To determine the best business VoIP phone systems, we started by looking at a comprehensive list of more than 70 phone system providers. To narrow that list down, we separated all of the vendors that had a good online reputation, such as those services that were consistently ranked highly by other websites.
We also, at periodic intervals, queried business owners to see which services they use. If we got multiple business owners raving about the vendor they use, they were also added to the final list of contenders.
Finally, we visited each company's website. If a company stood out to us, we added them to the final list. We also eliminated most companies that only served businesses in their local region.
We ultimately settled narrowed down our pool to: 8x8, Avaya, Booth, Cisco, Dialpad, Digium, ESI, EVoice, FreedomVoice, Grasshopper, Jive, Mitel, Nextiva, OnSip, Ooma Office, Phone.com, RingByName, RingCentral, and Vonage.
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 offers its users.
In all, we analyzed each system based on the following factors:
- Deployment options
- Level of service
- Customer service
- Calling features
- Collaboration tools
- Mobility options
- Better Business Bureau accreditation, ratings and complaints