Vonage Business Review
Vonage Business was launched in 2006 along with Vonage’s home solutions. But, only the past few years have their business plans gained momentum. They are committed to providing premium call quality, and have 40 features every user gets for free just for creating a line. Vonage is one of the few virtual phone providers to own their own technology, which means customers will not have to wait for a third party to fix any glitches or technical issues in the system. But, with all of that superiority and quality comes a higher price than competing virtual business phone providers.
Great cloud phone provider for businesses that want premium call quality and features.
- 40 automatic features
- No contracts
- Toll-free capable
- Softphone options
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Unlimited local and long-distance within the United States
- Number transfer
- Outlook plug-in
- Pricier business plans
- Unclear pricing per plan
- Expensive add-on features
- Slow customer service
- Multiple extensions with multiple numbers
- Toll-free and local number fees
- No vanity numbers
- No free trial
- No service level agreement
- Cryptic information regarding pricing
- Charge for 9-1-1 and 4-1-1 use
Pricing/Minutes/Contract: (Rating: 2/10)
Vonage offers a Build-Your-Own plan for business owners. They want to be as flexible as possible for business owners – and create a phone service that isn’t too much or offers too little. With this build-your-own option, users can add features they want to lines as they need them and combine it with unlimited calling and no long distance fees for calls made in the United States or Canada.
Adding the company number starts at $9.99 per month, then the price per extension is $39.99 per month, per line. They do offer multi-line discounts depending on how many lines are added. For a virtual extension, it is just $14.99 per line per month and metered extension plans – which are their version of pay-as-you-go – are $14.99 per line, per month.
You get the standard 40 features for free (including forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, etc.) Extra features are added on in addition to the line charges, such as call monitoring for $49.99 per month. Overall, their plans are much pricier than other business solutions, which may turn off some businesses – especially those that need multiple lines.
They also offer 3 preconfigured plans for 1-5 lines. However it is extremely difficult to determine exactly what is meant by a “line” and if the plans include a local or toll free number or both. With their build your own plan a local number is $9.99/month extra and a toll free number is $39.99/month extra, so it is hard to believe that these are included free of charge in these lower cost plans. Getting straight answers from Vonage themselves is difficult at best. We were not able to get conclusive answers to our questions, making signup for any plan difficult and riddled with potential extra fees.
There are no contracts with Vonage – so business users can pick up and move to a different service or simply cancel whenever they wish without penalty fees. But, they are cryptic about their pricing, making it hard for a user to see just how much they would pay. Once users add up the costs, they can see that Vonage Business may be a much costlier investment than other plans.
Call Management: (Rating: 10/10)
Vonage Business operates via apps. These apps are downloaded to your desktop, mobile phone or softphone. These powerful apps but business users in complete control of their account so that they do not have to constantly login via the web portal. The app comes with a suite of helpful plugins, but users can buy additional plugins for maximum usability.
From the softphone app, users can access everything from three-way calling to transfers and more.
The admin portal is where owners can manage business communications. They can control what employees sees on the dashboard, restrict numbers or dialing privileges, control international calling, order more features/phones/lines, and view usage and billing information. If the call-recording feature is found, users can also access those recorded calls here on the portal.
Available Numbers: (Rating: 5/10)
Vonage Business charges $9.99 to add the company. Then, instead of having phone lines, every extension purchased on a Vonage Business account is given its own direct phone number. This is Vonage’s way of allowing companies to grow and get as many or as little numbers as they need. If a business already has a toll-free number, it can be transferred, but it will take as many as 20 days to do so. They offer toll-free numbers as a premium feature.
Advanced Features: (Rating: 5/10)
Vonage Business boasts about their advanced features or “premium” features, and while they are impressive, they come at a high cost to businesses. Just some of the advanced features that come with an individual monthly rate on top of access rates include call monitoring, group calling, call recording, virtual mailbox, and local or toll-free numbers. These additional features are charged monthly in addition to the extension and service fees.
Usability/Ease of Use: (Rating: 7/10)
The portal and apps are very easy to use – giving a business owner complete access to their Vonage Business account without hassle. The Admin Portal lets business owners monitor their account and change it as they need to. When it comes to the actual service, however, users will need high-speed internet, a modem, a router and compatible phones. So, business users may have to upgrade their phones to actually use the Vonage Business service – there are other virtual phone providers that do not require a person to upgrade to special phones.
Help & Support: (Rating: 2/10)
Vonage Business has a lot of online FAQs, their Education Center, and Buyers Guide. But, when it comes to the actual support from Vonage Business, it is very limited. They are friendly helping you get information and setup and account, but after that tech support can take several hours to several days to respond to a customer’s inquiry – leaving businesses in the lurch.
Vonage Business Pricing and Plans
Vonage charges $39.99 per month, per extension as a flat rate. With that comes unlimited domestic calling and 40 free features. Users can also use separate extension plans that include:
Virtual Extensions: For mobile employees that want to work anywhere. Starts at $14.99 per user, per month.
Metered Extension: A pay-as-you go service that charges $14.99 per user, per month plus $0.03 per minute.
Toll-free numbers start at $39.99 per month and additional features range from $4.99 per month to as high as $49.99 per month.
