Every growing business will require and depend on phone systems at some point in time. Basically, phone systems will manage your business’s numbers and menu systems. Most importantly, it will route calls to the right person.
In a corporate-grade business, the phone system is an essential tool to ensure smooth daily operation. In most cases, every staff has their own desk phone in their offices. However, this kind of phone system is slowly becoming impractical with today’s technology. A perfect example is by having to work remotely or doing fieldwork that requires you to be out of your office on a daily basis. How will you then answer calls from your desk phone?
Smartphones have become great tools to address this issue. In most cases, smartphones are used as personal phones to get in contact with the person no matter where he/she be. With smartphones, phone functionality became an app instead along with its other functions. So how can smartphones be used as integration to phone systems for various business sizes?
Virtual Business Phone Systems
Decades ago, businesses that have a concrete plan to grow often start out by acquiring a landline phone with a dedicated business number. The landline phone is then often shared by all the staff and results in call queuing. Some businesses rely on cell phones or smartphones which also works great. Except for the fact that you can’t transfer a call, or prevent clients from calling a former employee.
Situations like this are often the reason that forces a company or business to purchase a traditional office phone system like those from Mitel or Ooma. With phone systems, businesses will acquire a dedicated phone server, a couple of desk phones, a system to route calls, and cables, a lot of cables. At an estimation, you will be looking at around $800 to $2,000 for a one-time payment for tools, depending on your business needs, and a monthly recurring fee of roughly around $20 for each phone line service.
What is a Virtual Phone System?
Virtual phone systems, on the other hand, replace all that equipment with an app. Instead of purchasing a bunch of desk phones, paying for a dedicated server, and routing equipment, virtual phone systems are managed and handled through the cloud and create a professional phone system through your cell phone or smartphone.
The most significant advantage of a virtual phone system is its lower setup cost and lower recurring monthly fees. Furthermore, it equips your business with a phone system that works anywhere you and your employees or staff may be.
The virtual phone system is a perfect and an ideal phone system for your business if you want to avoid costly desk phones set up and its limitation. It’s also a great system to have nowadays as we live in the era of smart devices such as Android smartphones and tablets.
Why Virtual Phone System? Advantages and Disadvantages
Virtual phone systems are very similar to Skype or Slack. Unlike wired phone systems that include a physical phone server, virtual phone systems will manage your business’s numbers and menu system that routes calls to the right contacts or individuals.
One of the main advantages of having a virtual phone system is that it eliminates the need for a desk phone for each employee. Instead, your staff will use a single app to make and receive calls to their work number from their personal or company-issued smartphone.
If in cases that an employee with an issued contact leaves the company, for example, a product lead manager, you can easily configure your virtual phone system to forward their number to someone else that still works for the company.
For call recording, the virtual phone system will usually let you listen on any calls being made through the system from the admin panel online. You can also route calls to other colleagues it’s usually quite easy to set that up.
Virtual phone systems have a lot more to offer but the degree of features and functionality will depend on which brand and service you will opt to. No matter what provider you decided to opt to, virtual phone system ensures that your company is equipped with a full stack of voice communications. It also ensures that your clients will never be left with a dead number.
Virtual phone systems aren’t perfect. It can route calls either over the internet or by standard phone network. In most cases, internet calls are not as reliable while cellular routed calls are not quite as stable and reliable as a traditional landline phone. Employee cost should also be kept in mind as work calls can use up their personal cell loads or data cap.
JoyofAndroid’s Take on Virtual Business Phone Systems
On the brighter side of things, even with these downsides, virtual phone systems technically are the newest way to modernize your business’ phone system. It is also the perfect way to add a company number for a small to medium-sized business. The best of all? It only takes an hour or two to set things up properly.
The 4 Best Virtual Phone Systems
With the number of virtual phone systems that are available on the market, we tested 9 of the most popular ones that are available in the United States. The 9 systems we chose supports the use of Android smartphones. During our test, we sought those that are true to their promises and really provides convenience, functionality, ease of use, and value for money. With our criteria set, we narrowed our selection down to 4. This means that the other 5 systems that we have tested did not fit in our standard and are not worth recommending.
