For small businesses, the challenge is to find an office phone system that is both robust and budget-friendly. The best office phone system providers cater specifically to the nuanced needs of small enterprises, offering a blend of advanced features, reliability, and scalability. These providers recognize the importance of seamless communication for growing businesses and offer solutions that can adapt to changing demands. Whether it’s VoIP technology, cloud-based systems, or traditional setups, the right provider can be a game-changer, ensuring uninterrupted communication and fostering stronger business relationships.
What is a Business Phone System?
A business phone system is a crucial tool that facilitates communication within the corporate world. Regardless of a company’s size or whether it operates online or offline, effective communication with stakeholders is paramount. While emails and instant messaging apps have gained prominence, telephones remain indispensable. Understanding what a business phone system entails and selecting the right one is vital. Unlike personal phones, business phone systems come with specific features tailored to organizational needs, such as multiple lines, call forwarding, automated answering, and conference call facilities. Making the right choice can significantly impact a company’s operations, ensuring efficient communication and fostering growth.
Types of Phone Systems
- Landline Systems: Traditional systems backed by service providers and equipment manufacturers. They offer quality and reliability but may lack modern communication features and mobility.
- Mobile Networks: Rely on smartphones and mobile devices. Suitable for small enterprises, they require subscriptions to cellular service providers.
- Virtual Phone Services: Popular among small businesses, these services divert existing landlines to designated mobile numbers, extending business phone availability to remote workers.
- Self-hosted VoIP: Digital telecommunication technology that uses the internet for calls. It integrates desk-based and mobile equipment, relying on the internet and an organization’s Local Area Network. This system requires an IP-PBX installed at the business premises.
- Cloud-based VoIP: A VoIP system hosted in the cloud by a service provider. It reduces the need for on-site hardware and maintenance, offering flexibility and scalability based on monthly subscription charges.
- Hybrid Systems: A combination of traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and IP-PBX systems. Suitable for larger enterprises or those wanting to utilize existing hardware, hybrid phones can function as standard landlines or VoIP installations.
The 12 Best Office Phone System Providers For Small Business
Nextiva offers a comprehensive small business phone system designed to streamline communications and enhance the efficiency of business operations. Here’s a breakdown of what they offer:
- Auto Attendant: Set up an intuitive phone menu for callers.
- Call Routing: Direct inbound calls based on specific criteria.
- Toll-Free Numbers: Offer a professional brand presence.
- Caller ID: Customize caller ID for trust-building.
- Video Conferencing: HD video conferencing capabilities.
- Call Forwarding: Direct calls based on various criteria.
- Call Transfer: Easily transfer calls between team members.
- Call Recording: Securely record phone calls.
- Professional: Starting at $25.95 per month/user. Features include unlimited calling within the US/CA, a free local and toll-free number, a top-rated mobile app, video and audio meetings, and team collaboration.
- Enterprise: Starting at $35.95 per month/user. This includes all the features of the Professional plan, plus business integrations, real-time voice analytics, and call recording.
Zoom offers a cloud-based VoIP phone service tailored for small businesses, aiming to enhance communication reliability, efficiency, and affordability. Here’s a detailed look into their offerings:
- Listen (Monitor), Whisper, Barge: Monitor and guide calls without the caller knowing.
- Integration with Business Applications: Seamless integration with platforms like Salesforce or Slack.
- Powerful Admin Features: Set up auto-receptionists, manage emergency calling settings, assign phone numbers, provision devices, and monitor call quality.
- US & Canada Metered: Pay As You Go at $10/month/user.
- US & Canada Unlimited: Unlimited Regional Calling at $15/month/user.
- Pro Global Select: Choose from 40+ Countries at $20/month/user.
Grasshopper offers a virtual phone system tailored for small businesses, aiming to provide a professional image and streamline communication processes. Here’s a detailed overview of their offerings:
- Mobile and Desktop Apps: Allows employees to take calls from anywhere.
- Business Texting, Call Forwarding, VoIP + WiFi Calling, Virtual Fax, Voicemail, and more.
- Extensions and Virtual Receptionist: Ensures callers reach the right employee or greeting.
- Custom Greetings and Call Transfers.
- Instant Response: An automated and customizable text response for missed calls from potential clients.
Plans and Price
- SOLO: $28/mo billed annually. It includes 1 phone number, 3 extensions, and unlimited users.
- PARTNER: $46/mo billed annually. This plan offers 3 phone numbers, 6 extensions, and unlimited users.
- SMALL BUSINESS: $80/mo billed annually. It provides 5 phone numbers, unlimited extensions, and unlimited users.
