Updated August 13, 2018
Best Small Business Phone Systems
Looking for an affordable small business phone system? We’ve researched the best options for 2018 based on price, features, customer service, reliability, innovation, and overall value.
Best Virtual Phone System: Grasshopper
Grasshopper was one of the first companies to put VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) business phone systems on the map, and their focus on small businesses and startups continues to make them a popular choice--boasting more than 350,000 customers.
What to watch in 2018:
- Expanded productivity and collaborative tools thanks to Grasshopper’s acquisition by LogMeIn
- New features such as WiFi calling and Grasshopper’s Desktop app access which were launched in 2017
- New status page to monitor VoIP service status and any planned maintenance updates
- Continued focus on entrepreneurs and small business owners
One of the new features they added in 2017 that we’re really excited about is WiFi calling. Users are now able to make and receive calls and send text messages using WiFi instead of their cellular network. This can be huge when you’re in an area where your cellphone reception is spotty or not available at all. Their desktop app also makes it super easy to make calls without being tied to your mobile device. You can seamlessly work from your laptop—answering calls, sending and receiving texts, etc. They also offer spam detection so you can identify unwanted calls.
Grasshopper’s small business phone plans feature unlimited minutes, 24/7 live customer support, no long-term contracts, and a 30 day money back guarantee. Their acquisition by LogMeIn—one of the largest providers of web and video conferencing on a global basis—also creates some really interesting opportunities over the coming year. As more and more small business phone solutions look to add productivity and collaboration functionality, this could give LogMeIn and Grasshopper a real competitive advantage.
Best Business Phone System: RingCentral
RingCentral continues to be one of the industry leaders in cloud-based VoIP phone systems for small businesses. Winners of multiple “Product of the Year” awards in 2017, their RingCentral Office product offers small businesses a complete cloud phone system that’s incredibly easy to set up and manage. 30-day money back guarantee.
What to watch in 2018:
- New collaboration apps and tools to power one-on-one and team messaging
- New integrated collaborative meetings solution delivering team messaging, online meetings, video conferencing, screen-sharing, and task management in a single solution
- Integration with Google Cloud’s new Contact Center AI, a solution that combines multiple AI products to improve the customer service experience
- Expanded reporting and analytics to monitor call quality and user data
- Continued integration with voice services such as Amazon Alexa
With the new RingCentral for Amazon Alexa integration, users can ask Alexa to launch and end meetings, play back messages, and place outbound calls. With the growing popularity of voice assistant platforms such as Alexa and Google Home, this functionality will only become more and more useful for small business owners.
Additional integrations also make using RingCentral Office incredibly seamless. RingCentral for Google allows you to make and receive enterprise-quality calls on the same screen as you work, easily fax documents from Google Docs, and listen to voicemails with the RingCentral Chrome extension. RingCentral for Zendesk seamlessly matches incoming callers to existing client records and automatically creates a customer support ticket when a call arrives—improving efficiency and streamlining workflow.
Best Virtual Office Phone System: 8x8
With more than 50,000 businesses operating in over 150 countries, 8x8 is a trusted provider of reliable VoIP-based phone systems.
What to watch in 2018:
- More patents focusing on technology to help companies quickly, seamlessly and effectively manage their communications and customer experience
- Launch of X Series--a new version of the 8x8 platform that combines call center, collaboration, and conferencing options to create a unified communications platform
- Global expansion. 8x8 recently opened a new support center in Singapore bring their total number of support centers located around the world to seven
- New features such as Call Flip which allows users to seamlessly move a call from one device to another without having to call the other party back
One of the things that really makes 8x8 stand out is their relentless commitment to innovation. They currently possess 150 patents in the U.S.—a number that continues to grow. Why does that matter for your small business? Greater scalability, rapid deployment, and faster innovative services to power your business.
Integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, and Netsuite are included with all three of their current 8x8 Virtual Office Editions as are audio and video conferencing and instant messaging. New features such as Call Flip are also going to go a long way to creating a better call experience.
Choosing the Best Phone Solution for Small Businesses
If you want to boost productivity, improve collaboration, and provide world-class customer service, it all starts with choosing the right phone system. Thanks to virtual business phone systems like Grasshopper, RingCentral, and 8x8, you can have amazing call quality, reporting, and reliability for less than $30 per month.
In addition to the options highlighted above, we also considered other business phone systems which are listed below.
Fonality. One of the very first options we included in our post on affordable small business phone solutions, Fonality merged with NetFortis in early 2017—creating a more complete cloud communications offering. They offer a number of integrated call management and collaboration features including dial-by-name, hold music, personalized call routing features, conference calling, and real-time reporting.
Mitel. Offering business IP phone systems and desktop devices for small, mid-size, and enterprise-level businesses, secure chat, audio and web conferencing, call attendant console, and flexible call recording options. If you’re looking for mobile collaboration tools, Mitel is definitely an option worth considering.
Ooma. Started to provide a better home phone service option, Ooma’s since expanded their focus to include small business VoIP phone systems. They offer toll-free numbers, unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, virtual receptionist functionality, and dial-by-name.
As affordable small business phone solutions continue to evolve, we expect 2018 will be another exciting year for the industry. Stay tuned.
As a disclaimer, I use affiliate links for some of the products listed. They are all products I absolutely love and trust and would recommend regardless of whether they have an affiliate program.