Whether it's for constant customer support or just simply for regular calls to suppliers and other business partners, every company needs to have dedicated voice communication services. Landline has been the gold standard for the past decades, but the internet offers a much better alternative now.
To put it in layman terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or better known as VoIP, is a voice-call over the public internet network. This technology has been around since the 1990s but the quality at the time was not good enough to compete against the conventional phone.
But as technology advances throughout the years, so does the quality and reliability of the VoIP technology. Nowadays, you can barely tell the difference between a phone call through landline and a call over VoIP. The VoIP technology has matured and with it comes numerous companies that offer their VoIP services as a cost-effective and convenient alternative to conventional phone calls.
In the midst of all of those companies and their various appealing features, three companies come out on top as the best ones according to critics and consumers alike. They are RingCentral, Nextiva, and Ooma and these are the reasons why they are regarded as the leaders of the industry when it comes to providing VoIP services to small to medium-sized businesses.
RingCentral is an all-in-one service for your company's online communication solutions. Since its inception in 1999, RingCentral has been one of the leading figures in the VoIP business and now its services have branched out to not only providing a crisp over the internet voice call but also cross-platform messaging and video call and conferences.
As a cloud-based service, RingCentral doesn't require any kind of bulky hardware that the consumer has to purchase and maintain. All of their features could be accessed just with a decent computer or smartphone and a stable internet connection.
From toll-free numbers, call screening, and shared lines, to number porting, multi-site management, and call monitoring, they have it all. They also have international numbers, audio/video conferences, and most importantly, secured VoIP services that are embedded inside 17 data centers and each equipped with enterprise-grade security and reliability.
But the best of all is the fact that all of these essential features come with reasonable price tags. The price for their annual plans ranging from USD19.99 to USD49.99. The one that I recommend the most is their premium plan that costs USD34.99. This plan strikes the perfect balance between great features and affordability.
What sets Nextiva apart from its competitor is its easy-to-use product and amazing customer support. Of course, they also have an abundance of great features but the way they bundle all of those essential components in an easy to understand manner to enhance the customer experience is simply admirable.
Since its foundation in 2006, Nextiva has thrived in being the most user-friendly VoIP service provider. Their satisfied client includes global brands such as Taco Bell, Shelby Americans, DirectBuy, and Conan O'Brien.
Beyond that, they also strive to provide the best service for small to medium-size businesses from all kinds of industries. Stop by their official website and you'll find tons of customer's success stories from numerous local businesses.
Nextiva offers a wide variety of features that have become the standard of the industry, such as secured VoIP connection, audio/video conference, CRM, desktop and smartphone apps, etc.
Some of their unique features that I personally like are Desktop Sharing where you can share your desktop screen to the customer and team members for seamless interaction and collaboration and team presence which allows you to see the availability of other people in your team like when they're currently on a call or not.
Nextiva also has one of the most affordable pricing plans in the industry. Their most advanced annual plan is just USD27.95 per month, that is way below what other companies would offer you for a similar feature set.
Although Ooma is still a cloud-based VoIP provider just like the other two that I mentioned above, they take a different approach than its competitors. If RingCentral and Nextiva are companies that set their eyes firmly towards the future with its features and capabilities, Ooma is a company that takes advantage of the legacy technology set by the conventional phones.
Ooma allows you to use your current landlines (corded or cordless) and turn it into a VoIP machine. Of course, the actual process is more complex than what I just described, but that is basically what they do. They also have desktop and smartphone apps fully loaded with all of their features so despite their unique approach to the business, they are still very much in touch with the mobile world.
Ooma's main goal is to provide the best VoIP experience for small to midsize businesses. To do that they have to streamline their service to achieve the most effective and efficient solution possible. They have most of the features that have become the standard in the VoIP industry, like toll-free numbers, secured VoIP connection, call forwarding, etc. It might not be as polished or as varied as the other two on this list, but it will get the job done.
Ooma has two pricing plans for its intended market, Ooma office, and Ooma office pro. Ooma office is priced at USD19.95 per month for each user while the more premium Ooma office pro is priced at USD24.95 per month for each user. The premium plan has a slight edge over the regular plan thanks to the enhanced call blocking, voicemail transcription, and a slew of other advanced features.
At this point, using a VoIP instead of a conventional landline is the most logical choice for your business. So, if you're the owner of a small to medium-sized business (SMB), the problem becomes which VoIP providers to choose.
I've narrowed down the list to three of the best companies in the industry and you won't go wrong with any of them. But if you still couldn't make up your mind, then please keep on reading as I pick the best of the three and elaborate on the reason behind that decision.
Ring Central, Nextiva, and Ooma have all the features that you need to run your day to day calling activity. Some have more unique features than the others but overall, you will be fine with either one of them. So the deciding factors are price and scalability.
An SMB has to be mindful of its cost so there's no need for the extra features that you'd rarely use. Simply paying for the core features that you need is always the best option. You also need to be wary of scalability because you might not want to stay at SMB forever. At some point, you'd want to scale up your business so you need to have a service that could handle that kind of progress in the future.
RingCentral is great in terms of scalability. They have more features than you can think of and their support is also great. But all of those good things come with a rather steep price. RingCentral does start its pricing point at USD19.99 but you'd get more options from other companies at the same price.
Ooma is a robust system with a great starting price. Even their premium plan cost less than mid-tier Ring Central's Plan. The features in their regular plan are also sufficient for your daily business activity. But since Ooma needs an actual physical phone to use, then scalability becomes a problem.
There's also the hidden cost of the hardware that you'd need to purchase. If you don't have a conventional phone that suits Ooma specification, then you need to buy their pre-configured phone or their base station, if you want wireless connectivity. That could cost anywhere from USD69 to USD299. Although it's a one time purchase, it is still expensive.
That leaves us with Nextiva. Affordable yet fully capable VoIP providers for your everyday need. As I mentioned before, Nextiva comes fully loaded with amazing features, professional support, and affordable price. They also have enterprise plans that would cover all of your needs whenever you decide to scale your business up. The list of their big-brand customers and local businesses should give you the picture of how reliable they are as a business.
So if you own a small to midsize business and you need a VoIP service then I suggest you give Nextiva a try. After all, they also have a 30-day free trial.