4. RingCentral MVP
RingCentral MVP offers a comprehensive communication solution tailored for small businesses, ensuring seamless integration of phone, video, messaging, fax, and SMS capabilities. Here’s a detailed overview of their offerings:
- Cloud Phone System: Includes business or toll-free numbers, toll-free minutes, unlimited domestic calling in the US/Canada, enhanced business SMS, visual voicemail, multi-level auto attendant and IVR, shared lines, HD voice, AI-noise cancellation, and more.
- Unified Communications: Offers team messaging and file sharing, mobile apps for iOS and Android, unlimited audio conferencing, video meetings with up to 200 participants, HD video, AI meeting insights, live transcription, whiteboard, annotations, breakout rooms, and remote desktop control.
- Administration: Provides less than 6 mins of annual downtime SLA (99.999% uptime) with 7 layers of enterprise-grade security, single sign-on, 24/7 support, professional implementation, call management, phone system administration, and more.
- Analytics: Features call log reports, real-time quality-of-service analytics and alerts, adoption analytics, business analytics essentials, and more.
- Platform & Workflow Customization: Offers a developer platform with access to APIs, integration with Microsoft Teams, popular integrations including Office 365, Google, Slack, and more.
Plans and Price
- Core: Priced at $20/user/month (annually) or $30/user/month (monthly). This plan offers unlimited domestic calling, SMS and MMS, IVR, integration with Google and Microsoft apps, single sign-on, and analytics for IT administrators.
- Advanced: Priced at $25/user/month (annually) or $35/user/month (monthly). It includes all features of the Core plan plus auto call recording, advanced call monitoring and handling, multi-site management, access to Salesforce, Zendesk, and 300+ apps, internet fax, and essential business analytics.
- Ultra: Priced at $35/user/month (annually) or $45/user/month (monthly). This plan encompasses all features of the Advanced plan and adds unlimited enterprise-grade HD video, whiteboards, messaging, customizable business insights, unlimited file-sharing, unlimited storage for files and recordings, and an enhanced business analytic suite.
8×8 offers a comprehensive communication solution tailored for small businesses, ensuring a unified platform for voice, video, chat, and contact center capabilities. Here’s a detailed overview of their offerings:
- Unlimited Calling: Cloud-hosted VOIP phone systems offer unlimited domestic calling without extra fees.
- Automated Attendants: These answer calls made to a business and route them to the appropriate employees or departments.
- Ring Groups: This feature ensures that when someone calls for a specific service, all relevant staff phones ring, either in a specific order or simultaneously.
- Voicemail: In addition to traditional voicemail, many systems offer voicemail to email functionality, allowing staff to listen or read their messages even when away from the office.
- Call Recording: Allows users to record their calls for later playback.
- Other Features: These include instant messaging, online meetings, call forwarding, extension dialing, call queue, and integrations with services like Microsoft Office and Google Workspace.
Plans and Pricing
- X2: This plan is designed for larger teams and offers unlimited voice calling to 14 countries, HD video & audio conferencing for up to 500 active participants, team chat, Microsoft Teams integration, and more.
- X4: This advanced plan includes everything in X2 and adds unlimited voice calling to 48 countries, 8×8 Frontdesk for receptionists and operators, supervisor analytics, monitor, whisper, and barge features.
Ooma offers a cloud-based phone system tailored for small businesses, aiming to provide a seamless communication experience that integrates voice, video, chat, and more. Here’s a detailed overview of their offerings:
- Modern Workforce: Ooma emphasizes the need for businesses to adapt to the evolving landscape, especially with the rise of remote workforces. Traditional business phone systems may not offer the flexibility required in today’s environment.
- Cloud VOIP Phone Service: Ooma’s cloud-based phone systems provide unified communication as a service (UCaaS) features, allowing businesses to communicate through various channels. These systems offer features like CRM app integration, virtual receptionists, and AI capabilities.
- Collaboration Features: Ooma offers a range of collaboration tools in one unified platform at an affordable price. These features can enhance a business’s collaboration capabilities, such as presence indicators, instant messaging, online meetings, and video conferencing.
Plans and Pricing
- Essentials: Priced at $19.95 per user per month, this plan offers 50+ standard features, including a virtual receptionist, ring groups, music on hold, one toll-free number, digital fax, mobile app, and email audio attachments.
- Pro: Priced at $24.95 per user per month, this plan includes everything in Essentials and adds a desktop app, text messaging, videoconferencing, call recording, enhanced call blocking, voicemail transcription, caller info match, dynamic caller ID, Google and Office 365 integrations, and call analytics.
