.

Business phone systems can be stand-alone or part of the larger family of communications software solutions. Remember to consider this as well before you make that purchase decision. To help you in your selection, you can consider these factors:

  • Features. The phone system must have at least the core features that you need.
  • Support. Does the vendor provide excellent, 24/7 customer support? Only choose those with a good track record in providing help.
  • Scalability. Almost every small business dreams of making it big. Your phone system must be flexible enough to support your growth and operational expansions.
  • Collaboration. In this era of distributed work teams, a phone system’s collaboration functionalities are a must.
  • Mobility. VoIP technology has allowed people to work wherever they are, without the heavy cost that traditional telcos charge. This feature is a must if a business wants to succeed in this highly-mobile business environment.
  • Security. With so many cases of hacking, identity theft, and other cybercrimes, the system should have top-notch security protection.
  • Reliability. Zero downtime should be your standard when checking for phone systems for reliability.
  • Cost. This factor shouldn’t be based solely only your financial capability. It should include the ROI and usability elements of the system you’ll choose.

Starting with the experts’ unanimous choice is usually a good place to start. So why not try RingCentral first to know how it feels to use this top-rated solution? You only need to sign up for RingCentral free trial here.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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