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Best Business Phone Systems 2017

Ooma Office is designed specifically for very small businesses. The system, which works for businesses with up to 20 employees, can be set up in minutes and requires no special wiring or phones. The system includes a variety of features that allow small offices to present themselves in a professional manner, such as an autoreceptionist, ring groups and a voicemail-to-email feature. In addition, the system is available as a virtual-only phone system for businesses that only want to use mobile phones.

RingCentral Professional is specifically designed for businesses with on-the-go employees. The service connects business phone lines to remote workers on their mobile and home phones. While other providers also offer this service, few do so with such a wide range of features — including a mobile app and the use of a “softphone” on the employee’s computer — for such a low cost.

ShoreTel’s phone system has all of the tools and features a business needs to run a professional call center. The system is available as an on-premise or cloud-based solution. The call center services, which are tacked on to ShoreTel’s regular business phone system, include a variety of call queue options, integrations with numerous CRM solutions and call recording. It also offers several valuable supervisor tools, including the ability to listen in on agent calls.

To determine the best business phone systems, we started by listing all of the vendors that have good reputations online (i.e., services that other websites favorably and consistently reviewed). Then, we interviewed small business owners to discover new systems to add to our list.

We ultimately settled on the following 19 phone systems to consider as best picks: 8×8, AT&T, Avaya, Booth, Cisco, Dialpad, ESI, Fonality, FreedomVoice, Grasshopper, Jive, Mitel, Nextiva, Ooma Office, Phone.com, RingCentral, ShoreTel, Toshiba and Vonage. (See full list of business phone systems and their websites below.)

Next, we researched each provider by investigating its services, watching tutorials and how-to videos, and reading user comments. We also contacted each company’s customer service department and posed as business owners to gauge the type of support each provider offered its users. Finally, we considered the pricing that was available on these services’ websites or what was quoted to us during customer service calls.

Our process involves putting ourselves in the mindset of a small business owner and gathering the data that would be readily available to such an individual. We perform all of our research by visiting company websites, making calls to customer service departments and interviewing real users.

We analyzed each system based on the following factors:

  • Deployment options
  • Level of service
  • Reliability
  • Customer service
  • Calling features
  • Collaboration tools
  • Mobility options
  • Cost

Here is a full list of business phone-system providers and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our picks for best services.

1-VoIp – This VoIP service provider offers different plans based on the number of users a business has. The smallest plan accommodates up to five employees, while the largest one supports up to 100 users. Plans include digital call forwarding, cellphone redirecting, extension monitoring, call parking, intercom service, call waiting, autoattendants, digital queues, custom on-hold music, voicemail, call recording and other features. 1-VoIP also offers SIP trunking services.

3CX – 3CX is the developer of a software-based and open-standards IP PBX, which replaces proprietary PBXs. With integrated WebRTC web conferencing, softphones for Mac and Windows, and smartphone clients for Android, iOS and Windows phones, 3CX offers companies a complete unified communications package.

*8×8 – 8×8 is a hosted VoIP-based phone system that includes personalized voicemail, three-way calling, caller ID, call waiting, transfers, call forwarding and chat. The system offers an online dashboard to manage communications, with call history, voicemail notification and calling from a PC. 8×8 also provides autoattendants, corporate directories, on-hold music, conference bridges and ring groups. In addition, the service’s mobile app allows staff members to manage their business communications from anywhere. Besides its traditional business phone systems, 8×8 also provides contact center services.

All Call Technologies – All Call Technologies is a virtual phone system. There is no equipment installed in your office and no changing of your current phone carrier. All Call Technologies’ virtual receptionist answers your calls with a professional greeting and gives callers the options they want. Outgoing greetings are professionally recorded and programmed to your specifications. The Backup Attendant service takes calls only when your office lines are busy or not answered, while the Auto Attendant service plays a menu greeting immediately when someone calls. In addition, an Entrepreneur and Partner plan provides one, central phone number with extensions to reach you, your partners and staff via cellphones.

Allworx – Allworx provides a complete portfolio of VoIP systems, IP phones, network switches and advanced software options. Allworx is available to small and medium-size businesses through a network of more than 1,000 independent resellers in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. The company also offers Windstream IP Simple, a managed monthly subscription service that combines Allworx with VoIP and data services from Windstream.

AT&T – AT&T Business in a Box is a VoIP solution for small businesses and satellite locations that provide the benefits of advanced voice and data technology, without the complexity of having to manage it. This solution enables voice and data services to work over a single network connection and device. The company also offers AT&T Unified Communications Voice, a cloud-based IP telephony solution that offers a range of voice features, as well as contact-center solutions.

Avaya – Avaya’s contact center and unified communications technologies and services are available in a variety of flexible on-premise and cloud-hosted options. Avaya’s Communicator lets employees access instant-messaging tools, voicemail, conferencing and video. The Avaya systems, which support up to 250,000 users, also offer mobile options that allow employees to access voice and video communications from mobile devices.

Axvoice – Axvoice is a cloud-based system for independent entrepreneurs, and single-office and home-office professionals. The service has more than 30 inbound and outbound calling features, including caller ID, caller ID blocking, music on hold, simultaneous ringing, do-not-disturb options, call filtering and anonymous call rejection. In addition, the system allows employees to manage their voicemails via the web.

Birch – Birch’s TotalCloud PBX is a cloud-hosted phone system that supports your entire workforce. With this system, you can transfer callers, put them on hold with music, set up conference calls or have the phone answered by an automated attendant who can direct callers to different departments. TotalCloud PBX allows you to route callers around the way you do business.

Booth – Booth is a virtual phone system that allows you to run your business through your cell phone. Booth works by creating call rules that allow you to route calls based around time of day, who’s calling, or through an integrations platform. Through the integrations platform, you can connect with software that you already use, such as Google Calendar, and have calls sent to a voicemail, or a colleague, when you are in a meeting, or to your cell phone when you’re available. Booth’s other features include autoattendants and business hour rules, among others.

BroadConnect – BroadConnect is a business VoIP service provider that has many advanced features, such as video and audio conferencing, mobility, custom IVRs, voice broadcasting and call analytics. The company offers a variety of types of phone systems for businesses of all sizes, including hosted PBX, SIP trunking and call center solutions.