Cloud-based business phone systems leverage the Internet and cloud technology to facilitate communication. It is also commonly referred to as a VoIP platform or Internet-based phone system.
The biggest edge this kind of setup offers is affordability – you don’t have to come up with a sizeable investment for hardware, installation, and maintenance, all of which is taken care of by the provider. Low cost, as well as agility, is inherent in cloud computing, giving you a practical and efficient solution. Some providers even offer free plans. Below we’ll explore some of the best cloud-based phone systems for small business.
Cloud VoIP and business phone systems are ideal options for your company’s communication requirements whether for organization-wide communication with office-based and remote employees or for your call center and customer service/support unit. Cloud-based business phone systems offer features and capabilities that small businesses can clearly benefit from and take advantage of. These include:
Depending on the provider, there may be other tools and capabilities tucked into the system, and you’ll come across them as we go over the best cloud-based phone systems for small business. The benefits as shown in the graphics below are clear and small businesses can gain all of these and more with the right system.
The best cloud-based phone systems for small business are the ones that will work for you. How will you know that? Study its features and offerings, see if it has plans that fit your budget, and test it out yourself if it offers a free trial. If there is a free plan offered, do take that route initially to jumpstart your business then transition to a premium plan next if you need more features. There are many options out there with SMB-friendly prices and great features, and hopefully with our selection below you can narrow down your choice.
RingCentral combines all the features you need in a cloud business phone system. The award-winning platform has cloud PBX, multi-level IVR, audio and video conferencing, call recording and forwarding, team messaging, internet fax, auto-receptionist and more.
RingCentral is built to facilitate company communication and collaboration with enterprise-level capabilities at budget-friendly prices, making it an excellent cloud phone system for small businesses. It can be globally deployed and comes with capabilities for omnichannel contact centers, team messaging, integrated workflows, and analytics. It integrates with over a dozen online storage, help desk, and CRM solutions, and offers four pricing plans with subscription rates ranging from $19.99/user/month to $49/user/month.
Freshcaller is the call center solution from Freshworks, the software company with about a dozen products that are used by over 150,000 organizations around the world. Freshcaller carries the company tradition of offering professional, dependable, and affordable solutions ideal for SMBs. With the software, you get a configurable cloud PBX system that’s easy to set up and operate and is equipped with powerful conferencing and call handling capabilities. It is also able to provide you call center insights in real-time, call metrics, and contextual information. Freshcaller offers a pay-as-you-grow plan, letting you get the initial features you need to kick-start your business and add more tools as your operation expands.
8×8 VoIP Phone Service offers a solid, cloud-hosted system if you’re looking for a modern telephony solution to help you serve your customers more efficiently. The software is able to unify all your communications with a feature-filled platform that offers advanced cloud phone system, mobile support, business features, collaboration tools, and online administration and management. Among its phone system highlights are auto attendant, ring groups, directory assistance, number porting and more. Meanwhile, its collaboration tools include instant messaging, online meetings, virtual office calls, and conferencing. Pricing is by quote since packages are tailored fit to your requirements but its basic plan starts out at $19.99/user/month.
Slack is a widely popular communication solution used by millions of individuals and businesses for real-time messaging, file sharing, archiving, search, and collaboration. It has voice and video call capability and integrates with over 1,500 external apps and services, making it a completely flexible and extendable platform. Designed for modern teams, you get one online hub for all your communication that you can instantly search for messages and immediately access them from any connected device. Its free plan is enough for a small team. Three premiums plans for more advanced features and enterprise capabilities are available.
Skype is a web-based communications tool used by 5 million people daily for instant messaging, video chat, and international calls. It has been around for more than a decade and has grown to be one of the best VoIP solutions boosted by the fact that its basic plan is free. It is currently owned by tech titan Microsoft. Among its features are IM, group chat and video conferencing, video chat, and collaboration functions like image and document sharing. It lets you call actual landlines and mobile phones at affordable rates, and offers integrations with two dozen external apps and services.
