VoIP Providers for Business
With business VoIP, you can reduce costs, streamline operations, and increase productivity while making calls over the internet. However, choosing the right best VoIP service for business can be daunting.
Internet phone capabilities add power to business communications
It did not take long for VoIP to find its way from consumer use to business use. It soon became the preferred voice call technology of modern business phone systems, quickly replacing traditional telecoms. As a result, more organizations are able to recognize the multiple advantages of being able to place calls over the internet. Its positive effect on productivity and efficiency can only be matched by its quick return on investment. This also gave rise to different Voice over IP providers that are now competing against regular telecom carriers in the business telephony arena.
What is VoIP?
Top VoIP features
VoIP isn’t just about making calls. VoIP providers offer tons of fantastic additional features like caller ID, call screening, and multi-level IVR, along with basic telephone systems and functionality. The best VoIP providers like RingCentral offer unified communications with VoIP solutions to streamline your business communications into one user-friendly experience.
Here are some of those top VoIP features:
Unified communications (or UC) allow you to streamline all of your business voice communications and other modes of communication under one multi-functional app. Instead of having one app for SMS text messages and another for making calls, you’ll be able to manage everything from one interface.
UC platforms cover everything from audio conferencing to video meetings, team chats, screen sharing, and instant messaging.
RingCentral MVP brings messaging, video, and phone together so that teams can do their very best work from anywhere. Teams can chat, share files, and create dedicated threads for particular projects or topics. Plus, HD video meeting means nothing is lost by working remotely. Even if you’re all miles apart, you’ll feel like you’re in the same room.
An auto-attendant is a bit like a receptionist for your phone line. Having an auto-attendant is a great way to project a professional image for your brand. The automated system will greet incoming callers and guide them to the most appropriate channel, department, or individual representative.
RingCentral MVP includes a comprehensive virtual receptionist service. Your virtual receptionist will greet customers dialing in and route them directly to employees’ headsets so that they never miss out on a customer service call or sales opportunity.
Plus, it includes fully customizable calling features. You can add a unique company greeting, relevant extensions, business hours, call forwarding, and routing rules.
Another great VoIP feature is call recording. Many VoIP service providers offer recording capabilities so that you can record phone calls between customers and your staff. It’s a great way to monitor how your team handles customer calls and spot any areas that need improvement.
Rest assured, call recording is incredibly secure. Only authorized personnel have access to recorded content, and the recording itself will remain undetectable.
Advantages of VoIP
Needless to say, using VoIP comes with many advantages. Costs are generally lower, and accessibility higher. Other advantages include:
High voice quality
Disadvantages of VoIP
Despite its great features, VoIP’s main issue is internet dependency. A reliable internet connection is essential if you want to use business VoIP. With low network bandwidth or in the event of an outage, your service will be compromised.
VoIP needs the internet to work.
VoIP is not always secure.
Why VoIP is good for business compared to conventional landlines
- High up-front cost for on-premise hardware
- Implementation is expensive and complicated
- Contracts are compulsory and have early termination fees
- Additional fees for every service and hardware upgrade
- Additional fees for technical support
- Maintenance calls for specially-trained personnel
- Implementation of service change requests takes time
VoIP phone service
- No hardware needed
- Implementation is quick and free of charge
- There are no monthly contracts
- New features are implemented at no extra cost
- Free round-the-clock customer assistance
- Changes can be made using your own account
- Adding or repurposing phone numbers can be done as needed
Do I need a VoIP service provider?
Yes. You will need a VoIP service provider to set up a VoIP business phone system. As the name suggests, VoIP service providers are companies that offer VoIP services to businesses and individual consumers.
Whether you are operating a small business or a large enterprise, the advantages of VoIP over traditional carriers are very obvious despite some disadvantages.
Mobilizing a cloud PBX (essentially a virtual PBX system) creates an automated answering system to direct incoming calls to your business phone.
And don’t forget to factor in your anticipated future growth. Service providers like RingCentral offer scalable VoIP solutions that cater to every business size, from small businesses and startups to large enterprises.
Look for the one that can give you the most bang for your buck. Modern business VoIP providers no longer just provide VoIP; these days, they offer entire business communications solutions. VoIP phone systems no longer just let you make and receive calls over the internet, they also let your business send internet faxes and business SMS, manage and route all incoming calls, and even let you host and join audio and video conferences from anywhere.
