Best Small Business Phone Systems - 2017

Whether you are a entrepreneur, small business owner, or busy professional on the go finding the best small business phone system for your needs can be a challenge with so many services available today and each with varying features and fucntionality.

We researched over 25 different small business phone systems/services and came up with 15 that are worth a closer look, with RingCentral leading the pack with it’s extensive features, plan options, and outstanding customer support.

Our Top 5 Best Small Business Phone System Picks - 2017

Our Lists of the Best Small Business Phone Systems by Need and Feature

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How we chose the Best Small Business Phone Systems

While researching and reviewing each merchant we developed specific criteria to base our scores on.

What Small Business Phone System Features Matter and Why?

Pricing, Minutes and Contracts
  • What is the introductory rate (if any)? After introductory, what will the regular monthly price be?
  • Do you get a discount if you pay upfront for a year, 2 years or more?
  • Any Cancellation fees or early termination fees?
  • Any Setup or Activation Fees?
  • What additional fees exist – such as additional fees for vanity numbers, transferring an existing number, purchasing extra numbers, or per minute charges on overage minutes?
  • International Calling ability?
  • Shared Minutes Plans – Can you purchase additional minute packages or do you have to upgrade plans?
  • Unlimited Minutes Plans – Do they offer them and is it domestic/Canada only or does it include Toll Free minutes?
  • Unlimited Minutes Plans – Are any Toll Free Minutes provided at all or do you pay by the minute for them?
  • Unlimited Minutes Plans – Is there a fair Usage policy?

Call Management
  • Are most standard call management features provided – such as auto-attendant, call forwarding, call routing, call waiting, call screening, call blocking, call hold, etc.?
  • Dial by Name Directory to easily find people?
  • 911 calling ability, how well does it work and are there extra fees for it?
  • Call Queuing or hunt groups?
  • Online Call Monitor or Dashboard?
  • Caller Analytics?
  • Call Menus/Call Routing and Schedules?

Available Numbers
  • Local numbers?
  • Toll Free Numbers?
  • Vanity Numbers?
  • International Virtual Numbers?
  • Transfer existing local/toll free numbers in?
  • Transfer your numbers out if you leave?

Advanced Features
  • What advanced features are offered and are they extra cost?
  • Call Recording?
  • CRM Integration?
  • Conference Calling – voice or video?
  • Both inbound and outbound internet fax?
  • Professional greeting setup?
  • Voicemail to email transcription?

Useability/Ease of Use
  • Overall, how easy is it to use?
  • Do they have a lot of tutorials and guides or walk throughs?
  • Is the interface simple enough for even a person with limited experience?
  • Do they offer any type of personal implementation specialist if you purchase a system of a certain level – example: 20+ users?
  • How easy is it to setup the system, add new users, new phone lines, new extensions, set up menu’s and schedules?

Reliability
  • What is their uptime averaging and do they guarantee a specific uptime percentage?
  • Where are their servers and what do they do to ensure uptime?
  • Have they had any major outages in the last 12 months?
  • Do they offer an SLA(Sevice level agreement) or is all just verbiage to look good
  • Redundancy – to what level have they implemented backup servers, service providers, etc.
  • Do they use third party service providers or do they have their own network?

Access
  • What methods are there for accessing and using the system?
  • Do they have a softphone app?
  • Can you access and make calls via a mobile app?
  • Do you have to purchase special(IP) phones?
  • Do they offer the option to purchase IP Phones?

Customer Service
  • How can you reach customer service?
  • Do they have tutorials, forums and help guides online for new users?
  • Is their customer support available 24/7?
  • Is there customer support center US-Based or Off-shore?
  • What is their overall BBB rating?

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