Best business VoIP providers for small businesses & beyond

Customers still like phones

With the proliferation of social media messaging, video conferencing, text messaging, and more, you’d think phone conversations were a relic of a time long past.

But even today’s highly connected customers still like to resolve their issues in a phone conversation, particularly when it comes to high-stakes queries.

The analog phone system is a relic of the past, not the phone itself. Yet it wasn’t long ago that analog phone systems were the only game in town. As a result, many organizations still rely on analog phones, despite their higher operating costs, more expensive implementations, and reliance on hardware.

Fortunately, switching to a VoIP phone service is simple and easy for businesses both large and small. But finding and selecting the right service provider among the many options can be challenging.

In this guide, we’ll conduct an in-depth overview of VoIP phone service options and review the following topics:

What is a business VoIP system?

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a technology that enables you to make calls using a broadband internet connection rather than an analog phone line. VoIP solutions are flexible, customizable, and more cost-effective than traditional phone lines.

VoIP phone services are hosted online and users access them through an app on their internet-connected desktop or mobile device. A VoIP business phone system leverages the internet to handle incoming and outgoing phone calls. With VoIP, when you make a phone call, the VoIP app sends a signal to the VoIP servers, which routes the signal to the recipient of your phone call. The same process occurs when you want to transfer a call or put a caller on hold.

The best VoIP providers summary

Software

Starting price
(/user/month)

Free trial/plan

Key Features

Zendesk

$49

Free trial

  • Group, overflow, and after-hours call routing
  • Failover call forwarding
  • Customizable greetings
  • Queue size and wait time
  • Call recording
  • Mute, hold, and warm transfer
  • Business hour settings
  • Conferencing
  • IVR
  • Request a callback
  • Call monitoring and barging
  • Call quality notifications
  • Local and toll-free numbers
Talkdesk

$75

N/A

  • Call routing and IVR
  • Unlimited call recording storage
  • Automation builder
  • API access
  • 60+ integrations
RingCentral MVP

$29

Free trial

  • Business phone numbers in 100+ countries
  • Toll-free numbers
  • Voicemail-to-text and voicemail-to-email
  • Call log reports
  • On-demand call recording
8×8

$15

Free trial

  • Unlimited calling (US and Canada)
  • Intelligent call routing
  • Custom hold music
  • Meeting recording & transcription
  • Auto-attendant
Nextiva

$18.95

Free trial

  • Unlimited calling in the US/CA
  • Call recording
  • Real-time analytics
  • Integrations
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Voicemail transcription
GoToConnect

$13.95

Free trial

  • Smart call routing
  • Unlimited extensions
  • Voicemail to email
  • International calling
  • Inbound and outbound call monitoring
  • Local, toll-free & vanity numbers
Mitel

Not available

N/A

  • PBX features
  • Screen and file sharing
  • Dynamic extensions
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call routing
  • Enhanced call screening
AirCall

$30

Free trial

  • IVR
  • Call queuing
  • Mandatory call tagging
  • Flexible call distribution rules
  • Shared call inbox
  • Call recording
Dialpad

$15

Free trial

  • Call forwarding, transfer, hold, and mute
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Unlimited calling, SMS, & MMS
  • AI-powered call and voicemail transcriptions
  • Local number support in 70+ countries
  • CRM integrations
Five9

$149 per month

N/A

  • Omnichannel routing
  • Outbound dialer
  • Intelligent virtual assistant
  • Workflow automation
  • Call recording
  • Predictive dialing
Vonage

$19.99

N/A

  • Mobile and desktop apps
  • Call transfer, hold, and call forwarding
  • Visual voicemail
  • Call logging
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Call queue management
  • On-demand call recording
Webex Calling by Cisco

$25

Free plan

  • Advanced calling features, including call history, forwarding, muting, etc.
  • 24-hour meeting length limit
  • Breakout rooms
  • Live polling
  • Auto attendant phone menu
  • End-to-end encryption
CloudTalk Voice

$25

Free trial

  • Advanced analytics
  • Unlimited inbound and intracompany calls
  • Workflow automation
  • Predictive Dialer
  • International numbers for 140+ countries
  • Call Monitoring (Call Barging, Call Whispering)
  • Real-time dashboard
CallRail Lead Center