Do not settle for the cheapest VoIP phone service you can find. After all, not all providers are created equal. Go for the VoIP provider that can solve all the communication needs of your business.
Defining “VoIP provider”
A VoIP provider is a business entity that offers VoIP services directly to consumers or businesses.
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is the technology that allows for the use of IP networks to perform telephony functions, such as making and receiving a phone call.
It’s usually offered in the SaaS model, wherein the software is provided as a service (hosted by the vendor) rather than as a product (downloaded by the user).
There are many VoIP phone system providers out there, so it’s essential to choose wisely. Look for a VoIP phone service that offers all the phone features and functionalities you need.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of VoIP (which include savings, scalability, flexibility, and mobility), then yes, you need VoIP for your business. It is just a matter of choosing the right VoIP provider for your company.
What this means is that instead of selling software to customers, hosted VoIP providers have customers subscribe to a service.
What are the different types of VoIP providers?
There are different types of VoIP providers in the marketplace. They generally fall under these three:
There are providers who focus solely on directly providing telephony functions for businesses and consumers. This may include some basic features, like voicemail, call forwarding, and caller ID, but usually no call management features are included. If you are only looking for phone calling functionality and not much else, then these providers may already be on your radar.
VoIP with cloud phone system providers
There are providers who leverage the cloud by combining VoIP with cloud PBX technology. These cloud-based phone systems have VoIP as the foundation of their telephony component combined with the advanced routing capabilities of a hosted PBX. Aside from the ability to make and receive calls over the internet, these providers offer businesses call management features like auto attendant, answering rules, and virtual extensions for departments and individuals.
VoIP as part of unified communications solution providers
These are providers that are similar to VoIP with cloud phone system providers, but they take their offerings to another level. These companies combine different communications tools, like VoIP, cloud PBX, online meetings, and team messaging, into one platform. This provides businesses a central hub for communications instead of having to use different vendors for different communication tools.
How to choose a service provider
As you start shopping around for your new VoIP service, a few things are worth keeping in mind. It’s worth considering these essential features before making any investment.
1. Know what VoIP is first.
Before hopping into using any new technology, you have to do your research to understand it and how it will affect your company. The same applies to VoIP, especially since it will be the basis of how your business communicates.
- Cost - Is it affordable?
- VoIP Apps - Make sure there’s a full-featured mobile VoIP app.
- Integrations - Look for third-party integrations with your other business tools, such as your CRM.
- UCaaS - Make sure that you’re getting more than just calls.
2. Know your business communications needs and how VoIP can solve them.
Now that you understand what VoIP is, the next step is to figure out how it can help your business. To do that, however, you’ll have to start by identifying the business communications needs of your organization.
Some of the questions you may want to ask in regard to those needs are:
- What type of business phone number does the business need? Does it need a toll-free number, local number, international number, or any combination of the three?
- Does your business make a lot of outbound calls?
- Does your business receive a lot of inbound calls? Do you need a call routing solution?
- Do you have multiple locations?
- Do you have a distributed workforce? Do you have remote workers or telecommuting workers?
- Do you use fax and/or business SMS?
- Do you need an audio or video conferencing solution?
- Do your teams collaborate a lot?
- Do you want your business tools to integrate with your communications solution?
These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself as a business owner on the lookout for new phone solutions. Once you have identified your operational needs, you can start to look for VoIP providers that can meet your requirements.
Here is a checklist of some of the most common business communications needs:
- HD-quality VoIP phone service
- IP desk phone and conference phone support
- Online fax service
- Online meetings software (video conferencing and teleconferencing)
- Business SMS/MMS
- Screen sharing
- Business phone numbers—toll-free, local, international
- Team messaging
- Call management system/hosted PBX
- Task management
- Auto attendant with advanced call routing
- File sharing
- Call queuing
- Analytics and reporting
- Virtual extensions
- Automatic call recording
- Call forwarding
- Call monitoring
- Call screening
- Integrations with popular productivity apps
- Softphone for laptops and desktops
- Open APIs (voice, SMS, messaging, data, etc.) for integration with in-house apps
- Gallery of current integrations with popular business apps (i.e. CRM integration with Salesforce, productivity app integration with Office 365 or G-Suite)
Can your potential business VoIP providers address them? You can use this list as a starting point. Just cross out items that don’t apply to you and add what’s not mentioned.
