As low as $13.99/mo./line *plus taxes and fees view offer

30% off Vonage Business Communications (VBC)!

As low as $13.99/line/month!

Promotional discount of 30% off the standard rate applies to monthly recurring voice extension charges for up to 99 lines. Offer available for new accounts only, and only for purchases completed online. Discount does not apply to add-ons, features, hardware, or one-time charges. Taxes and fees not included. Services and billing will continue until canceled. You may cancel at any time through the Vonage online portal or by calling customer care, but cancellation within contract term subject to Early Termination Fees up to the total price of your service contract. Choose a plan and the promo code 30PERCENTOFF will be applied automatically when you checkout online. Offer valid through 2/28/23.

30% off Vonage Business Communications (VBC)!

As low as $13.99/line/month!

Buy online now

Promotional discount of 30% off the standard rate applies to monthly recurring voice extension charges for up to 99 lines. Offer available for new accounts only, and only for purchases completed online. Discount does not apply to add-ons, features, hardware, or one-time charges. Taxes and fees not included. Services and billing will continue until canceled. You may cancel at any time through the Vonage online portal or by calling customer care, but cancellation within contract term subject to Early Termination Fees up to the total price of your service contract. Choose a plan and the promo code 30PERCENTOFF will be applied automatically when you checkout online. Offer valid through 2/28/23.

Why do small business customers choose Vonage?

Small business runs on flexiblility and Vonage Business Communications does too, with simplified implementation, plans designed to suit your business needs, and easy setup for phone, messaging, and video.

  • Better customer satisfaction starts with flexible communications options: Connect with your customers on their preferred channel.  With voice, video, text messaging, and video options, customers can now reach you even if they’re nowhere near a phone.
  • Enjoy outstanding implementation and reliability: Simplified implementation is the key to flexibility in a small business.  As your business grows, we grow with you, with solutions and pricing options based on your business needs.
  • Communications and collaboration tools in a single app: With a single sourced communication solution, your team can freely move between voice, video, and text messaging in a single powerful app.  No need to complicate your business with multiple communication solutions and providers.
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Enterprise-grade services for your small business

Engage your customers

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Intuitive video collaboration solution to use across your organization and with customers. Learn more
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Customized call routing for exceptional customer service. Learn more
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Central inbox where your customers can message you via your main company number (even a toll-free one!) or Facebook. Learn more

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Team messaging

Connect and collaborate with team members near and remote! Learn more
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Manage your entire phone system from a single portal. Learn more
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Run your business phone system from your computer or any mobile device. Learn more
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Setup and switching is simple

Our self-service guide has everything you need to get your small business voice, video, and messaging up and running quickly and easily! See how easy it is to get started
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Easily add new users and functionality as your business needs evolve — in minutes! Learn more about Vonage Business Communications
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Buying a Small Business Phone System: The Ultimate Guide

Small-Business Phone Systems

 

Every small business needs a phone number. Although you might see news stories and online content about how no one wants to pick up the phone anymore,  the truth is that 60% of customers still prefer to call a business over any other communication channel. Even younger generations consider a contact number important. Email, visiting the business location, filling out an online contact form, or sending a social media message: All these methods are less preferred than a phone call.

 

So you know it’s important to have a small-business phone number. But what is the best phone system for a small business? Handing out your personal number is less than ideal, whether you’re a solo owner or an hourly employee. Juggling multiple cell phones presents its own complications. And relying on a desk phone in an office or store might be a good option sometimes, but those on-premises handsets can become inaccessible for all sorts of reasons.

 

Setting up a flexible small-business phone system helps your business operate more efficiently, and also protects you from a number of risks as you grow. This is especially true for those who need to migrate away from an on-premises phone system and accommodate remote work.

 

Ready to take the next step and choose a solution that is an asset to your growth? Here is our guide to comparison shopping for small-business phone systems.

 

What Should I Look For in a Small-Business Phone System?

It’s important to know why you need a business phone system and what you’re looking for before getting into too many technical details. Here are some things to consider when deciding on a new or upgraded phone system.

  • Simple Change Management: Can you choose a phone system that’s familiar to employees and integrates with your way of doing business? Change initiatives fail for many reasons, including complexity of new tools and a lack of adoption among employees. Partnering with a phone provider that is experienced in helping small businesses manage these transitions can be an incredible asset.

