• Make calls on a regular phone
• Good range of features
• Flat monthly fee; no contracts
• Connect office and remote phones
• No live chat
• Can be expensive for lots of users
Confused over VOIP for your business? RingCentral makes it easy to install, set up and maintain an office telephone system with multiple extensions, calling rules, calling features and configurable options.
RingCentral is a cloud-based platform for calls, targeted primarily at businesses. It’s a full office switchboard set-up, but without any of the hardware that would ordinarily be involved in a business network. By using the RingCentral system you can connect all your office phones as well as your employees in other offices or based elsewhere in the world. Will RingCentral suit you? We looked at the packages available to find out about the VOIP features and tools.
Setup is quick and simple. You need a computer with an internet connection and a phone in order to get started. If you choose to order IP phones these are plugged into your internet router when they arrive, or you can use the system through the SoftPhone application – using your internet browser to make calls with a headset or microphone and speakers. The RingCentral system includes an app for making calls on your Smartphone or tablet. There is, in addition, the option to use your existing phones to call on RingCentral. This requires connection with an adapter, which may or may not be complicated depending on the type of phones you have. Because there is no hardware to install you’ll be able to customize your calling settings and your virtual receptionist immediately, as well as receive calls.
The problem with a lot of VOIP systems for business is the confusing range of plans available where you need to choose based on a number of different factors and add on bundles and packages. RingCentral is simpler. If you have one user in your office system you pay around $39.99 a month. If you have more than one user and less than 20, you pay $29.99 per user. For between 20 and 100 users the cost is $21.99 per user, and more than 100 is $19.99 per person. All the plans have the same features; you’re just paying based on the number of people who use the network which makes it easier to manage a budget. A free trial is available if you want to test the service.
A good benefit with this provider is the unlimited calling you get to US and Canadian numbers. In addition each account gets a number of free minutes per month, with additional minutes charged at low rates. RingCentral also gives you unlimited internet fax services.
The service is a convenient way to connect office phones, Smartphones and remote workers and offers a number of different features to manage calls in a network. Set up different departments with separate numbers, greetings and different answering rules, forward calls to certain phones and create call queues. Every phone has a user profile and a direct dial number. An auto-receptionist manages things like hours of operation, greetings and call recording options.
You can often keep your old phone number or choose a toll-free number. In the case that you want to establish a presence in a particular local area you can add a phone number with one of the available local area codes.
The system includes all the features you would expect on a business phone network including caller ID, voicemail (the voicemail is visual on your PC), call forwarding, call recording, call screening, call logs, easy transfer between desk and mobile devices, telephone conferencing, and presence status.
Ease of use
The lack of hardware and no need for any installation makes it very easy to get started with RingCentral. You get an office network without having to change anything about your telephone hardware. You buy and set up the system online and the process is an easy walk-through set of instructions. If you want to make changes to how the system is configured – for example to add users or forward calls to a specific phone when you are on holiday – you do it through the online dashboard and you don’t need to reconfigure hardware or call a technician. With all the features in the same place this is a user-friendly operation.
RingCentral works with a high-speed internet connection with a minimum of 64kbps of bandwidth per call. The router to attach your desk phones may be a little difficult to install but everything else is simple.
Help & support
We found the customer support provision to be accessible and professional, with a range of ways to get in touch and find answers to your problems. RingCentral provides telephone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for technical questions and queries concerning your account. In addition there is a RingCentral KnowledgeBase with a collection of articles regarding different topics, a user forum populated by the RingCentral community, and FAQs. There is no live chat feature, unfortunately.
A complete calling system for small businesses that makes you look larger than you actually are, and probably more professional. This is not for the consumer but companies will benefit from the range of easy-to-use features and the functionality of a switchboard system without all the fiddly hardware and need for receptionists.
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