Let's be honest: the phone is no longer a necessity for some businesses. Even if it is still a must, a traditional phone system (or even just an actual land line as we once knew them) are no longer the only options.
If you are looking for business phone number but are on-the-go a lot, or just do not make enough calls to warrant installing an actual office phone system, then a VoIP mobile app or call forwarding service is what you need.
We take a look at three popular options below and give you the info you need to decide which is right for your business.
Related Article: Hang It Up: Why You Should Get Rid Of Your Existing Phone System
1. Google Voice: A Great Option for A Single User
Google Voice, like most of Google’s products, is helpful and free. You set up a Google Voice number and then connect it to your other numbers (mobile, home, etc). You can use either your computer or your mobile phone, meaning you do not need a dedicated business phone line/device.
Other features include:
- Customize forwarding options
- Block caller option
- Text to email
When using the Google Voice App, you can receive and make calls using your Google Voice number.
The main drawback with Google Voice is that it is really only a good option for one user, as there is no way to connect multiple users to one account. But, if you are the only user and need a way to get a business number on the cheap, using Google Voice may be just the ticket.
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2. Phone.Com - Good Mix of Value and Features for Multiple Users
Cost: $9.99/user/month - $43.62/user/month(unlimited minutes)
Phone.com is a great middle-of-the road option for multiple users, providing a good mobile/computer VoIP solution without breaking the bank (no traditional phone required). The mobile phone features are basic but allow you to make/receive calls using your business number, view call logs and open address book (internet connection required).
Image via Phone.com
Here are the features you can access from your computer:
- Set up up an auto-receptionist
- Schedule calls
- Call queuing
- Setup a find me/follow me feature
- Make conference calls
- Convert voicemail to email
- Send/receive faxes
Although some users have complained of poor customer service, Phone.com is rated well overall, generally getting around 4 to 4.5 stars.
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3. Grasshopper - A Completely Mobile VoIP Option for Multiple Users
Cost: $12/user/month - $199/user/month (Minutes sometimes additional charge)
Grasshopper is basically a business VoIP service that uses your existing mobile phone instead of an office VoIP setup. You can set up a business number, receive calls from that number using your phone and set up as many users as you want with custom extension options.
Image via Grasshopper
Grasshopper also includes:
- Auto-assistant/call routing system
- Call queuing
- Find me/follow me
- Call scheduling
- Conference calls (see below)
- Voicemail to email
Because Grasshopper is entirely mobile, the features it provides are more extensive than other VoIP providers that provide mobile options via an app.
There are two important things to be aware of with Grasshopper. First, some users have reported poor call quality, although there are plenty of users that also are very happy with their service. Second, the minutes you use are charged by Grasshopper and your mobile carrier, which is the case for most VoIP mobile apps.
But, where Grasshopper really kills you, is on conference calls, where they charge you for total number of call minutes x number of conference call participants (5 minute call x 5 callers = 25 minutes used for each caller). This is different from other carriers like Phone.com, which gives you a conference call bridge which only charges for one call.
If you are planning on making an extensive number of calls, then Grasshopper might not be for you. But, if you do not anticipate very many conference calls/minutes but still need multiple users, Grasshopper can be a cheap option for that, especially considering the wealth of features it provides.