  • Affordable and Predictable Costs: Will you receive one monthly invoice? Will your costs be fixed or fluctuate depending on call volume and duration? When contracts and invoicing haven't been optimized, it is easy for overspending on telecoms to go unnoticed. Securing flat fees for new lines and long-distance calls helps prevent and minimize these unnecessary expenses, keeping money available for other needs.

  • Ease of Administration: Will you be able to easily add lines, remove lines, change the IVR menu, or perform other functions to minimize risks and downtime? Productivity in 75% of organizations’  IT operations (including telecommunications) is related to setup complexity. Choosing a simple solution now means the productivity gains for the team will only increase as the business grows.

  • Excellent Customer Experience: Will you be able to provide a toll-free number for customers to call? Will the call quality and service be reliable, and will high call volumes be managed appropriately by any automations? Your small-business phone system needs to provide for your customers as well as your business.

  • Potential for Scalability: Will you be able to grow your business and the demands on communications without adding to your IT expenses? Great unified communications tools help employees work more effectively, but only 34% of organizations believe they have such a mature environment in place. Whether you’re trying to scale for a remote workforce or into a new territory, your communications tools and the complexity of growth should not hold you back.

  • Intuitive Reporting and Tracking: Does the system provide tracking for missed calls, routing to different departments, or allow for changes in office hours? Missed calls are a rising problem for businesses, especially those facing staffing shortages. To share one industry example, 40-50% of calls to multifamily leasing offices go unanswered. Solutions like a virtual assistant or call forwarding are some of the advanced features a phone system could deliver to help capture more business in any industry.

  • Robust Business Communications Features: Since phone systems today are powered by the internet, look for a small-business phone system that includes more extensive functionality. Paperless fax, virtual receptionists, video conferencing, employee chat and SMS messaging, and social media messaging and integration are some of the features that can help a small business team achieve enterprise-level impact thanks to their phone system.

Not every small business will need all these features right away, but as the business grows, all of these could become essential at some point.

 

How Do Multi-Line Phone Systems for a Small Business Work?

Telephones work by turning sound waves from your voice into radio waves or data packets, which are then transmitted to the listener. Multi-line phone systems work by routing different calls to different circuits. Just like an electrical system, one phone system can have many different circuits. This is how separate conversations can happen simultaneously on one phone system. The data of each conversation is housed and transmitted on individual lines.

In traditional multi-line phone systems, each phone is connected to a jack in the wall, and all these ports connect individually to the main line. These systems, first introduced in the 1930s, allow users to place calls on hold and make a second call to an internal or external number without hanging up on their first call. Users can also see if a line is in use or if there is a call waiting on hold.

The functionality of a multi-line phone system has not changed, but the technology to deliver it has evolved significantly and quickly. Maintaining all those phone jacks, wires, and connections is a lot of work, not to mention the challenge of identifying the point of failure when something isn’t working. In more modern systems, the lines for each phone are connected to a central exchange that then connects outward to the main line. These systems reduce required maintenance and manual processes required by the users, like selecting the line they want to call on.

But the tide of change has not stopped there! The most cutting-edge business phone systems today rely on cloud connectivity and the internet instead of phone lines. Let’s get deeper into the names and descriptions of the types of phone systems for small businesses.

 

What Are the Different Types of Business Phone Systems?

There are three main types of business phone systems: key service utility systems (KSU) — also known as analog systems; private branch exchanges (PBX); and voice over internet protocol (VoIP). 

KSU Business Phone Systems

These analog systems are hosted on-premises, with a fixed number of lines that are manually connected to central hardware. Businesses that still rely on these landline phones often pay more money for fewer services. The cost of installing and maintaining lines is just the start of these expenses. Businesses are also often paying for internet service separate from phone service, meaning they pay two bills with two sets of fees and taxes.

As KSU business phone systems become more and more outdated, it’s less likely that IT employees or consultants will have deep knowledge of how to troubleshoot them in-house. This piles on even more expenses when something isn’t working right. And if you have to be away from the office or desk for a few days, there’s no way to access these phones or answer incoming calls. While the traditional and simple appearance of these systems can be appealing, the same benefits and more can be achieved leveraging modern technology.

PBX Business Phone Systems

PBX started as an alternative to KSU systems only a few years after KSU was introduced. PBX was revolutionary in its time as a way for all employees to be connected via handsets on their desks. These systems allowed for the innovation of essential features like call waiting, caller ID, and voicemail.