Google Hangouts combines social media and communications functionalities in one cloud platform. It is designed to help you engage with your contacts through text, voice or video chats either on a one-on-one basis or in a group. It has HD capability which allows you to do HD calls and group conferencing for up to 15 people. It also offers screen sharing options and the capability to video broadcast which is ideal for organizations that undertake online seminars and staff training. Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android devices, bringing added mobility and versatility. Google Hangouts is free for making and receiving calls and for video conferencing. It requires you to pay only $5 for 30 GB of storage, and double the amount for double the storage.
Viber is a mobile messaging platform that enables you to send text messages and place phone calls to other Viber users for free. The IM and VoIP software is designed to run on various mobile operating systems where you can make audio and video calls, record and send video and voice messages, reply and like messages in group conversations, and attach stickers and GIFs to your messages and conversations. Sharing and exchanging of images, video and audio files is also possible with the platform. Installing and using Viber to contact other Viber users via desktop, laptop and smartphone are completely free. Calling actual landlines and mobile phones vary per country but usually cost less than $1/minute in most countries.
Jabber is a VoIP system from Cisco that runs as an XML-based open source platform which allows you to make calls from anywhere across the country without paying additional fees. It is similar to Linux or Apache systems except that it features an email-like interface with basic instant messaging as well as conferencing, call queuing and recording, supervised transfer, talk detection, and contact list tools. Jabber is compatible with various systems and devices. All you need is a stable internet connection and you can download the app, install it in your device, and make direct calls from your smartphone or computer. It is offered through custom pricing, letting you pick only the features you want.
Zoho Cliq replaced what was formerly Zoho Chat. The rebranded and re-engineered version of Zoho’s communication app has been given extra features aside from real-time chat and messaging. It now has voice and video call functionality, a much-needed tool for modern teams that operate on cohesive communication and deep collaboration. Other Chat features are kept, such as chat rooms, private chat, multiple channels, file sharing, notification feeds, and mobile apps. While it is a cloud-hosted software, there are also desktop apps for Windows, Mac and Ubuntu systems. Zoho Cliq comes in two packages – a feature-laden free edition and an unlimited edition.
Phone.com is a business VoIP phone service billed as a flexible and cost-effective collaboration and communications solution for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The cloud-hosted platform is equipped with dozens of features to handle, deliver and manage local and long distance calls, voicemails, conferencing, text messaging, conferencing, schedules, web interfaces, and much more. Currently being used by over 25,000 customers, the internet telephony system is easy to deploy and can be up and running in minutes. It is available in three affordable plans with rates ranging from $9.99/month up to $29.99/month.
ClickDesk is a cloud communications platform that brings together the functionalities of help desk, live chat, voice, and video calls right to your website. Having a direct line of communication with your customers and website visitors helps boost customer support and drive sales. It enables you to instantly respond to visitors’ queries, as well as promptly reply to support tickets and offline chat through an integrated help desk. It also provides an in-browser video chat and social toolbar that allows you to give your customers a more personalized experience. ClickDesk integrates with dozens of third-party apps and is available in low-cost plans starting at $19.99/agent/month.
Fuze is a modern communications system that unifies video, voice and messaging into one cloud platform that lets you work from any device anytime and anywhere. Designed to enhance teamwork and productivity, Fuze offers intelligent business communications solutions such as collaboration tools, reporting options, contact center systems, and enterprise security. It powers the communication needs of noted agencies such as the Associated Press, National Geographic, and Kronos, although it is applicable for organizations of various sizes. Fuze integrates with over a dozen external apps and is offered on a quote basis.
Dialpad is an innovative business phone system used by companies like Xero, Quora, and Asana. It is intended to streamline and unify your communications infrastructure with a cloud-based platform that offers features and capabilities such as VoIP, MMS, IVR, call monitoring and recording, group messaging, visual voicemail, voice recognition, and contact management. Dialpad integrates with Google Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and Salesforce. It has three affordable plans with prices ranging from $15 to $35/user/month.
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