Best Cloud-based Phone Systems For Small Businesses

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Fretty Francis

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: February 8, 2021

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The world is becoming increasingly competitive. In order to survive, it has become progressively important for businesses, especially the small ones, to offer a seamless experience to their customers, vendors and other stakeholders. Poor communication channels may cause prolonged delays, disconnected calls, suboptimal audio quality, among many other such issues, any and all of which can impact productivity and may lead your customers to take their business elsewhere. Cloud telephony systems have emerged as an excellent tool to help businesses communicate better. They can go a long way in helping businesses develop a strong customer base and great internal partnerships.

6 Top Cloud-Based Phone Systems for Small Businesses and Startups

With dozens of options and a vast sea of features and tools, zeroing in on a cloud-based phone system for your small business may not be as easy as you think. To help you decide, we have compiled a list of our top picks

1. RingCentral

cloud based phone systemRingCentral offers enterprise-level features and capabilities that facilitate communication and collaboration at affordable and budget-friendly prices. It can be deployed globally and comes with omnichannel contact center capabilities. It offers integrated workflows and analytics and can integrate with most leading online storage, help desk, and CRM solutions.

Pros

Feature-rich

Price matching

Generous toll-free minutes

Pricing

Four pricing plans with subscription rates ranging from $19.99/user/month to $49/user/month

USP: A full-service VoIP software

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2. Freshcaller

cloud based phone systemA call center solution from Freshworks, Freshcaller is yet another professional, dependable, and affordable solution that is ideal for small businesses. It is easy to set up and use and is known for its powerful conferencing and call handling capabilities.

 

 

Pros

Real-time data, call metrics, and contextual information

Pay-as-you-grow plans

Pricing

This cloud PBX system comes with a free version and can go up to $59 as you opt for more features.

USP: Call center management and insights

3. Callhippo

cloud based phone systemCallHippo, as a cloud-based phone system for small businesses, allows them to set up virtual phone numbers for their businesses. You can purchase local phone numbers in more than 50 countries. It offers impeccable integration and works with reputable solutions like Helpdesk, Zoho CRM, Pipedrive and Slacks that make all business operations a breeze.

Pros

User-friendly widgets, robust API, automatic updates

User-friendly

Pricing

$5-$20 per user/month

USP: Integrability

4. Grasshopper

cloud based phone systemGrasshopper’s iOS and Android apps allow you to make and receive calls on your cell phone using your business number. In this way, there remains a clear way for you to keep your personal and work communications separate from each other.

 

Pros

User-friendly interface

Quick and easy setup

Toll-free vanity numbers

Pricing

Annual billing of $80 for small businesses

USP: Mobility

5. Jive

cloud based phone system

Jive is simple, uncomplicated and packed with features. VoIP can be set up and be up and running immediately for not much money and no long-term contracts.

 

 

Pros

Features

Sliding-scale pricing

Pricing

Up to $25.95 per month/user

USP: Features

6. Nextiva

cloud based phone systemNextiva’s VoIP service handles customer support completely in-house with no overseas outsourcing. It is a great option for a small business on a restricted budget.  Nextiva’s online management platform makes it simple to manage multiple lines and employees in remote locations.

 

Pros

Budget-friendly rates

Scalability across locations

Pricing

$20-$30 per month/user

USP: Inexpensive VoIP provider

7. PhoneBurner

PhoneBurner

PhoneBurner is a powerful cloud-based phone system that aims to increase productivity on the phone by 400 percent. It automates repetitive workflows and helps sales reps have 4x live conversations with their leads. Moreover, the system automatically power dials leads for you and can even leave emails and voicemails. 

Pros

  • Advanced real-time reporting and analytics
  • Takes notes and schedule follow-ups

Pricing

  • $149 per user per month

USP: By integrating with CRM, PhoneBurner enables sales reps to intelligently filter leads for closing more deals. 

8. Ameyo

Ameyo

Ameyo is another top-leading cloud-based phone system that helps manage customer communication solutions and delivers excellent customer experience. It is specially designed to meet the end needs of call centers. The software enables you to have a personalized interaction with every customer across various channels. 

Pros

  • Highly flexible and powerful
  • Easy to access

Pricing

  • Quote-based plan

USP: The system can help Identify, segment, and route customers to the best agent. Thus, it increases the overall experience of the customers.


How Does a Cloud-based Phone System Work?

Gone are the days of answering machine tapes, huge phone bills, wires, wires, and more wires. Cloud-based phone systems store everything digitally. They are rapidly replacing traditional copper-line landlines.

A cloud-based phone system stores data in a secure server that can be accessed via the internet. It is usually hosted by a third-party provider. These systems use data centers that are owned, configured and managed by these third-party providers who ensure quality and security. This effectively eliminates the need for expensive hardware and cables. Cloud-based business phone systems are therefore much easier on the pocket. They are easier to use and come with many features that can improve the way businesses operate.

What kind of features to look for?