Since a PBX system eliminates some of the hardware and maintenance necessary with KSU, it helped companies in the mid and late 20th century keep up with the growing pace of the business economy. However, until recently, they were just a more efficient version of a KSU. Today these systems often work through VoIP. They can still meet the needs of some small businesses — provided employees all come to work in one location where accessing a traditional phone handset is convenient. But with 20% of employees expected to work remotely full-time, and another 40% expected to work from home a few days a week, having everyone locked down to a desk phone often isn’t feasible in today’s workforce.

VoIP Business Phone Systems 

VoIP is the current industry standard technology for small-business phone systems. VoIP is what enables solutions like softphones, where a user can make and receive both internal and external calls without any phone at all. These systems leverage an internet connection, not a phone line, to make and receive calls. This means calls can be made or received from any internet-connected device.

VoIP also powers features like click-to-call that are increasingly expected by consumers. When customers can click a button to call you right from the search engine, this means a chance to speak with them the moment you have caught their attention. This is a prime opportunity to answer their questions and win their business. 

VoIP is the best virtual phone system for a small business today. On the front end, these systems work just like a traditional phone, while the back-end empowers far greater flexibility than analog systems of the past.

VoIP allows connection with remote workers and across multiple locations without paying astronomical setup and maintenance fees. Whether an owner or manager is at their desk or in the field,  with call forwarding, they can be reached at the same number, and all their messages go to one voicemail.  

When a unified communications solution delivers VoIP phone calls and voicemails, it can also send the written transcript of a voicemail to email, activate an auto-assistant if the call is missed, and allow one-click access to conference calls and video meetings. These features are beyond traditional VoIP functionality, but they are all enabled today thanks to VoIP.

VoIP small-business phone solutions are also essential when lots of seasonal employees need to be connected to the system for a short time and then removed. With VoIP, it’s as simple as asking them to install an app on their device and delete it when the season has ended.

 

 

What Is the Difference Between VoIP and PBX?

Since PBX phone systems can leverage VoIP technology, many business owners want a clear description of how each is unique.

  • PBX phone systems use on-desk telephones for calls, even when the service itself is hosted in the cloud. Some PBX systems use cloud VoIP, while others still leverage phone cables and on-premises hardware.

  • VoIP phone systems can be used on any internet-connected device like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, allowing more flexibility and customization.

Hopefully this provides clarity on the basics of PBX vs VoIP. Let’s review some additional commonly-asked questions on this topic.

Is PBX Better Than VoIP?

No. PBX actually uses VoIP in many modern instances, connecting all the desk handsets in the cloud instead of through on-premises hardware. VoIP PBX for small businesses has some benefits. But making the full transition to VoIP only accelerates and amplifies these same wins while adding extra features. VoIP is more flexible, often cheaper, and it enables the full connectivity expected in today’s markets.

VoIP sets owners and employees free from their desks and lets them get out in the world to make a difference. It also makes it easier for customers to get in touch with you through search engines and social media while still getting to talk to an actual person when they have needs or questions.

What Advantage Does VoIP Offer Over PBX?

VoIP phone systems offer a far wider range of features, like click-to-call, device-agnostic phone use, and call forwarding. They’re also more flexible than PBX systems, allowing lines to be added or removed with a few simple clicks and little to no setup. Since calls are transmitted in the cloud, VoIP makes it easier to track and return missed calls even when the caller did not leave a voicemail, something a PBX handset would not always be able to track.

When VoIP is included as part of a unified communications solution, the advantages multiply exponentially. You can have several local business numbers that all reach one main company line. Video collaboration functionality, SMS texting, and even social media inboxes and feeds can all be connected in one platform. When leveraged to its current best potential through unified communications, VoIP can put the power of an enterprise solution in the hands of a small business.

Is VoIP Good for Small Business?

VoIP is great for small businesses because the phone system can grow with your company. For example, with Vonage, it’s simple to add or remove lines and predict how costs will change accordingly.

VoIP phone systems also help a business look more modern and robust to customers and prospective customers. When a user expects a certain experience and your business doesn't provide it, a competitor is likely to do so. Offering click-to-call or a rapid response to missed calls can be the difference between closing deals or missing out on new business.

What Is the VoIP vs PBX Cost Comparison?

A PBX setup can cost several hundred dollars per user, especially when full functionality is desired. By contrast, a VoIP setup can cost  tens of dollars, not hundreds. VoIP costs less for long-distance and international calls because it operates using the existing internet connection, not requiring additional hardware or service connections. If the rest of the answers and benefits on this list haven’t convinced you VoIP is the best option in the market, you may like that it’s significantly cheaper to achieve better outcomes with VoIP vs PBX.

