When’s the last time you had a landline in your home? If you’re like every two of five of Americans who only have a wireless phone, that could have been years ago.
With so many readily available cloud and virtual options, besides your smartphone, there really isn’t a need to have a good, old-fashioned landline. In fact, communication has never been easier, and more affordable.
For businesses, however, this is slightly different.
While a business can communicate with customers and team members via email, instant message or social media, they still need a phone system to conduct meetings or handle any question or concerns that customers may have. The thing is, instead of being forced to rely on the expensive and outdated business phone systems of the past, business owners have more than enough options to fit their specific needs and budget. Not only do the following low cost phone & VOIP options save businesses money, but the following four replacements also offer services to give your business a highly professional image when a hot lead or a customer is calling.
Related Article: Kiss Your VoIP Troubles Away
Image via Grasshopper
If you’re looking for one of the best ways to completely cut ties with traditional phone systems, then you should check out Grasshopper, a virtual phone system. With Grasshopper there is no need to purchase any equipment or software; you can have your own local or toll-free number—even a unique 800 or vanity number—that is forwarded to your current mobile or home phone.
Grasshopper's features include:
- customized forwarding extensions
- conference calling
- on-hold music
- a voicemail to email feature
Grasshopper has either a $12, $24, $49 or $199 plan depending on the needs of your business. There’s also a 30-day money back guarantee and no long term contracts, so there’s not a whole lot of risk involved if you aren’t satisfied with the service.
Image via Google Hangouts
2. Google Hangouts / Google Voice
If you have a Google Apps account, then you should already be well aware of all the incredible benefits that it can provide businesses. Whether it’s Gmail, Google+, Drive or Calendar, Google Apps for Work is a necessity for businesses of all sizes.
Did you know that you can use the Big G to replace your outdated phone system as well?
Since 2009, Google has offered a phone and voicemail management service simply called Google Voice. The service provides users with a phone number as long as they have an existing phone number—the Google Voice number is forwarded to the user’s other numbers.
In 2014, Voice integrated with Hangouts, which helped make Google a major telecommunications players.
With Google Hangouts, you can communicate with team members, colleagues or customers through voice, HD video or text along with:
- host team meetings
- share screens
- integrate with Google Calendar
The best part is that Hangouts can be used on your current desktop, tablet or mobile device—even iPhones.
Plans start at just $5/month.
Related Article: Hang It Up: Why You Should Get Rid Of Your Existing Phone System
Image via Ooma
3. Ooma.com Business
Ooma was designed to give small businesses a big business feel by offering the same great features at a fraction of the price. With Ooma, your business has access to:
- extension dialing
- unlimited calls in the U.S./Canad
- a virtual receptionist
- after-hours mode
Typically, a small business spends around $300 per month on its phone bill. With Ooma, you’re only spending $19.98 per month.
Additionally, you don’t have to purchase any special phones because the Ooma system works with the equipment that you already have. And, since Ooma doesn’t require any wiring, you can have the phone system set up in under a half an hour.
Image via nextiva
Since 2006, Nextiva has been racking up industry awards thanks to its amazing cloud-based business VoIP system. The company’s NextOS platform is extremely reliable and has a guaranteed 99.999% uptime. Furthermore, Nextiva has turned to 150 expert engineers to make its system even better.
While reliability is a huge plus, what features does Nextiva provide?
- Nextiva offers unlimited calling and faxing
- all forwarding/ID/waiting, dial by name directory
- group paging
- its signature Amazing Service.
You can also use Nextiva to improve customer satisfaction, and cut down your costs, by using its cloud-based call center.
Cloud phone systems start at $19.95/month.