Starting Monthly Price - Shared Minutes Plans: Not Offered
Starting Monthly Price(per user) - Unlimited Minutes Plans: $39.99 plus $9.99/month for your Company Number
Starting Number of Users - Unlimited Minutes Plans: 1
Setup or Activation Fees:: $9.99 per line
Cancellation or Early Termination Fees: $60 - $120
Unlimited Minutes Per User Plans(Office)
Available Minutes – Shared Minutes Plans
Anonymous Call Rejection
Caller ID/Call Screening
Do Not Disturb
Find Me/Call Routing
Advanced VoIP Features
Call from Web/Click to Call
Voicemail to Email
# of Server Locations: 0
Fully Redundant Network
CRM Software Integration
Operator Answered Calls: No
Use Your Own Device
Purchase Phones?: Optional
Overage Minutes – Shared Minutes Plans
Extensions – Shared Minutes Plans
Phone #’s – Shared Minutes Plans
Plan Details – Unlimited Minutes Plans
Included Local and Long Distance Minutes(Domestic US & Canada): Unlimited
Included Toll Free Minutes: None
Included International Minutes: None
Overage Minutes: 4.9¢
Included Phone #'s: 1
Additional or Add-ons
Cost for Additional Local #'s: $9.99/month
Cost for Additional Toll Free #'s: $39.99/month
Cost for Vanity #'s(one time fee): Not Offered
Cost for Virtual International Numbers: Not Offered
Cost to Transfer a Number: Unclear
Cost for Additional Minutes Packages: Not Offered
Can Transfer Existing Numbers
Toll Free Numbers
What We Like About Vonage Business
40 Free Features: Vonage includes 40 features for free with their Vonage Business accounts. These include everything from voicemail to caller ID to call forwarding and more. These features may be all a business owner needs to adequately run their business.
Toll Free and Local Numbers: You can get local phone numbers as well as toll-free numbers with Vonage Business. You can also port your existing number into the service so that you don’t have to worry about changing your business information.
Innovative Apps and Admin Portal: Vonage Business excels at accessibility. Their apps are unique and work on softphones, mobile devices and desktop. Users are in complete control of their accounts via these apps and with the plug-ins, they can integrate third-party programs, such as Outlook, into their Vonage Business service.
Productivity Boosting Capabilities: Vonage Business offers cloud-based calling, but also a variety of apps and features that help boost a company’s productivity. Just some of the apps they include for better productivity include paperless fax, click-to-dial, unified inboxes, local number porting, etc. Some of these productivity features, however, are charged at an extra monthly rate.
Unlimited Local and Long Distance Calling: When you sign up for Vonage, you get unlimited local and long-distance calling within the United States and Canada. This is excellent for businesses that need long distance calling and don’t want to pay per call or pay for a special plan.
Premium Call Quality: Compared to other virtual phone providers, Vonage Business has excellent call quality. Calls are clear, crisp and what you would expect if you are paying a premium price for service.
No Contracts: There are no contracts with Vonage Business and users can cancel at any time. If they purchased equipment, they will not be able to return that equipment, but there is no cancellation fee. Users can also cancel extensions at any time – such as dismissing an employee and needing to stop access to their line.
What We Didn’t Like About Vonage Business
Unresponsive Sales Team: Revuezzle attempted to clarify Vonage’s highly complex pricing structure. Unfortunately, after multiple attempts, Vonage never replied. Considering they are unwilling to clarify their own pricing structures, and customer sales is unresponsive, we are not sure how legitimate customers would ever order a service from them.
No Free Trial: Vonage Business does not offer any free trials at this time. With their higher prices, this may be a problem for business users not ready to commit to a high price without trying it free first.
Premium Features with Premium Pricing: Some of the premium features Vonage Business brags about come with a high monthly price tag – some as high as $49.99 per month. While these features may benefit the users that really need them, some companies will skip over trying them just because of their high price.
Unclear, Cryptic Pricing: Vonage Business boasts about how they create a unique plan tailored to the needs of the business. Therefore, they don’t offer clear pricing upfront on their site. The only way to find out just how much you will really pay is to speak to a sales representative. They do state that it is $9.99 to add a business, then extensions (which are required for each person you want) range anywhere from $14.99 (for metered and remote employees) to $19.99 to $39.99 per user, per month. The price of premium features is listed on their site, but they are not clear about the additional charges for toll-free numbers or even local numbers.
No Vanity Numbers: Companies that are big on branding and want a vanity number will not get any help from Vonage Business. At this time, they charge for toll-free numbers and don’t support vanity numbers.
Sluggish Tech Support: Tech support has been reported my multiple users as extremely sluggish – taking in some cases days to respond. This can become extremely frustrating for business users who need answers fast. While they have extensive information online, it is difficult to sift through and does not answer all of the technical questions a user may have.
911 and 411 Charge: Because Vonage is not upfront about pricing, users may be shocked to find out that they are charged $0.99 per month per line for Emergency 911 services. 411 calls are billed only when used and charge at $0.99 per call per line that makes the call.
No True Call Center Support: While Vonage Business offers call center-like features, they don’t offer true call center support. Instead, business users would need to purchase their extensions, then sign up for the call queue premium service. There are users, however, that have been successful with using Vonage Business as a micro call center, but it requires a complex setup of services within Vonage to create it – rather than just one quick setup some providers offer.
Vonage is one of the better-known virtual phone providers, but they are not as popular in business as they are for personal use. While they are expanding with their Vonage Business, they are still pricier than the competition and lack Skype video-calling integration. Aside from these minor flaws, Vonage offers high-quality calling and simple setup.