$50 per month

Free trial

  • Custom call tagging
  • Call scoring
  • Keyword-level attribution
  • Online and offline call tracking
  • Call forwarding
  • Dynamic number insertion (DNI)
Ooma Office

$19.95

N/A

  • Ring groups
  • Extension dialing
  • Call log
  • Call blocking and forwarding
  • Call queuing
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Call recording
Zoom Phone

$10

N/A

  • Voicemail with text transcription
  • Metered outbound calling
  • Native mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Call takeover, monitoring, and whisper
  • Call recording
  • Phone extension number
Biitrix24

$61 per month

Free plan

  • Call back widget
  • Call routing, transfer, and forwarding
  • IVR
  • Automatic dialing
  • Call transcription
  • Call recording playback speed

17 best VoIP service reviews

1. Zendesk

Zendesk ticketing system

Stay flexible

Even small businesses can get the most out of Zendesk’s VoIP software. It helps support teams stay flexible and agile across any channel. With VoIP, it’s easy to add more team members without investing in additional equipment or extensive training. Agents using Zendesk can make phone calls directly from their browser, so they can work from home, the office, or anywhere in the world. It’s a win-win all around.

Reduce your costs

Pay only for the minutes that you use with Zendesk phone support software. This reduces overhead and expenses for your team, so your team can keep providing effective phone support without breaking the bank.

Unify conversations

Zendesk enables you and your teams to provide phone support from the same platform you use to manage your other support channels for a more connected customer experience. Handle calls, voicemails, and texts in the same space where you manage emails, chat, and social messaging. Agents can see all customer information and conversation history across channels right away.

Put information at agents’ fingertips

Zendesk’s software automatically creats tickets for most calls with all the relevant details at agents’ fingertips. You can upload your customer phone numbers into Zendesk so that agents know who is calling and can see any prior communication with that customer. When known customers call, the automatic screen pop-up includes vital customer information, so agents don’t need to spend time identifying the caller or asking repetitive questions.

Boost agent productivity with routing and queuing calls

Zendesk provides your team with the tools they need to deliver more efficient phone support. You can route callers to the right agent for the task using IVR, group routing, and overflow and after-hours routing. Set your maximum queue size and wait time, and allow callers to request a callback instead of holding. You can also limit call volumes and save your agents (and customers) time with greetings that provide answers to simple questions.

Monitor performance with analytics and reporting

Zendesk’s real-time dashboards make it easy to monitor your queue and agent activity and make in-the-moment decisions to relieve bottlenecks, reduce wait times, and ensure your customers are getting the help they need. And with overview metrics, such as max calls waiting, abandoned in queue, and average time to answer, you can take a deeper look into the health and efficiency of your phone support. Cross-channel reporting also lets you compare performance to messaging, email, chat, and other conversational experiences.

You can also use Zendesk to solicit customer satisfaction by sending follow-up emails after
each call. Not only will you be able to understand what’s working well when your agents help customers over the phone, but you’ll be able to compare CSAT scores across all your other channels.

Jumpstart your calls

Investing in Zendesk for your customer support is the quickest way to provide productive call center VoIP. Take calls immediately with a cloud-based voice solution that works right out of the box. You can also use what you already have and integrate your preferred call center solution into Zendesk with any of our 90+ telephony providers or build your own integration.

Customize to your business’s needs

Zendesk makes it easy to customize your phone support operations, no matter the size or complexity. You can extend voice capabilities with additional tools and services, including advanced call transcription and redaction and quality assurance capabilities.

Pricing

  • Suite Team: $49 per agent, per month
  • Suite Growth: $79 per agent, per month
  • Suite Professional: $99 per agent, per month

Free trial: 14 days

Features

  • Group, overflow, and after-hours call routing
  • Failover call forwarding
  • Customize greetings
  • Queue size and wait time
  • Call recording
  • Mute, hold, and warm transfer
  • Business hour settings
  • Conferencing
  • IVR
  • Request a callback
  • Call monitoring and barging
  • Call quality notifications
  • Local and toll-free numbers

2. Talkdesk

Talkdesk

Image credit

With Talkdesk’s versatile business VoIP system, you can do just about anything you’d want to do with VoIP for business. Talkdesk’s VoIP comes with many products, including Talkdesk Phone, designed for corporate offices, and their contact center software, CX Cloud, designed for outbound and inbound call centers.

