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Modern business communication is constantly in flux and fast-evolving. For small businesses and startups, creating a solid communication platform is one of the first major challenges. Customers, business partners, and team members expect excellence. Thus, the choice of phone services is paramount to start a new business.
Phone Services Are Essential to Persisting as a Viable Business
Despite competition from social media, email, instant messaging, and live chat, phone calls remain the first choice of 61% of US customers to contact customer service. Similarly, new data has shown that for e-commerce startups, listing a phone number on their seller’s page will instantly increase trust.
Modern business phone services are not limited to the landlines of yesteryear. Providers often offer omnichannel communication, with enterprise-grade voice and video calls, messaging, live chats, and email all united in one platform. In most cases, these features are available on any Internet-enabled device. In this volatile time of coronavirus lockdowns such flexibility can be a saving grace.
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Additionally, most business phone services these days also include a set of additional functionalities to boost your productivity. These range from AI analytics to automatic call transcription.
Below we list some of the services you have to choose from:
Overall, Nextiva offers the best set of features for growing companies, startups, and small businesses alike. Its comprehensive, flexible offer also earned it the title of the best business phone service of 2020, awarded by US News.
Nextiva’s business phone services package offers voice and video calling, conference calling, and messaging. It also includes functionalities such as voicemail-to-email, call transcription, find-me-follow-me, and other tools to save clients time and headaches.
A central piece of Nextiva’s offer is NextOS, a proprietary platform of analytics tools powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Users can gain actionable insights into customer behavior and team performance as well as perform predictive analytics.
In addition to all this, Nextiva also recently launched a team collaboration platform, Cospace.
Apart from its diverse set of features, Nextiva can also boast flawless reliability with a 99.999% (five nines) uptime and outstanding customer service. Customer service is available 24/7 via phone, live chat, and email. Customers say Nextiva is quick and helpful, with 95% of customer calls answered on the second ring. In fact, Nextiva has just snagged multiple Stevie awards for excellence in customer service for the fifth consecutive year.
Pricing starts at $19.95 per user per month for the Essential tier, $20.95 for the Pro, and $27.95 for Enterprise.
Vonage is among the best business phone services for growing businesses.
Based in New Jersey, the company’s core offer is its Business Cloud, which provides an all-in-one communications platform. This includes voice and video calls as well as messaging. More recently, the company also added team collaboration features to aid clients navigating remote teams during COVID-19 lockdowns.
A big plus of Vonage’s service is its broad range of integrations. The platform is compatible with Office 365, G Suite, HubSpot, Zoho CRM, Oracle, and Zapier, among others.
Vonage’s basic mobile plan starts at $19.99 per line per month. However, many features, such as video conferencing, chat and file sharing, only become available with the Premium ($29.99) or Advanced ($39.99) plans.
Also, some of Vonage’s features and integrations are billed separately. You won’t have to pay for them if you don’t need them, but otherwise they can quickly result in unexpectedly high monthly bills.
Dialpad offers voice and video calling, email, chat, and text messaging. The provider’s phone services are available on desktop and mobile apps as well as desk phones.
One of Dialpad’s biggest plus points is its impressive feature set. Users can have AI take call notes and provide real-time sales support. Automatic transcription of voicemail and calls is also available, as well as tools for in-depth analytics.
Like Vonage, Dialpad also scores big with its integration capability. Dialpad provides native integrations for standard platforms such as G Suite and Office 365, Salesforce, HubSpot, UberConference, and Slack.
Dialpad’s Standard plan starts at $15 per user per month, with more features in the Pro plan for $25 per user per month, and full functionality becoming available with the Enterprise plan, for $35 per user per month.
If your startup or small business operates internationally, or even if it’s based entirely outside the US, then 8×8 might be the best phone services provider for you. 8×8 offers local numbers in more than 75 countries, as well as toll-free numbers in 110 countries worldwide.
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All of 8×8’s plans include voice and video calling, HD videoconferencing, screen sharing, and team messaging. Additional features such as omnichannel routing and social media integrations allow users to centralize all their business communications on one platform.
Furthermore, 8×8 offers native integrations with a number of third-party business platforms, such as Salesforce or Zendesk.
In terms of pricing, 8×8’s Express plan, limited to one line and basic features, starts at $12 per user per month. More lines and functionalities become available at higher-tier plans, which range between $15 and $45 per user per month.
Finally, RingCentral offers a solid and reliable business phone option to small businesses and startups, though the company is at the pricier end of the spectrum.
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Its business platform includes voice and video calls, as well as screen sharing, instant messaging, and conference calls. Furthermore, RingCentral garners brownie points in terms of additional functionalities, many of them AI-powered. Automatic attendants, voicemail to email (or text message), call and conference transcripts, as well as real-time call analytics are available.
Integrations with a variety of third-party platforms are also possible. These include office suites such as Office 365 and G Suite, team collaboration tools like Slack and Trello, as well as CRM systems like Zendesk and Salesforce.
RingCentral’s Essential plan starts at $19.99 per user per month. However, its functionality is limited. For example, video calling only becomes available at the higher-level plans, which range from $24.99 to $49.99 per user per month.
Choose from a Wide Array of Phone Services
The market for business phone services is large, with a massive variety of offers. Rooting through them all and finding one that best suits your company’s needs can be challenging. To help you make up your mind, use this guide and get the best service for your business.