- Pro Plus: Priced at $29.95 per user per month, this plan encompasses everything in Pro and adds call queuing, Salesforce integration, Microsoft Dynamics 365 integration, advanced call management, Ooma meetings recording, hot desking, find me/follow me, digital call deflection, and call screening.
Vonage offers a range of plans tailored for small businesses, ensuring they remain connected and efficient. Here are the details:
BASIC Mobile Plan
Price: $19.99 per month/per line (plus taxes & fees)
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Unlimited Calls and SMS (with certain usage conditions)
- Vonage App Center with over 20 third-party integrations
- Unlimited Team Messaging
Premium Plan (Most Popular)
Price: $29.99 per month/per line (plus taxes & fees)
- All features from the BASIC Mobile Plan
- Unlimited meetings for up to 100 participants
- Multi-level auto attendant
- CRM Integration (includes platforms like Bullhorn, G-Suite, Hubspot, Office 365, Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Zendesk, Clio, Connectwise, JobDiva, Microsoft Dynamics & Zoho)
- IP desk phone capability
Price: $39.99 per month/per line (plus taxes & fees)
- All features from the Premium Plan
- Call Recording: on-demand (15 hours)
- Call Group
- Visual Voicemail
Promotion: Currently, Vonage is offering a 30% discount on their standard rates, bringing the price of the Basic Mobile service down to as low as $13.99/line/month for up to 4 lines. This promotional offer is valid through 8/29/23.
Dialpad offers a versatile phone service designed specifically for small businesses, ensuring they remain connected, efficient, and adaptable to the evolving communication landscape. Here’s an overview of their offerings:
- Unified Communications: Dialpad’s AI-powered collaboration platform provides a comprehensive suite of communication tools, including phone calls, video conferencing, SMS/MMS, and team messaging, all integrated into a single app.
- Flexibility for Small Businesses: Recognizing the challenges of running a small business, Dialpad offers solutions that cater to the unique needs of smaller enterprises. Whether it’s setting up a business phone line, managing after-hours calls, or integrating with other communication channels, Dialpad has it covered.
- Advanced Features: Dialpad boasts a range of advanced features such as real-time transcriptions, call routing and transfers, visual voicemail, and the ability to choose or block caller ID. Their AI capabilities can transcribe calls in real-time and identify keywords and phrases for call coaching.
Plans and Pricing
- Standard: Priced at $15 per user/month (or $23 if billed monthly), this plan offers unlimited calling, SMS & MMS, AI-powered call and voicemail transcriptions, Google Workspace & Microsoft 365 integrations, unlimited video meetings, and web and chat support.
- Pro: Priced at $25 per user/month (or $35 if billed monthly), this plan includes all features of the Standard plan and adds local number support in 70+ countries, multiple phone numbers per account, 25 ring groups (departments), 10 office locations, global SMS capabilities, CRM integrations (Salesforce, Zendesk, HubSpot, Zoho & more), open APIs & webhooks, and 24/7 live agent support.
- Enterprise: For this plan, businesses need to contact Dialpad for a quote. It includes all features of the Pro plan and adds 100% uptime, unlimited office locations, unlimited ring groups (departments), dial-by-extension, integrations with leading SSO providers, Azure AD SSO integration, data retention policies, and priority live agent support.
9. GoTo Connect
GoTo Connect offers a comprehensive VoIP phone system tailored for small businesses, ensuring they remain connected, efficient, and adaptable to the evolving communication landscape. Here’s an overview of their offerings:
- Unified Communications: GoTo Connect’s VoIP phone system is designed to be easy to use and highly professional. It provides a unified platform for voice calls, video conferencing, SMS/MMS, and team messaging.
- Flexibility for Small Businesses: GoTo Connect understands the challenges faced by small businesses. Their solution is designed to be flexible, allowing businesses to adjust plans quickly as they scale up and ensuring ease of use for immediate service to customers and callers.
Plans and Pricing
- Basic: Priced at $24.00/user/month (billed annually), this plan offers local or toll-free number options, video meetings for up to 4 participants, basic integrations like Outlook & Google Workspace, and 40 SMS credits per seat per month.
- Standard (Most Popular): Priced at $29.00/user/month (billed annually), this plan includes unlimited users, unlimited auto attendants, call routing and queues, video meetings for up to 250 participants, integrations like Salesforce and Miro, and 80 SMS credits per seat per month.
Net2Phone offers a versatile phone service designed specifically for small businesses, ensuring they remain connected, efficient, and adaptable to the evolving communication landscape. Here’s an overview of their offerings:
- Web Calling: Make and take calls from your business phone number using just your computer.
- Mobile App: Carry your business number with you, and make and receive calls or text messages right from your mobile phone.