Among many other features, you can use CX Cloud to report on agent call metrics, manage call queues, and intelligently route inbound calls. Since Talkdesk Phone isn’t designed for call centers, its functionality is more akin to a private business telephone network.

Pricing:

  • CX Essentials: $75 user/month
  • CX Elevate: $95 user/month
  • CX Elite: $125 user/month
  • Talkdesk Phone: Pricing not available

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • Call routing and IVR
  • Unlimited call recording storage
  • Automation builder
  • Real-time dashboards
  • Talkdesk Guardian
  • Screen recording
  • API access
  • 60+ integrations

Learn more about Zendesk for Talkdesk

3. RingCentral MVP

RingCentral MVP

Image credit

RingCentral MVP has a reasonable price and a deep set of VoIP features. Their lowest-tier plan, Essentials, supports up to 20 users and includes unlimited calls in the US and Canada and unlimited business texts. Essentials also include voicemail-to-text, team messaging, document sharing, and more.

The pricier plans, Premium and Ultimate, include more advanced features that appeal to enterprises, such as whisper, barge, and real-time analytics. But for most smaller businesses, RingCentral’s Standard plan can be a great fit.

Pricing

  • Essentials: $29.99 user/month
  • Standard: $37.99 user/month
  • Premium: $44.99 user/month
  • Ultimate: $59.99 user/month

Free trial: 14 days

Features

  • Business phone numbers in 100+ countries
  • Up to 24-hour meetings
  • Unlimited users
  • Real-time analytics
  • Toll-free numbers
  • Unlimited calling (US/Canada)
  • Unlimited audio conferencing
  • Voicemail-to-text and voicemail-to-email
  • Call log reports
  • On-demand call recording

Learn more about Zendesk for RingCentral

4. 8×8

8x8 Software

Image credit

8×8’s business VoIP service is a feature-rich solution with user-friendly apps for both desktop and mobile. However, many reviewers on GetVoIp have noted that in the rare cases they did require support with 8×8’s product, it was difficult to get prompt, helpful service. To use 8×8’s VoIP, you have two options depending on your needs.

The first option is to purchase one of their all-in-one communications plans, which include VoIP and are designed to act as a traditional phone system. If you also need more advanced features like skills-based routing, IVR, CRM integrations, and more, you’ll need to add one of 8×8’s contact center plans.

Pricing

  • Small business phone system: $15 user/month
  • All-in-one voice, video and chat: $24 user/month
  • Advanced call handling and analytics: $44 user/month

Free trial: 30 days

Features

  • Voice, video, and messaging
  • Unlimited calling (US and Canada)
  • Intelligent call routing
  • Voicemail
  • Custom hold music
  • Meeting recording & transcription
  • File sharing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Auto-attendant
  • Team messaging

Learn more about Zendesk for 8×8

5. Nextiva

Nextiva Software

Image credit

Nextiva’s VoIP phone services are fully cloud-based with 99.99 percent uptime. Video conferencing and messaging are bundled with Nextiva’s VoIP to give you more ways to communicate. Nextiva also includes a handy drag-and-drop tool they call the Call Flow Builder to help you map out call routing flows.

In addition to its VoIP software, Nextiva also sells business VoIP phones. So you can consult with them if you want to purchase VoIP desk phones, cordless phones, adapters or any other VoIP hardware. Nextiva’s service comes in two different price tiers, Professional and Enterprise, both of which are available for a free trial.

Pricing

  • Essential: $18.95 user/month
  • Professional: $22.95 user/month
  • Enterprise: $32.95 user/month

Free trial: 7 days

Features

  • Unlimited calling in the US/CA
  • Unlimited business SMS
  • Call recording
  • Real-time analytics
  • Integrations
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Salesforce/HubSpot Integrations
  • Voicemail transcription

6. GoToConnect

GoToConnect Software

Image credit

GoToConnect is a hosted, cloud-based VoIP phone service. Using GoToConnect’s hosted VoIP, your business and employees can make calls from anywhere they have internet and access to your network on any device. GoToConnect is generally considered a reliable, well-known service.