 

How Do I Turn My Cell Phone Into a Business Phone? 

Some business owners don’t care about PBX versus VoIP — they just want to know, can I get a business line on my cell phone? The answer is yes, through a VoIP cell-phone integration. An app on your cell phone will bring the call through to that device, while also re-routing the call to your business voicemail or another device if you do not pick up the cell phone. This allows employees’ personal cell phones to connect to the business system without requiring them to give out their personal number or have a mix of personal and work voicemails in their inbox.

 

What Is the Right Phone Service for Small Business?

Vonage built its phone service with small businesses in mind. Founded in 1998, we’ve been part of the industry for decades and bring all that experience to the table. Whatever the unique needs of your small business, we have addressed challenges like yours before and have the perspective to innovate on your behalf, while also delivering world-class reliable service. Here are just some of the use cases where we excel:

  • Reduced Communication Costs: Our plug-and-play VoIP unified communications service includes over 50 features which can be enabled or disabled for each individual line on your plan. Basic maintenance is included in your flat monthly fee, and you only pay for the additional premium features you choose. Toll-free numbers available in 35 countries save customers money when they need to call you, keeping them satisfied with the cost of doing business as well.

  • Simple Boosts to Business Efficiency: VoIP integrations with apps and services you already use allow you to streamline IT infrastructure without interrupting the successful workflow. Our solution can integrate with Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and more. Vonage helps you rethink communications strategies and provide a seamless transition between these apps and your communication system.

  • Easy Onboarding and Simple User Interface: Today’s leading unified communication systems are integrated apps for calling, cross-channel texting, social media messaging, email, and more. Virtual teams, satellite offices, customers, and colleagues can all be better connected without a significant investment of your time or money. Onboarding to use our system is a quick and intuitive process that employees will be able to achieve regardless of their tech proficiencies.

  • Accountability for Business Continuity:  Vonage is one of the only small-business UCaaS providers in the market that owns our own technology stack from end-to-end. This means we aren’t reliant on anyone else to deliver your service. That is how we achieve 99.999% uptime for our customers1 . Our tech support team is available to help you address site-specific issues or to keep services operational even during major business disruptions. When a crisis hits, all it takes is an Internet connection for businesses to stay in control of their data and operations.

     

1Based on Vonage's average uptime from July 2021 to February 2022. 

Vonage: Reliable and Future-Proofed Virtual Phone System for Small Business

Vonage is on a mission to support small businesses in migrating phone systems and other communications to the cloud without disruption or significant expenses. Technology is the great equalizer of our time, allowing a one-person business to compete with major enterprises to win the hearts and minds of customers. But without features like click-to-call, softphones, and VoIP cell phone integrations, small businesses can lose much of this competitive edge.

With Vonage as your provider, you can achieve enterprise-level communications without paying enterprise prices or being stuck in the office to take phone calls. We offer three plans to meet all levels of business needs.1

  • Mobile: Stay connected using our mobile and desktop VoIP apps, including unlimited calling, texting, and team messaging. This solution is great for a team on the go and starts at $19.99 per line per month, plus taxes and fees.

  • Premium: Integrate with your CRM2 and host virtual meetings for up to 100 attendees with our premium plan. This option includes all the benefits of our mobile plan plus, can be used with compatible IP deskphones,  and includes a multi-level auto attendant for $29.99 per line per month, plus taxes and fees.

  • Advanced: Call recording, group calling, and visual voicemail are some of the premium features that come standard with the advanced plan. Level up your productivity in many new and exciting ways for just $39.99 per line per month, plus taxes and fees. 

    For full plan details, check out our plans and pricing page.  

We are confident that one of these plans can help your business grow and thrive. But you don’t need us to help you decide which plan to choose — or put pressure on you to purchase a plan that offers more than you need. In fact, you can even set up and pay for your SMB VoIP phone system without the need to go through a salesperson. Just click here to start your path to a VoIP small-business phone system for any team of 100 people or fewer.

 

 

1For each plan, services and billing will continue until canceled. You may cancel at any time through the Vonage online portal or by calling customer care, but cancellation within contract term is subject to Early Termination Fees up to the total price of your service contract.  Reasonable and acceptable usage applies for unlimited calls and unlimited SMS.

2CRM Integration includes Bullhorn, G-Suite, Hubspot, Office 365, Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Zendesk, Clio, Connectwise, JobDiva, Microsoft Dynamics & Zoho.

 

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