Sunday, April 29, 2012

Which VOIP Service: Reviews of Nextiva & CallCentric

Small businesses still need phone service.  It can be costly to spend hundreds of phone minutes on your personal cell phone for your business.  Also, telephone numbers associated with your business offer the added bonus of allowing for a professional voicemail message system to greet your clients and multi-phone exchanges can give the appearance that your company is busier and larger than it is.

VOIP phones are an affordable solution for your business communication needs.  VOIP which stands for Voice over IP is basically a phone communication system over the Internet or making calls over the Internet.  Since you probably have broadband Internet in your home or office, VOIP provides an affordable solution to landline or cell phone usage.

VOIP phones can look like traditional office phones
Benefits of VOIP:

  • affordable;
  • easy to set up, no need to be a computer expert;
  • number portability;
  • choice of local or 1-800 numbers;
  • loaded with calling features such as caller id, call waiting, and voicemail exchanges or extensions.  
Cons of VOIP:

  • phone quality depends on bandwidth of your Internet connection, it won't work on dial-up or slow connections;
  • some services do not offer 911 connections or you have to pay extra for those calls;
  • power is a must, no electrical power equals no phone service. 

I have two phones with Nextiva for $60.00/month for unlimited service nationwide.  The phones were free with my service.  It is a month to month contract so can be cancelled at any time.  The phone came fast and preconfigured.  It was easy to set up the voicemail box.  The only downside to Nextiva is the customer service.  If you have any trouble setting up your phones, it is almost impossible to get them to understand and fix the issue.  Save the time and trouble in dealing with Nextiva customer service and just get an IT expert to come into your office and help out.  I was able to port my existing business phone numbers to Nextiva with no problems.  The system has rarely gone down for longer than a few hours since I signed up over a year ago.  Overall, the system is reliable and I don't have to worry much about missing any phone calls.  

CallCentric gives you VOIP service for just the price of calls.  For as little as $5.00, you get a phone number that can make outgoing calls.  I use this phone service for an Autodialer system which is a computer that makes phone calls to a list with a recorded message.  There are no setup or monthly fees for outgoing calls.  Phone numbers that accept incoming calls have varying price ranges from $19.95 to $1.95 with $8.95 being the price for office unlimited and $3.95 for a toll-free number.  Ability to get a local phone number on CallCentric depends on what part of the country you are located in and the number availability.  More local areas are being added on a regular basis, so the opportunities will only increase.  Paying per call may seem expensive but it really only adds up to 2 cents per connected call.  You can use your own IP phone with the service.  CallCentric was very easy to set up and easy to use.  I have had no problems with making calls or had a need to call customer service.  Your account at CallCentric can be cancelled at any time with no penalties.  Their user friendly website gives you technical guides for how to set up your CallCentric number with the most popular phone systems.  In addition, you can login to your account and print out call reports.  Overall, the service has been really great.  

There are many other VOIP service providers.  These are just two companies that I have had personal experience with in setting up and using.  It is important to research the all the providers you are interested in to see which one has the features you need for your company.  Good luck on your search for the VOIP system for you. 

1 comment:

  1. I know the importance of VoIP phones because I am using it with software video conferencing for my business conferencing. It gives a greater platform for business meetings with interactive sessions to share files.