There are a number of cloud business phone and unified communications systems available in 2020. Businesses have the choice of landline, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, cloud-hosted or on-premises solutions. Consider monumental factors when choosing the right cloud-based phone system for your business requirement. Also, compare providers including RingCentral, Nextiva, 8×8, Vonage, Zoom, Dialpad, and more.
What is a cloud phone system?
A cloud business phone system is a telephone communication platform on the cloud which manages all inbound and outbound calls with a VoIP provider. Businesses prefer cloud phone systems for its rich functionality, fast implementation, and lower costs. It provides all functionalities needed to interact with customers, prospects, and teams using one communications platform. Benefits of cloud-based phone systems include quick setup, remote access, ease of use, cost-effectiveness, in-depth analytics, and reporting.
Choosing the right cloud-based phone system
Cloud business phone systems are increasingly replacing old PBX (Private Branch Exchange) hardware, with their versatile performance. In light of this, some of the factors to be considered for cloud-based systems:
- Ease of transition
- Sound quality
- Local coverage
- Remote work
- Automated call distribution (ACD) and interactive voice response (IVR)
Features of cloud business phone services in detail
1. Calling features
- Voicemail-to-email to gain better control over voicemail inbox.
- Do not disturb to ensure you are not interrupted. Callers are sent directly to voicemail in this feature.
- Auto-attendant to answer calls, and directing the caller to the concerned person or department.
- On-hold music for callers to hear while they wait on hold.
- Call reports to provide analytics on phone usage.
- Online management for administrators to add users, set phone numbers, review call reports, create ring groups, and see monthly statements.
Other features include – Speed dial, Call forwarding, Call recording, Call queues, Extension dialing, Call transferring, Speakerphone, and Personal directories.
2. Unified and collaborative communications
Unified communication platforms include conference calls, video, and web conferencing. Additionally – online faxing, text messaging, and instant messaging. Organizations and individuals can easily manage their communications, contacts, and all associated information, from the same application. It introduces the latest technologies and collaboration methods. Like screen sharing, file sharing, document editing, and webinars. Additionally, by including Team Collaboration features within a cloud phone system, providers are expanding the available toolset organizations have at their disposal
One of the strongest benefits of a cloud-based phone system is the ability to utilize and leverage mobility. As a matter of fact, mobility is another important aspect that today’s business phone systems and unified communications systems allow for. Available on iOS and Android mobile devices, this feature enables employees to tap into their business lines wherever they are.
4. API Capabilities
API capabilities are important to leverage to ultimately boost productivity coupled with efficiency. It is common for cloud phone providers to offer an extensive list of different integrations covering all different industries, applications, and features. Through API channels, organizations can implement video chatting services into their applications.
5. Customer engagement
Users can interact with customers on different channels, through voice, live chat, or email. Moreover, they can and have access to relevant information like customer history, call context, and AI-powered analytics that can predict outcomes.
Modern chatbots leverage AI to provide the best customer support possible. Equally, AI-based service offers Speech to Text, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Sentiment Analysis. Therefore, by analyzing context and real-time conversations, AI is capable of determining the emotions of each speaker. A real-world example is Vonage Business’ smart Chatbot (Vee). Furthermore, personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are also increasingly popular.
Best cloud business phone systems
This is one of the best business phone services. The VoIP service is hosted in the cloud and requires no special equipment or wiring. RingCentral has launched a new unified desktop app for both Windows and Mac computers. Moreover, the new app allows users to quickly switch between message, video, and phone solutions. Additionally, RingCentral features calendar integrations with Microsoft Office 365 and Google.
Dialpad is one of the more recent companies in the cloud PBX market. It provides features such as voice, video, and messaging options, from existing devices using softphone apps. Moreover, it has options for automation, web conferencing, and an AI-powered call center platform. One of the most exciting Dialpad features is Vi – voice intelligence. It monitors ongoing phone calls based on sentiment analysis.
This offers numerous options to connect with other services. It integrates with GSuite, Salesforce, Outlook, Office 365, Zendesk, and many other apps. Furthermore, it provides international service and GDPR compliant data storage.
This received the 2020 product of the year award for Vonage video collaboration solutions. