8 Best IP Phone Systems for Small Businesses
8 Best IP Phone Systems for Small Businesses & How to Find One That’s Right for You
If you transitioned your business to a work–from–home module and switched to one of the IP phone systems for small business due to pandemic-caused lockdowns – or any other reason for that matter – you know how valuable it is to have a streamlined workflow in place.
And if you’re still considering making the switch, you are not alone.
By 2024, 74% of the new unified communications licences purchased by organizations will be cloud-based. In fact, total market revenue for unified business communications grew 25.1% and reached $11.5 billion in 2020.
It’s a booming market and this could be the best time to transition your business operations and contact centers to cloud.
A hassle-free transition to ensure your team is fully functional without damaging the customer experience is quite a challenge. Even more so when you need to switch to a cloud-based phone system.
If you’re wondering about the best IP phone systems for small business, read on to learn all about the best-in-class solutions. Plus, get actionable tips to find the system that best fits your needs.
Want to consult with an expert? Get in touch!
What Is an IP Phone System?
An IP phone system is a business solution that can replace traditional phone systems in your office. It uses Internet Protocol (IP) technologies to transmit phone calls within a private internet network.
It can be a private network in a single location or a virtual private network (VPN) that can be accessed from different locations to help you easily get in touch with your team members in remote locations or let customers reach your contact center, even if it’s located overseas.
IP phone systems are sometimes called IP PBX as well, referring to a private branch exchange (PBX) as a closed telephone network within a business, which employees share for internal, inbound and outbound phone calls.
You may have also come across the term VoIP phone systems. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.
IP and VoIP systems are often used as synonyms, but there are differences.
The main difference is this:
- VoIP uses a public internet network to place phone calls
- IP uses a private network to place phone calls
But VoIP phones can still manage PBXs off-site through cloud hosting, which eliminates the need for on-premise equipment.
You can easily switch from a traditional phone system to an IP phone system for your small business. If you don’t have a private network, you can use a public one and integrate a VoIP system with your current operations.
Why Does Your Business Need an IP Phone System?
Switching to an IP system can help you easily connect with remote sites or team members working from home.
An IP system can also help you:
- Lower billing and maintenance costs
- Set phone infrastructure in place
- Enhance the customer experience
- Streamline outdated workflows
- Eliminate communication barriers
- Improve interoffice collaboration
In the era of accelerated digital transformation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is exactly what you might need for better productivity, improved time management and task efficiency while your team works from home.
Collaboration is also essential to providing an excellent customer experience. In fact, the latest Adobe’s Digital Trends Report showed that “in organizations where stakeholders don’t share expertise, data and resources, customer experience can’t evolve at the speed of the market.”
Transitioning your business to a digital environment and operating from a cloud–based IP phone system can also be a good foundation for applying agile methodologies to your workflow. This can be a significant step in preparing your company for future success.
The same report showed that the right company infrastructure is in place at only 38% of the largest companies, while the majority of the businesses are held back by outdated workflows and internal barriers to communication and collaboration.
8 Best IP Phone Systems for Small Business
To help you find the best fit for your needs, go through our list of the top-performing IP phone systems for small businesses.
1. Avaya OneCloud UCaaS
If you’re about to switch your entire business to an IP phone system, Avaya OneCloud UCaaS could be the right solution for you.
What is UCaaS?
UCaaS stands for Unified Communications as a Service. It’s a cloud-based communications system that typically unifies enterprise telephony, audio and video meetings, web conferencing, unified messaging and other communication-based business processes into a single platform.
Avaya OneCloud UCaaS offers a simple, flexible IP phone system that enables your team to work from anywhere and collaborate across devices, touchpoints and modalities to thrive in a digital workplace.
Features include clear, reliable and secure calls, instant messages, team chat, web conferences, video, screen and app sharing, as well as a full spectrum of advanced unified communications (UC) solutions.
This can help you eliminate silos across your organization and fuse employee experience with customer experience with flexible subscription plans.
Mitel offers a VoIP phone system for small businesses, with an emphasis on businesses that operate mainly on mobile devices, to help them maintain continuity while managing a distributed workforce.
Its PBX phone system is called MiCloud Connect and it offers a variety of useful features, including a mobile app for on-the-go call handling, seamless integration across devices, real-time data management and call customization from a single screen to ensure calls are routed to the right place at the right time.
It comes within an easy-to-use and simple-to-manage platform with essential features for placing, accepting and managing calls, as well as with VPN integration, voicemail, call transfer and forwarding, participant management, phone routing assignment and synchronization.
MiCloud Connect is built on Google Cloud, so it offers industry-leading reliability, security and scalability, as well as HIPAA compliance.
It has also been awarded one of the Best Business Tools of 2019 by Newsweek for its communications, team collaboration and contact center solutions.
Twilio operates as a CCaaS, which is practically the same as UCaaS, but focused on delivering a unified platform for communication with customers, as it stands for Contact Center as a Service.
Twilio also offers various IP solutions for small businesses and enterprises from healthcare, financial, retail and eCommerce industries to streamline customer service, digital communications, business operations, workforce management and more.
Twilio’s key digital products include Twilio Flex, a cloud-based contact center platform, Twilio Frontline, a mobile app built for employees to grow and nurture customer relationships, and Twilio Marketing Campaigns, an email marketing tool specifically designed for Twilio users.
Besides the essential call features, Twilio offers instant messaging APIs, a programmable voice platform for orchestrated calls, live video application and session initiation protocol (SIP) trunks that replace landline in transferring calls, data and video.
If you need a better understanding of your customer’s needs, wants, previous purchases, interests and more, Twilio might be a good fit for you, as it recently acquired Segment, one of the leading customer data platforms.
In terms of business communication, RingCentral offers integrated office phone, video conferencing and messaging, team messages for remote collaboration, video meetings, new and improved mobile app and PhoneCloud, a VoIP system with more than 50 customizable features.
Some of the RingCentral PhoneCloud features include a business phone number that works on all devices, a quick phone setup, robust call extensions like shared lines, an auto receptionist, a single-click switch from desktop calls to mobile, automatic voicemail transcription, dynamic call routing and more.
In terms of customer service, RingCentral offers omnichannel collaborative contact center solutions, proactive outreach and sales systems, a digital engagement platform, powerful campaign diallers and compliance-supporting tools for internal, inbound and outbound communications.
With Ooma IP phone system for small business, you won’t be obliged by contracts and you can get your phone number transferred for free.
Ooma also offers more than 35 carefully curated features for small businesses to help you run your business from anywhere, smoothly.
Some of the features include Ooma Office Pro desktop app, a free mobile app, a customizable virtual receptionist, Ring Groups to ensure every call is answered, enhanced call blocking, multiple rings, call recording, a company directory, voicemail audio email attachments and more.
Plus, call features include unlimited calling in the US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, low international rates, access to 911 service and one free toll-free number with 500 minutes of inbound calls per month.
Nextiva has been rated the #1 business communications tool by US News and it certainly deserves a spot on our list of the best IP phone systems for small business.
It offers three different packages for three different purposes – Business Communication Suite, Customer Relationship Suite and team Collaboration Suite – each of them with a selected set of features including phone service, sales and service CRM, team collaboration, business analytics, surveys and live chat software.
With 99.9% uptime, Nextiva offers a reliable VoIP phone system. Features specifically designed for small businesses include call recording, online fax, auto attendant, call center, video conferencing and more.
Nextiva runs on the NextOS platform that can help your business build a solid communications ground for business growth and make a seamless transition to a digital environment with enhanced customer engagement.
Dialpad is providing small businesses with an enterprise-level communication system with advanced VoIP technology called WebRTC and Opus codec to cover a wide range of bandwidth. This means you can get high-definition clarity in every call, no matter where you’re calling from.
In addition to HD voice calls, Dialpad also offers automated call transcription, real-time call coaching and recording, call transferring, international calls and easy access to the business phone system on any device, at any location.
The team that built Google Voice stands behind Dialpad. This provider of AI-based business phone and contact center solutions recently raised $100 million in funding, which only means further development of its products and the advancement of user experience.
8×8 provides VoIP products including cloud-based voice calls, contact center, video conferencing, mobile calls and unified communications for businesses of all sizes, from a wide range of industries.
As a small business owner, you can get a dedicated business number with unlimited nationwide calling, video conferencing and chat at affordable price. Plus, you can adjust your IP phone solution to your needs, whether you need it for sales, marketing, customer service, IT or any other team in your company.
By integrating all business communications into one platform, 8×8 offers rich features for voice calls, chat and video calls. It also provides contact center agents working from anywhere in the world with simple, reliable and well-integrated solutions for continuous improvement in customer support.
How to Find the Right IP Phone System for You
The right choice of an IP phone system for your small business will depend on various factors.
Some of the key points to keep in mind when deciding about transitioning to a unified communications system are:
- Your business needs
- Your business size
- Your network size
- Your budget
The next step is to determine which of the IP phone system providers can offer the best deal that matches your needs.
For example, if you run a small start-up and your team is spread out all over the world, but you don’t have a contact center set in place, you might consider a provider focused solely on voice calls, chat, email and video conferencing.
If you run a small to mid-size business and you plan to outsource the entire contact center offshore, you might want to consider a VoIP solution that will provide your team with a cost-effective, reliable, secure phone system, especially if they are working from home and you need to implement specific data security protocols as well.
If you’re not sure which direction to go in, you can set up a demo tour with several providers to make a decision after you’ve seen their offers tailored to your specific needs.
Setting up an IP phone system and transitioning to cloud-based unified communications for your entire team, as well as your customers, can be a daunting task.
That’s why we curated a list of the best IP phone systems for small businesses, to help you understand what these systems are, how they work and how to find the best provider for your company.
To sum it up, here are several benefits and key takeaways.
IP and VoIP phone systems can help you:
- Run your business from anywhere
- Streamline your workflow
- Collaborate across distributed teams
- Communicate better with your employees
- Offer excellent customers support from anywhere
- Analyze every call with automated recording and transcription
- Collect qualified feedback from team members and customers
- Actively engage your customers in real-time
As the IP, VoIP, UCaaS and CCaaS industry continues to grow, more and more businesses will switch to these platforms to support a wide range of business operations. So, the earlier you get on board, the sooner you’ll become prepared for the future success of your business.
Need help with finding the best IP phone system for you? Get in touch!