This system is designed to make setting up and maintaining your phone system as easy as possible. For instance, through the Dial Plan Editor, GoToConnect users can map out call routes and schedules in a visual interface. Plus, even their most basic plans include chat and video conferencing.

Pricing

  • Basic: $24 user/month
  • Standard: $29 user/month
  • Premium: $39 user/month

Free trial: 14 days

Features

  • Existing number porting
  • Smart call routing
  • Call forwarding, ring groups, and call queues
  • Unlimited extensions
  • Voicemail to email
  • Audio conferencing
  • International calling
  • Inbound and outbound call monitoring
  • Local, toll-free & vanity numbers

Learn more about Zendesk for GoToConnect

7. Mitel

Mitel VOIP

Image credit

MiCloud Connect by Mitel is an all-in-one, cloud-based business phone system. In addition to traditional VoIP features like PBX, softphones, and advanced call controls, MiCloud includes conferencing, screen sharing, messaging, and more. And for cloud call center VoIP deployments, Mitel also has you covered with MiCloud Connect CX.

Whichever VoIP solution you chose, Mitel’s products all come with an intuitive desktop and mobile app. Also, since Mitel is built on Google Cloud, you could run a VoIP system that’s HIPAA compliant with reliability, VoIP security, and scalability.

Pricing not available

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • PBX features
  • Softphone
  • IP desk phone options
  • Conferencing
  • Screen and file sharing
  • Dynamic extensions
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call routing
  • Enhanced call screening

Learn more about Zendesk for Mitel

8. Aircall

Aircall Business VOIP

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A truly globally distributed workforce can stay connected using VoIP solutions like Aircall’s business phone system. Aircall supports phone numbers in more than 100 countries and makes it super easy to add new team members and departments. In addition to its basic VoIP functionality, Aircall offers features like call tracking and popular app integrations.

Plus, you can do anything you need to on your VoIP phone, including conference calls, call forwarding, call transferring, and more. And all plans from Aircall include a free trial of their unlimited inbound and outbound calling throughout Canada and the United States.

Pricing

  • Essentials: $30 user/month
  • Professional: $50 user/month

Free trial: 7 days

Features

  • IVR
  • Call queuing
  • Mandatory call tagging
  • Business hours
  • Ring groups
  • Advanced analytics and call monitoring
  • Flexible call distribution rules
  • Softphone for desktop, Android, iOS
  • Shared call inbox
  • Conferencing
  • Basic call analytics
  • Voicemail by email
  • Warm transfers
  • PowerDialer
  • Call recording

Learn more about Zendesk for Aircall

9. Dialpad

Dialpad

Image credit

Both small and large businesses may find Dialpad’s business VoIP phone service to be worthy of consideration. And fortunately, any Dialpad plan is available for a free trial. If you opt for the free trial, you’ll get an affordable alternative to a traditional PBX phone system with all the functionality you need for your business.

In addition to phone calls, you can use Dialpad VoIP service to conduct video conferences, send instant messages, and more in their easy-to-use desktop and mobile app. Plus, you and your team can always stay connected through Dialpad with features like call forwarding to mobile.

Pricing

  • Standard: $15 user/month
  • Pro: $25 user/month

Free trial: 14 days

Features

  • Call forwarding, transfer, hold, and mute
  • Custom voicemail greeting
  • Voicemail transcription
  • 24/7 phone support
  • Unlimited calling, SMS, & MMS
  • Ai-powered call and voicemail transcriptions
  • Local number support in 70+ countries
  • CRM integrations
  • 25 ring groups (departments)
  • Hold queues
  • API & webhooks
  • Google Workspace & Microsoft 365 integrations
  • Unlimited video meetings

Learn more about Zendesk for Dialpad

10. Five9

Five9

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Five9’s VoIP for businesses removes long-distance fees and reduces operating costs. Five9 is flexible enough to meet your needs whether you’re looking for VoIP to power your simple business phone system or if you need VoIP for your inbound and outbound call center.

However, its plans are geared towards users looking for VoIP for their contact center. Five9’s software allows customers to use its existing equipment to set up its VoIP service. So if you have landlines currently, you’ll need a VoIP adapter. But if you plan to rely on your computers, that works too.