- Auto-Attendant: Have all your calls answered automatically. Include custom greetings options to route callers to the right extension.
- Call Routing: Boost caller satisfaction with rules that automatically route callers to the next available person or department based on the criteria you set.
- Call Queues: Improve customer service by automatically sorting and routing calls based on the agent best equipped to handle the query.
- Call Forwarding: Redirect incoming calls to an alternative phone number.
- Call Transfer: Transfer calls to other users or departments from a desk phone or web application.
- Call Recording: Keep track of essential details with call recording.
- Voicemail to Email: Take care of your voicemails faster by having voicemail transcriptions sent to you via email or text message.
Plans and Pricing
- Office: Priced at $23.99/user/month, this plan offers unlimited nationwide and international calling to over 40 countries, video conferencing, desktop & mobile app, SMS/MMS text messaging, and call recording.
- Office Pro: Priced at $27.99/user/month, this plan includes all features of the Office plan and adds a receptionist console (RCon).
- Office Power: Priced at $33.99/user/month, this plan encompasses everything in the Office Pro plan and adds virtual fax and CRM or API integration.
Aircall provides a cloud-based business phone system designed to cater to the unique needs of scaling businesses. With a focus on simplicity, flexibility, and powerful integrations, Aircall aims to redefine the way businesses communicate. Here’s a detailed overview:
- Unified Communications: Aircall offers a comprehensive suite of communication tools, including phone calls, video conferencing, SMS/MMS, and team messaging, all integrated into a single platform.
- Easy Setup and Customization: Businesses can create phone numbers in over 100 countries and onboard teammates from various departments swiftly. Adjustments to settings can be made as business demands change, all through web, desktop, or mobile apps.
- CRM & Helpdesk Integration: Aircall allows automatic syncing of call details to CRM and Helpdesk systems, eliminating the need to switch between platforms. This integration provides a full context around every conversation, including call recordings and account histories.
- Call Metrics Visibility: Aircall provides insights into who’s on a call and who’s available in real-time. It also offers analytics to identify missed inbound calls, track hold times, and monitor historical trends to enhance team performance.
Plans and Pricing
- Essentials: Priced at $30/user/month (billed annually, 3-users minimum), this plan offers unlimited calls within the US & Canada, 100+ integrations, SMS capabilities, and essential telephony features.
- Professional: Priced at $50/user/month (billed annually, 3-users minimum), this plan includes all features from the Essentials plan and adds Salesforce integration, advanced analytics, call monitoring, and more.
- Custom: This plan is tailored to specific business needs and includes features from the Professional plan, unlimited worldwide calls, custom analytics, custom onboarding, API developer support, and more.
OpenPhone offers a cloud-based phone system tailored for small businesses, ensuring they remain connected, professional, and efficient. Here’s an overview of their offerings:
- Unified Communications: OpenPhone provides a comprehensive suite of communication tools, including phone calls, video conferencing, SMS/MMS, and team messaging, all integrated into a single platform.
- Professional Appearance: OpenPhone allows businesses to use custom caller IDs, voicemail messages, and phone menus for each of their business numbers, enhancing their professional image.
- Remote Work: With OpenPhone, businesses can call or text using just an internet connection, eliminating concerns about service areas and long-distance charges.
- Team Collaboration: Shared phone numbers provide full visibility into conversations, ensuring alignment among team members. This feature ensures that businesses can view texts, call recordings, and voicemails from any contact in a single view.
- Privacy: OpenPhone protects team members by allowing them to make business calls without revealing their personal cell phone numbers.
- Control Over Numbers: Businesses can easily add, remove, assign, or reassign their business numbers. All conversations are retained, ensuring no loss of data.
- Customer Engagement: OpenPhone offers quick text messaging from computers and auto-replies for when team members are away, ensuring customers always feel heard.
Plans and Pricing
- Standard: Priced at $13/user/month (billed annually), this plan offers one new local or toll-free phone number per user, unlimited calls and messaging to US and Canadian numbers, voicemail to text transcription, basic IVR (auto-attendant), and call recording.
- Premium: Priced at $20/user/month (billed annually), this plan includes everything from the Standard plan and adds group calling, call transfers, advanced IVR, analytics and reporting, and integrations with HubSpot and Salesforce.
- Enterprise: This plan is tailored for organizations with more complex requirements and includes everything from the Premium plan, custom contract and pricing, dedicated account manager, audit log, and priority support.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Office Phone System Providers For Small Business
- Features and Functionality: Ensure the provider offers essential features like call forwarding, voicemail-to-email, auto-attendant, and CRM integration.