Last but not least, it’s worth noting that all of the phone system services included in our list have:
- no minimum user requirement
- includes a dedicated company phone number for free
- and only has a recurring monthly fee.
Additionally, the selected phone systems require each call to be initiated in either the service’s mobile or desktop apps. Unfortunately, there’s no support for making calls through web apps or browser apps.
1. Mitel – Starting at $20.99/user/mo.
Mitel, as one of the most popular phone systems provider, offers a comprehensive phone system that can serve almost all kinds of calling needs your business may require. it also offers impressive and flexible options in service plans. While most phone systems only offer either cloud-hosted or on-premises hosting, Mitel conveniently offers both.
Conveniently, Mitel gives you the power to either host the system in the cloud, eliminating any cost for maintenance or service upgrades, or to host the system on your business’s facility and premises. Giving you the total power control over how the system works.
You can start with Mitel with their 3 different plans that vary in price and included features. Mitel doesn’t require your staff or employee to be on the same plan which is quite nice for business owners and it can be cost-effective. Giving you the options to not pay for all features and tools for an employee who doesn’t need certain features and functionality.
Conveniently, Mitel is integrated with a number of CRM platforms, such as Salesforce, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and more. In addition to the built-in integrations, the system can also be configured to integrate with virtually any CRM. Which is very appealing and nice.
And the most important of all, Mitel offers a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices. With the app, your employees and staff can initiate and receive business calls, start a conference call, and check voicemail. Furthermore, the system also offers a “find me, follow me” feature. This feature basically forward calls based on the call-routing rules that users set themselves.
To learn more about Mitel’s virtual business phone system solutions, simply visit their website here.
2. Grasshopper – Starting at $29/num/mo.
If there’s one virtual phone system that we can highly recommend for small business that prefers to use Android smartphones, it’s gonna be Grasshopper. Grasshopper is specifically designed for businesses with on-the-go employees. It is an ideal solution for businesses in need of a virtual phone system.
If your business is looking for a phone system that allows your company and employees to present themselves professionally at all times, regardless of where their employees are working from, then Grasshopper virtual phone system is for you.
Basically, Grasshopper integrates your company’s phone lines to the smartphones and home phones of your remote workers.
Technically, each business/company gets its own dedicated phone number and extensions for each employee. So when a customer or client calls the main line, an automated attendant will greet the caller which then connects them to the employee that will handle the call. So instead of connecting the call to an office phone, the system sends the caller to the employee’s preferred phone device and this can be a mobile phone, home phone, or any other number.
Grasshopper gives your employees full control of where the callers are redirected. They can choose the numbers they want their calls forwarded to and the order in which those numbers are rung. From the caller’s perspective, the experience is exactly the same as calling a traditional phone system.
With Grasshopper, your employees and staff can other important functions and features such as the use of voicemail, voicemail-to-email, voicemail transcription, dial-by-name directory, call screening, online faxing, and business texting as well as the inclusion of on-hold music. When it comes to conference calls, each user can connect with up to 10 participants at a time.
With the mobile app, employees can make and receive calls on their business lines and send and receive business text messages as well. The app also helps in ensuring that personal calls/texts are separated from business calls/texts. Additionally, the app uses an internet connection to make and receive calls instead of cell reception.
To learn more about Grasshopper’s virtual business phone system solutions, simply visit their website here.
3. RingCentral – Starting at $29.99/user/mo.
RingCentral is one of the best phone systems provider for a business of all sizes. It’s basically a cloud-hosted VoIP unified communications system that is easy to install and use. It also has a vast array of calling functionality and mobile features.
The RingCentral mobile app routes all calls over to your employee’s phones. To make a call, launch the RingCentral application and use its built-in dialer or company directory to dial-out. With the app, all incoming calls will appear as notifications and can be picked up by simply swiping on the notification.
RingCentral also comes with a suite of useful intra-communication tools. Conference calls with other employees on your team can easily be done and useful for remote employees. What really sets RingCentral apart from competitors is its wide selection of features. Other than having:
- Virtual Receptionists
- on-hold music
- call forwarding
- message alerts
- and call answering rules implementation
there are just a few more available management features such as collaboration tools, conference bridge, as well as screen sharing.