Once you have a detailed list, you can move to the next step.
3. Check different VoIP providers for business (and what their plans include).
There are a number of VoIP providers that might be able to meet your business communications needs—you just need to narrow it down to one.
Check all the call plans and packages offered by each of the reputable providers you were able to gather.
Most of these plans have tiers, so make a side-by-side comparison of the prices and included features for each plan by tier.
This way, you can see the differences between the basic, mid-range, and premium VoIP plans and prices for each provider.
4. Determine the VoIP provider’s reliability and security.
Even if a VoIP provider meets all your business communications needs, your scrutiny should not end there. You also have to determine how they keep their service reliable and secure.
To ensure reliability, the top VoIP providers also have multiple data centers set up in different locations. The idea is that multiple servers in multiple data centers result in redundancy of service. This means that in the event that a server fails, another server can take over in real time. The same goes for when a whole data center goes down, another data center can take over the service so that there will be no disruption.
Other security and reliability practices that top VoIP providers employ include:
- Regular audits of data centers
- Support of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Advanced account management and administration
- Robust and secure networks
5. Check the VoIP plans and pricing of the vendor.
If you have noticed, plans and pricing are mentioned last. That is not a coincidence. Like with any commodity in this world, price should not be the first factor you look at when you’re looking for quality.
There may be lower-priced VoIP services, but their reliability and security can be questionable. There is also a reason top providers charge more for their service. The research and development they invest in to put out the best product is part of what you are paying for.
In this step, you should have a clearer picture of which VoIP providers meet most, if not all, of the items on your checklist.
Only after you have streamlined your list should you consider price. Of the providers on your list, which one gives you the best value for your money? From there, it is a matter of choosing which one will best solve your communications needs. That vendor should be your top choice.
6. Look for the leading VoIP provider in business communications
Another factor you should look at is the reputation of the VoIP provider you are evaluating for your organization. While it is difficult to separate valid reviews from spam reviews, it’s still worth investigating the general opinion people have about the company.
One thing you can look at is the number of subscribers. Generally, when a provider has a large number of users, it means they are trusted by their customers and the industry to provide reliable and secure service.
Another thing you can look at is the brands that trust the provider for their communications. Big brands do not just sign up for a service; they do their due diligence and get assurance that they will get a good return on investment.
If you are truly looking for the best provider, however, then you should go with an industry leader. RingCentral is the leading provider of not only VoIP but also unified communications as a service (UCaaS), which addresses multiple communications problems in one platform.
RingCentral also adapts to how your business operates. It has integrations with some of the most popular business apps like Salesforce®, Google Workspace, and Microsoft Office 365™. It also has open APIs that give you the power to add a communications component to your in-house apps.
It is the most complete solution in the market right now.
Why RingCentral is the best VoIP provider for business
“Voice over IP service providers” refers to companies that offer IP-based telephony either for residential or business customers. While residential VoIP is pretty straightforward with IP phones replacing regular landlines, VoIP for businesses is no longer just about providing a means to make and receive calls over the internet. Modern VoIP phone system companies are also competing in terms of who can give businesses the best communications experience.
As the industry leader in unified communications, RingCentral provides businesses with a VoIP-based business phone system and a central hub for all communications and collaboration. With it, you can make calls, send fax, live chat, and even start video conferences without having to switch from app to app.
Specially designed for businesses
Get unlimited phone calling and conference calling, toll-free minutes, personalized caller IDs, and other call features in a single communications platform. If you need more functionality like texting, faxing, and online meetings, you don't have to switch systems.
Simplified service setup
Deployment is a cinch. In fact, your company can get up and running in less than 24 hours. If you have to configure your phone system in response to business fluctuations, you can do so using your online account.
Enhanced mobility and flexibility
All you need is your business number to call, text, and fax on any mobile device. As for incoming calls, they are automatically routed to your device of choice.
No hardware necessary
Installation is done over the internet, eliminating the need for cables, physical boxes, and other expensive hardware. With just a few clicks, you can add or delete extensions.
Unmatched customer support
Count on RingCentral to guide you every step of the way. You can reach out to us any time for industry-standard technical support, consultations, and recommendations.