- Scalability: Choose a provider that can easily adapt as your business grows, allowing you to add lines or features as needed.
- Cost and Pricing Structure: Understand the total cost, including setup, equipment, monthly fees, and potential hidden charges. Compare this with your budget.
- Reliability and Uptime: Look for providers with a strong track record of reliability and high uptime guarantees.
- Customer Support and Service: Ensure the provider offers excellent customer service, preferably 24/7, and has positive customer reviews.
- Integration Capabilities: Check if the system can integrate with your existing business tools, such as CRM software and email platforms.
- Security and Compliance: Ensure the provider meets industry security standards and compliance requirements, especially for data protection.
- Mobility and Remote Access: Opt for a system that supports mobile devices and remote work, allowing employees to stay connected from anywhere.
- Ease of Use and Management: Choose a system that is user-friendly and can be managed without requiring specialized IT skills.
- Contract Terms and Flexibility: Review the contract length and terms. Look for providers that offer flexibility, such as month-to-month options.
- Quality of Service: Consider the call quality the system delivers, especially if your business makes frequent international calls.
- Vendor Reputation and Reviews: Research the provider’s reputation. Read customer reviews and ask for references.
- Future-proof Technology: Opt for a provider that regularly updates its technology, ensuring that your system won’t become obsolete quickly.
- Disaster Recovery Options: Check if the provider has contingency plans to reroute calls during outages or natural disasters.
- International Calling Plans: If your business operates globally, consider the costs and options for international calling plans.
Why Every Small Business Needs an Efficient Phone System
For small businesses, establishing a strong presence in the market and building trust with customers are paramount. An efficient phone system plays a pivotal role in achieving these goals. Here’s why every small business should prioritize having a robust phone system:
- Professional Image: A dedicated business phone system enhances the company’s professional image. Features like custom greetings, hold music, and extension directories give the impression of a well-established organization, even if the business is just starting out.
- Enhanced Customer Service: Quick and efficient response to customer inquiries or concerns can significantly boost customer satisfaction. An efficient phone system ensures that no call goes unanswered, and customers receive timely assistance.
- Scalability: As the business grows, so do its communication needs. Modern phone systems can easily adapt to increasing call volumes and additional features, eliminating the need for frequent system overhauls.
- Cost-Effective: Many modern phone systems, especially VoIP solutions, are more affordable than traditional landlines. They offer competitive rates for international calls, making them ideal for businesses with global clients or aspirations.
- Integration with Other Tools: Many phone systems can integrate with CRM software, email platforms, and other business tools. This integration streamlines operations, ensuring that all customer interactions, whether via call, email, or chat, are logged in one place.
- Mobility and Flexibility: Cloud-based phone systems allow employees to take calls from anywhere, be it the office, home, or on the go. This flexibility is especially beneficial for businesses with remote or traveling employees.
- Reliability: Downtime can be detrimental to small businesses. Modern phone systems come with features like call forwarding, ensuring that even if one line goes down, calls can be rerouted to another number or device.
- Security: With increasing concerns about data breaches and privacy, having a secure phone system is crucial. Encrypted calls and secure voicemail access ensure that sensitive business information remains confidential.
Selecting the right office phone system is pivotal for small businesses aiming to establish a strong market presence and build lasting relationships with customers. Modern phone systems offer a blend of traditional reliability and innovative features, ensuring seamless communication. From cloud-based VoIP solutions to hybrid systems, the options are diverse, catering to varied business needs. Prioritizing features like call forwarding, CRM integration, and mobile connectivity can significantly enhance operational efficiency. Ultimately, an efficient phone system is not just a communication tool; it’s a strategic asset driving growth and ensuring success in a competitive business environment.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
What should I look for in a small business phone system?
Prioritize features like call forwarding, voicemail-to-email, auto-attendant, CRM integration, and mobile connectivity. Ensure the system is scalable, reliable, and offers good customer support.
How do I set up a small business phone system?
Start by assessing your business needs. Choose between traditional, VoIP, or hybrid systems. Purchase the necessary equipment or software, set up phone lines, and configure features. Consider seeking professional installation for complex systems.
How much should a business phone line cost?
Costs vary based on the provider and features. Traditional lines can range from $20 to $50 per line monthly, while VoIP services might offer packages from $10 to $35 per user monthly.
How much does an automated phone system cost?
Automated systems, like IVR, can range from $500 to $5,000 for setup, with monthly fees between $40 to $100, depending on features and call volume.
How much does a VoIP service cost?
VoIP services typically charge monthly, with prices ranging from $10 to $50 per user. Costs depend on features, call limits, and additional services like international calling.