Pricing

  • Core: $149 per month
  • Premium: $169 per month
  • Optimum: $199 per month
  • Ultimate: $229 per month

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • Omnichannel routing
  • Outbound dialer
  • Intelligent virtual assistant
  • Real-time and historical dashboards
  • Workflow automation
  • Call recording
  • Web call back
  • Predictive dialing

Learn more about Zendesk for Five9

11. Vonage

Vonage

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Business VoIP service from Vonage is an option for small businesses and international enterprises looking for business phone service. In addition to its VoIP phone service, Vonage also provides a wide range of physical business phones. And, like many other options on this list, Vonage offers much more than just VoIP phone services.

Call tagging, call monitoring, messaging, and CRM integrations all come with Vonage’s business VoIP service. It’s also worth noting that Vonage is especially well-suited for companies already using Microsoft Teams, thanks to its tight integration with Teams.

Pricing

  • Mobile: $19.99 per month, per line
  • Premium: $29.99 per month, per line
  • Advanced: $39.99 per month, per line

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • Mobile and desktop apps
  • Call transfer, hold, and call forwarding
  • Visual voicemail
  • Paging and calling groups
  • Call logging
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Unlimited meetings for up to 100 participants
  • Call waiting
  • Call queue management
  • On-demand call recording

Learn more about Zendesk for Vonage

12. Webex Calling by Cisco

Webex Calling by Cisco

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Webex Calling by Cisco specializes in cloud-based calling. All your VoIP calling feature needs are met with Webex, including merging calls, visual voicemail, do not disturb, call forwarding, and more. However, for companies seeking a simple solution, Webex is not it.

Along with their solid base of business-class VoIP, Webex by Cisco includes support for meetings, screen sharing, chat, and interactive whiteboard. And even the basic Call plan includes unlimited local and domestic long-distance and international long-distance calls billed per minute.

Pricing

  • Basic: $0
  • Meet + Call: $25 user/month

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • Extensions
  • Advanced calling features, including call history, forwarding, muting, etc.
  • Unlimited messaging
  • 24-hour meeting length limit
  • Breakout room
  • Local and 10GB cloud storage for call recordings
  • Live polling
  • Screen sharing
  • Auto attendant phone menu
  • End-to-end encryption
  • HIPAA and BAA compliance
  • Chat and call-in support

Learn more about Zendesk for Webex

13. CloudTalk Voice

CloudTalk Voice

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CloudTalk Voice is an intuitive VoIP solution meant to help you connect your employees, departments, and branches. On top of that easy phone connection throughout your organization, CloudTalk can help you monitor customer calls, reduce ongoing phone costs, and manage your phone system.

You can use CloudTalk’s business VoIP in their call center software to support inbound and outbound calling. In either case, unless you choose to change devices, you can set up CloudTalk with the computers and smartphones you already use.

Pricing

  • Starter: $25 user/month
  • Essential: $30 user/month
  • Expert: $50 user/month

Free trial: 14 days

Features

  • Advanced analytics
  • Unlimited inbound and intracompany calls
  • Mobile app
  • Smart queueing
  • Click to call
  • Predictive Dialer
  • International numbers for 140+ countries
  • SMS
  • Speech to text
  • Call monitoring, barging, and whispering
  • Workflow automation
  • Skill-based routing
  • Open API
  • Real-time dashboard

Learn more about Zendesk for CloudTalk

14. CallRail Lead Center

CallRail Lead Center

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CallRail is unique among the options on this list in that its VoIP functionality is mainly aimed at salespeople. To that end, CallRail is all about boosting sales results by providing comprehensive solutions designed for inbound and outbound calls and text messages. In addition to its VoIP service, CallRail offers features such as keyword-level attribution, customer reporting, and email summary reports.

Pricing

  • Call Tracking: $50 per month
  • Conversation Analytics: $95 per month

Free trial: 14 days

Features

  • Up to 40 local numbers
  • 10,000 Transcription Minutes
  • Custom call tagging
  • Call scoring
  • GMB, Facebook, Google & Microsoft Ads integrations
  • Keyword-level attribution
  • Online and offline call tracking
  • Call forwarding
  • Unlimited SMS Text Messages
  • Dynamic number insertion (DNI)

15. Ooma Office

Ooma Office

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For a small business looking to adopt their first business class VoIP phone service without signing a lengthy contract, Ooma Office is worth a look. Ooma is easy to use, but not as feature-rich as other, more sophisticated solutions..