To learn more about RingCentral’s virtual business phone system solutions, simply visit their website here.
4. AirCall – Starting at $30/user/mo.
AirCall is one of the best alternatives for virtual phone systems if Grasshopper doesn’t work for you. It is a virtual phone system built and designed specifically for sales and support teams. Incoming calls are handled by a robot like operator with time-based call routing to send each call to one of your employees who knows how to answer or handle the clients’ request, or to who is available to take the call.
Other than the included call tracking and analytic tools, AirCall also lets you view client call-in history, support tickets, and track performance using analytics. This will be a great tool to ensure your employees will be more effective when assisting clients.
Making calls using AirCall is easy and simple, you simply just have to launch the mobile or desktop application and use its dialer to place a call. Every call will be routed over the internet, eliminating any roaming charges or employee cost by consuming their personal phone minutes.
Last but not least, one of the coolest features of using AirCall is you get a dedicated business phone number in over 40 countries around the globe. The mainline of your company and single lines for each of your employee can be assigned to different numbers in various supported countries so your company can have a local and international presence around the globe.
To learn more about AirCall’s virtual business phone system solutions, simply visit their website here.
Ultimately, the 4 listed here for small business phone systems recommendation are just a few out of hundreds available across the globe. The ones that we recommended here are ideal for small businesses across all of the United States, most especially in Chicago and New York.
Phone System for Home Use: Panasonic KX-TG7875S
Additionally, if by chance that you’re looking for a phone system for home use, then we highly recommend Panasonic Bluetooth Cordless Phone KX-TG7875S Link2Cell. This cordless phone is ideal for a single-line phone that can be linked up to 2 smartphones via Bluetooth to make and receive cell calls anywhere in the house.
Panasonic Phone KX-TG7875S Link2Cell
The Panasonic KX-TG7875S Link2Call phone set includes 5 cordless phones with a digital answering machine system. This cordless phone system operates with a smartphone. Simply charge your smartphone through the USB port on the Panasonic base unit. Once connected, sync and pair the two devices via Bluetooth. Once paired, you can now make and receive cellular calls that are automatically routed through all your home phone handsets.
Its built-in digital answering machine feature allows you to get voice messages from the base unit at home or from your registered smartphone even if you’re not at home. Pretty cool right?
Relevant Questions People Ask About Phone Systems
How much does a business phone system cost?
The initial cost of acquiring a phone system that’s wired and traditional will be around $800 to $3,000 depending on the size of your business and needs. It also comes with recurring monthly fees starting at around $15 and up. Virtual phone systems, on the other hand, cost much less. In most cases, the only thing you need to worry about with virtual phone system is monthly fees.
Business phone system app for Android?
There are a number of business phone systems that supports the Android platform. A few of those are Mitel, Ooma, and Grasshopper (as we already mentioned above). You can easily find them on the Google Play store. However, to use them, you need to have a current on-going subscription with them.
How do small business phone systems work?
Phone systems, in general, work by having a centralized and organized business line that will let customer or clients connect to the right person when they dial-in your business number. Basically, it’s like having one dedicated number that will let you connect to different individuals within the company depending on the purpose of the call.
Phone System to Modernize Your Business
Business phone systems are designed to provide a more uniformed, organized, and centralized means of communication within your company or business. By having a phone system integrated into your business, not only you provide convenience to your clients and customers a way to get in touch with your business, but you also upgraded your business and company with smoother communication for a faster and more efficient daily process.
Ultimately, there’s really no best phone system on the market. The best one will solely depend on the needs of your business. We can say that the best ones are from Mitel but you will then later found out that Grasshopper provides the best one and fits your needs. So when it comes to choosing a phone system for your business, you need to analyze and ensure the requirements and necessity of the things that you need with a phone system. This will also ensure a cost-effective investment and prevent any unwanted extra cost to only find out that you don’t need some of the features that you already paid for.
So, have you already tried some of the phone systems we recommended here? Looking for a phone system for your small business that goes well with Android smartphones?
Do let us know in the comment section below!