Skype for Business
Skype Business is a low-cost solution for businesses that need long-distance and international calling. While it is definitely affordable, Skype is more of a collaboration tool than a true VoIP – therefore, users may not get all of the features they are hoping for. Despite the lack of features, its extremely low rates and call options make it a viable option for businesses not looking for those extra features.
A low-cost communication tool that supports local, long-distance and international calls.
- Extremely affordable
- Unlimited minutes
- Meet with up to 250 people at once
- Integrates with Microsoft Office
- Video chat
- No call return, blocking, etc.
- No 911 calling
- Contract required
- Still need regular phone line
- No toll-free, vanity numbers
- Calls made via computer
Pricing/Minutes/Contract: (Rating: 7/10)
With Skype Business, you get unlimited local, long-distance and international calling all for a low monthly rate. There are only two business plans to choose from, and both require an annual commitment. These plans come with limited features, but do let users make calls from their computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.
Call Management: (Rating: 5/10)
You can manage your account and make calls all via your computer, tablet, and smartphone. The service is powered via the Microsoft Cloud and includes integrated software, conference calling, instant messaging and voice/video calls. Users can manage their features and users via the admin portal. You do not get the same type of call analytics and recording options like traditional VoIP providers, and do not pick and choose which features each user has access to.
Available Numbers: (Rating: 4/10)
With Skype Business, it is an internet phone service – but you cannot use a regular telephone. Business users can keep their phone number or pick a different one – and even pick a new area code even if they do not live there. Skype does not offer toll-free numbers or business numbers, but users with toll-free numbers already can attach it to their Skype account – if they are willing to do a little work.
Advanced Features: (Rating: 4/10)
Skype does not necessarily have advanced features that apply to traditional VoIP services. While they do have great features, including HD video and audio calling, IM, group calling, Microsoft integration, remote control desktops, and more, these are more for collaboration rather than phone services. Users do have voice mail, call forwarding and caller ID, but they also do not have 911 services. Which means business users need a phone line or other phone service to call in an emergency.
Usability/Ease of Use: (Rating: 4/10)
Overall, Skype is fairly user-friendly, but with a few exceptions. Administrators cannot add lines or features like traditional VoIP services. Instead, they manage skype contacts. They can integrate Skype with Microsoft Office and add contacts via Outlook. But, for some, setting up Skype itself may be an issue. Skype has known compatibility issues with computers and some users cannot connect even after installing.
Help & Support: (Rating: 5/10)
Skype has a fairly good help and support center, but it is all filtered through Microsoft. Users have to go through all of the Microsoft topics to find what they are looking for. Community forums are available 24/7, but submitting tickets could take a few hours for a response and there is no phone support.
Skype Business Pricing and Plans
All plans require an annual commitment.
Online Plan 1: Includes IM, file transfer via IM, audio and HD video/call quality. Starts at $2.00 per user per month.
Online Plan 2: Includes the features of Online Plan 1 plus group HD calling, Outlook meeting schedules, joining meetings, remote control desktop, recording audio, sharing and whiteboard, and other advanced features. Starts at $5.00 per user per month.
What We Like About Skype Business
Cheap Price: You cannot argue with the price. Skype Business is definitely the cheapest option per user out there. At $2.00 and $5.00 per month, per user, that is a price most companies would flip over.
Collaboration Built In: Skype Business doesn't just offer communications; it also offers collaboration. From desktop sharing to recording calls to controlling someone's desktop for them, there are tons of unique collaboration features a business could sink their teeth into.
Unlimited Minutes: You get unlimited local and long-distance calling with Skype Business, which is refreshing. International calls are unlimited too – and you can call just about anyone with a Skype user ID regardless of where they are.
Video Chat: Skype can be used for video chat or traditional phone chat. This is perfect for those that want to meet with their clients regardless of where they are at that moment.
Mobile Ready: Skype can be used on smartphones, tablets and computers. Users can call/video chat, access their account and IM all from multiple devices.
What We Didn't Like About Skype Business
Not a VoIP: While Skype lets you make phone calls, it is not a true VoIP service. You are essentially paying for an online chat/collaboration tool.
No VoIP-Related Features: Because it is not a VoIP, you do not get those VoIP-like features, such as call waiting, vanity phone numbers, auto attendant, etc. While you do get voicemail, the lack of phone-related features may turn some business users off.
No Traditional Phone: You do not use Skype via a phone; instead, you must have a device and the Skype app open and active to receive calls and notifications.
Connectivity Issues: Some users may have connectivity issues, and find it difficult to resolve that connectivity error on their devices.
Limited Support: Support is limited and while response is faster for business users, it is not instant. The forum is helpful, but for those not used to chat/IM services, it may be lacking.
No Extensions/Call Transfers: Because it isn't a true VoIP, there are no extensions and call transfers like a traditional VoIP service, which may make a business seem unprofessional.
Skype Business is an online professional communication tool with low monthly rates, long-distance and international calling, and collaboration options.