Still, with all the must-have features you’d expect of a cloud-based PBX, Ooma Office remains an option for some SMBs. To make transitioning from analog phones even easier, Ooma’s VoIP can also support traditional phones. And while Ooma provides their own VoIP phones, you can also bring your own.

Pricing

  • Essentials: $19.95 user/month
  • Ooma Office Pro: $24.95 user/month
  • Pro Plus: $29.95 user/month

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • Ring groups
  • Extension dialing
  • Call log
  • Call blocking and forwarding
  • Mobile app
  • Voicemail
  • Call queuing
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Google and Office 365 integrations
  • Videoconferencing
  • Call recording
  • Salesforce integration

16. Zoom Phone

Zoom Phone

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Zoom, the popular video conferencing app, also provides VoIP service for businesses. Its VoIP, called Zoom Phone, comes with robust features, including call routing, call forwarding, conference bridges, call recording, and virtual extensions.

Zoom Phone is cloud-based, and in addition to its VoIP service, the software includes video and chat communications, all unified in a single platform. On top of that, you can equip your team with the most up-to-date devices at a fixed monthly price through Zoom Phone Hardware as a Service.

Pricing

  • Pay As You Go: $10 per month/user
  • Unlimited Regional Calling: $15 per month/user
  • Pro Global Select: $20 per month/user

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • Voicemail with text transcription
  • Metered outbound calling
  • Toll-free numbers
  • Native Windows, MacOS and Linux desktop apps
  • Native mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Call takeover, monitoring, and whisper
  • Call recording
  • Chat
  • Phone extension number
  • Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft, and Google integrations

Learn more about Zendesk for Zoom Phone

17. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 business VOIP

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Since Bitrix24’s business VoIP service can work in both a contact center (inbound and outbound) and your internal business phone system, it’s a versatile solution that small businesses can use to get up and running quickly. And since it’s more than just VoIP, you can use Bitrix24 to consolidate other communication channels as well in this all-in-one solution.

If you end up liking Bitrix24’s VoIP, they have other tools for you to try including a CRM, project management tools, and a website builder. Bitrix24 also offers a free plan to try out its solution.

Pricing

  • Basic: $61 per month for 5 users
  • Standard: $124 per month for 50 users
  • Professional: $249 per month for unlimited users

Free trial: Not available

Features

  • HD video calls
  • Call back widget
  • Business hours setting
  • Call routing, transfer, and forwarding
  • IVR
  • Automatic dialing
  • Call transcription
  • Call recording playback speed

What are the features of VoIP systems for businesses?

Landline-based systems pale in comparison to even the most simple, small business VoIP systems. In the sections below, you’ll find quick summaries of several essential features of VoIP systems.

Automatic call distribution (ACD) and interactive voice response (IVR)

ACD, which stands for automatic call distribution, is a fundamental feature in any business VoIP system. ACD is a VoIP feature that distributes or routes phone calls according to predetermined rules that the business can customize to its needs.

ACDs often work in conjunction with interactive voice response, or IVR. IVR is the feature that greets callers with a list of options that they can choose from to connect to the desired extension, department, or agent.

In many cases, small businesses may not need IVR. IVR is more of a necessity for larger enterprises with several call centers or departments to which calls must be routed. But ACD is critical regardless of your business size because it makes your organization more efficient.

Call routing and call forwarding

The meat and potatoes of ACD is call routing; ACD uses preset rules defined by the business to determine what department or person to route the call. Call routing may be based on the phone number the caller dialed, the caller’s phone number, agent availability, time of day, and other factors.

You can think of call forwarding as a subtype of call routing. Call forwarding automatically sends an incoming call to another number if the first one dialed is unavailable. For example, if your main line is busy, call forwarding sends the call to a secondary line.

Well-designed interactive voice responses (IVR) menus (also known as phone trees) not only make your business feel more established but can also provide recordings to deflect common questions. If you know that many customers call in to ask for opening hours, a pre-recorded greeting at the start of the IVR will allow your customers to self-serve on the phone, saving them (and your agents) time.

Call monitoring

Call monitoring is an important feature for any business that wants to improve the quality of customer service it provides. Call monitoring features enable managers and agents to listen in asynchronously or in real-time to a phone call. Call monitoring solutions may also include features like call whispering, which allows a manager or senior agent to coach an agent without being heard by the customer. In short, call monitoring exists to help organizations improve call quality and agent training.