Comprehensive phone service plans
Leverage the most advanced communications platform for a single price--no separate bills for different advanced features. You get a full disclosure of all costs with your itemized monthly bills. And because there are no maintenance upgrades to worry about, costs are kept to a minimum.
The RingCentral difference: What you’ll get from our VoIP software
With top Voice over Internet features, you get more than just a virtual phone service
More than just a provider of Voice over IP services, RingCentral is also a complete cloud-based business phone system that helps your organization manage incoming calls through an auto attendant that automatically answers all calls and routes them to the right department or extension. Moreover, you can customize your answering rules based on your business hours. That way, calls answered during work hours are handled differently from calls that come in after closing time.
A unified communications platform allows for more flexible communication
RingCentral is also the provider of an industry-leading unified communications solution that combines different communication channels in one platform. Aside from making internet calls, users can also:
- Send and receive online fax messages electronically without the need for a fax machine
- Send and receive business SMS or MMS using your business phone numbers
- Host or join online meetings—including video conferences and teleconferences—from anywhere, on any device
- Collaborate anywhere through real-time messaging, file sharing, task management, and more.
Leaning towards hosted VoIP? Enjoy a customizable user experience
Hosted VoIP phone service providers like RingCentral develop their communications system with the end user in mind and allows for personalization to help them optimize how they use the service. This includes:
- Call screening: Allows users to screen, block, or send calls directly to voicemail
- Call forwarding: Allows users to forward calls to several phone numbers at once or in a user-specified sequence
- Presence: Lets others know if you are busy or on a call
- Hold music: Play music or messages while the caller is on hold
International calling has never been more affordable and convenient
Enjoy lower international call rates compared to local carriers. Save on long-distance international calls through RingCentral. The company offers international call rates that are lower than what regular telecom carriers offer. Please note that you may have to call customer service to activate the international calling feature.
Go global with your business VoIP phone system
Free your business from traditional geographic borders. Build a presence from anywhere in the world while uniting your global workforce on the same secure communications platform. Activate international phone numbers instantly from over 80 countries and add more as you need them. No need to make long-distance international calls when you can make and receive calls like a local, even if you don’t have a physical office in that country.
Get virtual extensions with no boundaries
Even if your workforce and locations are scattered globally, all your staff are united under one business phone system. Each armed with their own virtual extension, they can be reached from anywhere in the world. The best part is that all internal calls between these extensions are free, which significantly reduces your international calling charges.
VoIP functionality and other premium features from within your computer
Access RingCentral through your PC or Mac®computer. Turn your PC or Mac into your own communications hub. By installing the RingCentral unified communications app, you turn your computer into your business phone, which you can use to make and receive calls via the internet. In addition, you can also send internet fax and business SMS or join and host a video conference call straight from your computer.
With hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange), you can make VoIP calls from anywhere using your mobile device
Do not be confined to your office. Discover opportunities outside the traditional workplace by bringing your VoIP phone system with you anywhere you go. The technology makes sense whether you intend to build an in-house call center or a remote team. Download the RingCentral unified app for mobile and be able to do anything that you can do from your desk IP phone or desktop app through your Android™ or iOS® device.
The search for the world’s easiest meetings platform is over.
Our opportunities for connection have increased 5x, and in a mere 14 months we’ve achieved ROI of 35% cost savings with RingCentral.
Since we replaced the landline phones across our locations with RingCentral, we’re already seeing a cost saving of 20%.
RingCentral has dramatically improved our efficiency and customer service. We’ve added 10% to our bottom line, easily, and reduced employee stress levels!
RingCentral Business Communications plans for your small business
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About VoIP Providers
By itself, VoIP is not a secure service. The data it transmits passes through the internet, which is a public network. This makes said data susceptible to interception or breach, especially during transmissions.
However, security measures can be deployed to protect data during VoIP calls.
One of the most effective security measures employed by top providers is strong high-level encryption. Encryption refers to the process by which data, in this case, voice calls, are converted from the original form to an encoded version that can only be decoded via a decryption key. It is the most important measure in securing data for end-to-end transmissions across IP networks.
Yes. Over time, VoIP calling is significantly cheaper than the standard phone bill for network calls on an analog phone. VoIP providers offer very low rates for international calling. With RingCentral, each country has different international calling charges, so you’ll need to check the rates before you start calling.
Yes. This is called number porting, and it’s the process of transferring your phone number from your current phone service provider to your new one. Most service providers allow you to port your old number over to your new plan.