Cloud-based phone systems create a closed telephone network within a business. At its core, a cloud phone system is essentially a telephone system to make and receive calls. However, it can do so much more than that. These systems do not just address the calling needs of a business but they act as a unified communication system that enhances the way your employees can communicate with customers, clients as well as their co-workers. Just to give you a fair idea, a typical cloud-based business phone system will come with at least the following features:

  • Manage Messages

It allows users to manage their messages, voicemails and more. This is barely possible with a traditional system. You have the option to record your own voicemail, set up multiple ones, read them online and even obtain transcripts in the form of text or email. Some cloud-based phone systems allow you to send and receive multiple text messages from a toll-free or local business phone number.

  • Manage Calls

It lets you forward calls. You can instantly and even automatically direct callers to the right people so that a caller does not have to dial another number or wait for a callback. Calls may be answered by an automatic attendant that can provide callers with some options and route the call to the correct person. Cloud-based business phone systems also enable call blocking, call waiting and call transfer.

  • Conferencing

These systems also come with conference bridging, conference calling and video conferencing capabilities.

  • Phone Options

If you require physical phones similar to the traditional landlines with all the features that come with a cloud-based phone system and none of the wires for your office, you have the option to use traditional-looking VoIP phones as well.

  • Training and Performance Tools, Metrics and Reporting

Cloud phone systems can function as call center software and be the spine of any business functions related to phone calls and customer support. They allow you to record calls, to inform your customer support strategies and employee training and performance management programs. They can even provide you with insightful data such as the number of calls placed and received so that you can make strategic business decisions more effectively.

Why Cloud?

Cloud-based phone systems for small businesses are rising rapidly in popularity. They are easy-to-use, packed with features and are not priced reasonably lower than traditional phone line systems. They also do not require as much on-site hardware.

Here’s how cloud-based business phone systems can be beneficial for your small business:

  • Lower Cost

As we have discussed, these systems are hosted by a third-party in secure data centers over the internet, which takes away the need for businesses to invest in expensive hardware and cables. You do not need to purchase servers to host your phone system and leave the management of configuration, upgrades, and security to a reliable cloud-based phone service provider.

  • Easy to Use and Set-Up

Since they do not require wire rerouting, cloud phone systems are much easier and quicker to set up. They are also easy to use. They come with administrative portals that facilitate activities such as adding a new phone for a new hire with just a few clicks.

  • Mobility

They offer apps and act as web phones that allow users to log in remotely from any part of the world from most mainstream devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.

  • Scalability

They can scale with your business. You do not have to get into arranging and rearranging your phone hardware set up to keep up with business growth. You may simply have to upgrade your payment plans to accommodate more employees and customers.

  • Useful Features, Integrations, Enhanced Productivity

We have spoken about how there is more to cloud-based phone systems than just placing and receiving calls. They come with a varied set of advanced features that are designed to streamline processes and help a business communicate better. They can even integrate with most leading CRM software solutions and work with them in order to enhance the overall performance and productivity.

  • Security

The bonus of managing the security of a cloud-based business phone system lies with a third-party provider. For these system providers, providing secure service figures quite high on the priority list.

How Can Cloud-Based Phone Systems Help Small Businesses?

Cloud-based phone systems for small businesses can drive customer interaction. They can help you never miss a lead and keep your customers happy. Let’s discuss:

  • The various extensions and features such as voicemail and call forwarding can work with your toll-free number and lend an overall highly professional appearance to your business and make your small business appear bigger and more legitimate.
  • Small businesses do not usually have the resources to invest in costly hardware, which will not be a consideration with a cloud-based business phone system.
  • Flexible payment plans, mobility, scalability, and enhanced productivity can all go a long way in contributing to a small business’s long-term, sustained profitability.

Selecting A Cloud-Based Phone Service Provider

If chosen well, a cloud-based phone system for a small business can help you communicate better, create a professional appearance and accelerate growth and productivity. Any of the cloud phone service solutions that we have discussed would make an excellent choice. However, it all boils down to the size of your business, what you need and how much you are willing to spend. We advise that you chose a reputable provider and keep the following in mind as you make a choice:

  • Reliability

There is no point in investing in a cloud phone system when the phones may not work all the time. It is also important that the system works in most locations. Not only must in work in other locations, but it must also perform as well as it would in your primary office.

  • Affordability

Check how much you will have to pay upfront, how much you may have to pay on a monthly basis and also look out for maintenance costs if any. Ensure that you will be able to afford all of that in the long run. There may be other hardware or software that may be more crucial to your small business.

  • Features and Capabilities

It can be easy to get confused with all the features that are available. Assess what your business will need. Determine which features are absolutely required and also figure out which features will be good to have in your line of business.

  • Read the Fine Print

Do not overlook the fine print. Go into detail and understand the terms and conditions of the service. Keep an eye out for when your contract will be due for renewal. Understand the payment terms and deadlines carefully.  Find out the terms and conditions for ending the contract.

Conclusion

Now that we have discussed cloud phone systems in detail, it comes as no surprise that it is becoming increasingly popular among small businesses. The features and benefits that come with the system would also work well in medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Your internal and external customers are bound to appreciate the flexibility and reliability that come with it. If a great phone system for your small business is what you are looking for, a cloud-based business phone system would make an excellent choice.

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Fretty Francis is a digital marketing and content strategist at SoftwareSuggest, a software recommendation platform. She's passionate about analytics, conversion rate optimization and ice-cream.

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