Business text messaging

In Zendesk’s 2022 CX Trends Report, 93 percent of customers said they’d spend more with a company that offers them their preferred communication channel. And 7 out of 10 consumers would like to message a business. Research has shown that messaging can reduce contact center costs due to higher agent occupancy, a result of the asynchronous nature of messaging, and the brevity of conversations. So for small, medium, and large businesses alike, business text messaging is a key feature of any VOIP solution.

App and software integrations

One of VoIP’s biggest advantages, regardless of what you’re using it for, is that it’s a digital service. Unlike landline-based systems, it’s much easier to integrate VoIP-based phone systems with the apps and software you already use because it’s a digital service.

Suppose you choose to integrate your CRM with your VoIP system. This enables you to compile the caller’s information in a useful dashboard the answering agent can rely on while chatting with the caller. Of course, CRMs aren’t the only tools you can integrate with your VoIP system. For instance, with Zendesk’s VoIP service, you can choose from a marketplace of hundreds of apps to integrate with your system.

The benefits of using VoIP for business

VoIP software benefits businesses of all sizes, especially for small companies that want to save costs while effectively managing their phone operations. It prevents your business from having to worry about investing in any hardware or equipment, and it’s easy to make changes—like adding phone numbers, more agents, and changing routing and configuration.

Here are a few of the most powerful benefits that VoIP services provide for your business:

Get started fast with phone support

Not long ago, small business VoIP was seen as an oxymoron, thanks partly to the complication of setting up VoIP. But the rise of software as a service has changed all that. Unlike landline-based phone systems, you can have VoIP operational in less than a day. Once you’ve chosen a VoIP provider, all you have to do is choose a phone number, add users, and your agents can start making calls.

Of course, you may need some additional time to configure the software to your liking and integrate it with other apps. But with the right VoIP service, you can use your existing equipment, unless you want to upgrade or add new equipment.

Run your telecommunications from anywhere

Whether you’re considering VoIP for your call center or your internal phone system, it’ll enable your staff to use the system from anywhere there’s internet access. In fact, many organizations use VoIP service to run their call centers completely remotely. Yet VoIP is also flexible enough to accommodate on-site and hybrid workforce setups.

And since most VoIP services come with a mobile app, your employees can use your phone system on their mobile devices too.

Easy, quick, and affordable to adapt to a changing business

Neither enterprise-level nor small business VoIP systems are hardware-dependent. And you can upgrade your plan to access more sophisticated features at any time. Both of these factors make it easy and quick to make changes to your phone system on-demand.

For example, suppose you have two people in your office who regularly make and receive calls. With a landline system, you’ll need two phone lines, two phone numbers, and two phones connected to those lines. If you hire a new person, you’d need to install an additional line, buy an additional phone, and set up another phone number.

If you take the same scenario but use VoIP service instead, you need neither an additional line nor an additional phone. You can simply add a new user to your VoIP system, purchase a new phone number, and you’re up and running. Your new agent can make calls from any internet-connected device.

Small business VoIP considerations

Affordability

While budget certainly matters to large enterprises, they typically have more financial flexibility. For small businesses, budget-friendly technology—or at least technology that quickly shows a return on investment—is a necessity. And VoIP fits the bill in both respects. Not only is small business VoIP more affordable than traditional phone systems, but it’s also quicker and less expensive to set up.

Flexibility

For small businesses, change is constant. New product lines, changing market conditions, and other initiatives can affect what you need from your phone systems. Fortunately, small business VoIP is flexible, especially compared to traditional systems. While flexibility may vary from provider to provider, you can add and remove lines and features depending on your needs.

Quality

VoIP often results in improved sound quality, but one major consideration for small businesses is how to manage network traffic. Since the internet bandwidth you use for VoIP is also used for regular business internet use, you’ll need to ensure you have sufficient speed and capacity for VoIP and other typical internet use cases.

How to choose a business VoIP provider

Between features, cost structure, and dozens of other criteria, it’s easy to feel lost when choosing the best VoIP provider. To dial in your selection process, prioritize these criteria when you evaluate possible solutions.