With RingCentral, it’s straightforward.
Simply log in to your RingCentral online account as an administrator, navigate to phone system > phone numbers > transferred > transfer numbers.
The price of VoIP plans varies depending on your business VoIP provider and the particular service package you choose. RingCentral MVP plans start at just $19.99 per user per month for messages and phone calls. For more features, check out our standard, premium, and ultimate plans.
The best VoIP providers have a responsibility to provide their customer base a reliable, secure, flexible, and scalable VoIP solutions. If any of these qualities are not present, then these providers are far from being the best.
There are many providers that claim to be the best, but you can’t simply take their word for it. What RingCentral can offer your business is a reliable solution with 99.999% SLA that is supported by redundant architecture housed in bi-coastal data centers. RingCentral also employs a combination of different high-level security measures and best practices to keep the VoIP-based communications solution secure.
RingCentral is also an industry leader in unified communications as a service (UCaaS) where users are not only able to make and receive calls, but also fax, text, chat, and join video conferences from one platform The best part is that the solution itself adjusts to the needs of your business. Whether you need VoIP providers for small businesses or VoIP providers for enterprises with contact centers, RingCentral has flexible pricing and features that work for your company.
How to recognize a good VoIP provider for business
The adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol changed the way businesses communicate. No longer shackled by old and on-premises systems that are going obsolete, organizations are now able to achieve flexible and mobile communications without the high phone bill.
But with the rise of business VoIP comes the emergence of multiple business phone providers trying to get a piece of the growing revenue pie. As a result, it has become more difficult for businesses to recognize which VoIP companies are reputable and which ones will only give headaches and poor service.
To help you out, here are some things you should look out for to determine if a VoIP provider will be good for your business:
Quality of VoIP service
VoIP can only be a viable option for your business if it can provide similar or better voice quality compared to regular landlines. But how do you test it without signing up for the service?
Most of the best VoIP providers have a means of showing customers the type of call quality they will experience using their current broadband connection. For example, RingCentral has a QoS speed test page where you can simulate multiple VoIP calls to see how many your network can handle before the quality degrades.
It is a helpful feature that not only shows the quality of call you will be getting, but also the capacity of your current network.
Reliability of phone service
Another question about Voice over IP is its reliability compared to landlines. Find out what measures are taken by the provider to ensure that the phone service will have minimal to no downtime.
RingCentral, for example, hosts its system in multiple data centers across multiple locations. This ensures redundancy so that if a server or a whole data center encounters some issue, other servers or data centers can take over. This makes it so that there is no disruption of service. Keep in mind that the best VoIP system is the most reliable one in the market.
Security of VoIP and the whole phone system
Your voice and other important data will be traveling the public internet during a VoIP transmission. A good vendor will have tight security measures and policies in place to ensure it gives users access to VoIP technology while protecting their phone system from any security breach.
RingCentral employs several security measures and policies, which include high-level encryption that protects VoIP calls during transmission and when at rest. It also conducts regular data center audits and employs multi-factor authentication and Single Sign-on for additional account protection.
Trusted by customers
Truly good business VoIP service providers are beloved by their customer base, which makes this a true indicator of whether a VoIP company is reputable or not.
Check out reviews, but take some of them with a grain of salt because these can be manipulated either by the company itself or by its competitors. Keep it simple by looking at their number of subscribers.
As a case in point, RingCentral is trusted by more than 350,000 companies worldwide, including some of the most popular brands in the market.
Peer-recognized business VoIP provider
The best providers are recognized by its peers. RingCentral, for one, is recognized by several respected organizations including the following:
- RingCentral is a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide.
- RingCentral has been ranked #1 in Omdia’s 2020 North American Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) Scorecard.
Accolades like these show that a provider is reputable and has a history of providing good service. RingCentral certainly fulfills each criterion.
Best VoIP - Choosing the best VoIP provider based on your business communications needs
Even if you have whittled your list down to the most reputable Voice over IP providers, choosing the right one for your business is still difficult.
Unlike consumer apps that you can just uninstall if you are not happy with them, business VoIP phone systems have to be implemented organization-wide before you can see if the service works for your needs or not.
Even then, it may take months (or even years) to decide whether you want to keep it or go for another provider.
That is why it is important that you make the right decision on the first try.