Current fit and future scalability

It’s natural (and often smart) to focus on how a potential tool is going to help your business here and now. And while it’s important to select a VoIP business service provider that fits your current needs, you also want to consider the future. So as you research VoIP solutions, make sure you’re thinking through how you can upgrade or alter the solution to meet your needs in the future.

A case in point is Ooma Office, popular for SMBs aiming to get up and running quickly with VoIP. Yet while Ooma is great for getting started, its lack of features may stymy progress for a growing company.

Quality of service and cost structure

For business-class VoIP, quality of service comes down to features and uptime. So before you even start looking at solutions, make sure you understand what features you need now and what you might need in the future. Then, grade each solution based on how well they meet your feature needs. In most cases, VoIP providers will publish their uptime, so you can grab that figure and include it in your evaluation.

Be sure to balance that with the cost of your VoIP service. And unfortunately, determining the true cost of a VoIP service takes some doing. In addition to the package price for your VoIP service, make sure you also understand your provider’s usage-based pricing. Depending on the provider and your use case, different cost structures can result in wildly different prices.

Ease of implementation and customer service

Another cost that doesn’t always appear on your expense reports is the labor and time cost of VoIP service implementation and ongoing maintenance. But while it might not show up on paper, this cost will be felt. This makes it key to prioritize a VoIP phone service that can show its value quickly. Long, costly implementations are a quick way to erode faith in your organization that your new solution is worth it.

Business VoIP FAQs

Is VoIP worth it for a small business?

Businesses of any size can benefit from a VoIP service. VoIP is more cost-effective than an analog phone plan and removes the need for you to worry about investing in any hardware or equipment. It’s easy to make changes. You can easily add new phone numbers, add and remove agents, and change call routing and configuration.

What are the disadvantages of VoIP?

The disadvantages of VoIP stem from the fact that it relies on the internet to transport messages. Unlike landline-based phone calls, VoIP calls rely on internet bandwidth. Call quality may be less than optimal if bandwidth is lacking or internet speeds are slow.

Will a VoIP phone work anywhere?

According to the FCC, VoIP calls require a minimum download speed of fewer than 0.5 Mbps. Keep in mind, however, that your internet speed is affected by the number of requests being made. So if you often have, for example, one hundred agents making a VoIP call simultaneously, you’ll need an internet speed closer to 50 Mbps to support those calls.

Can a VoIP phone be hacked?

Any device that connects to the internet—printers, computers, smart TVs–can be hacked. That’s why finding a secure VoIP service provider is so important. There are measures that VoIP service providers take, such as encryption, that reduce the risk of a phone being hacked.

Can you keep your phone number if you switch to VoIP?

In general, you can keep your phone number if you switch to VoIP. However, there may be some limitations if you’re porting your number in a new area where the area code may change. To confirm you can keep your phone number, check with your VoIP service provider before you buy a plan.

Does VoIP require a special phone?

You can use a cordless phone with VoIP, but you’ll want to choose either a WiFi phone or a DECT phone. Of course, any internet-connected smartphone can work with business VoIP. Agents can also take or make phone calls directly from their computer, laptop, or tablet.

You can use VoIP without a computer if you have a smartphone or a VoIP-compatible cordless phone. Depending on the VoIP service and the robustness of their mobile app, there may be certain administrative configurations that you can only change on a computer.

You can use an analog desk phone with VoIP, but you’re going to need a VoIP adapter. The VoIP adapter plugs into your router or modem and translates the signal so you can use your traditional phone with VoIP.

Do VoIP phones work without the internet?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. So by definition, you can not use a VoIP phone without the internet. However, many VoIP providers will include failover protections that reroute calls during an internet outage to an alternate number or group of numbers.

Ready to try business VoIP service?

Anytime is a good time to say goodbye to your old analog phone system and say hello to business VoIP service. And you can get started with Zendesk’s VoIP service today. So what are you waiting for?

Zendesk’s VoIP is embedded in the industry-leading Zendesk ticketing system, which makes it the only phone support solution native to Zendesk. Try it today to start resolving issues faster, measure and improve phone support operations and internal communications, and deliver better customer and employee experiences across every channel.

Plus, Zendesk’s VoIP is easy to setup without engaging IT, hiring additional technicians, or managing new vendors.

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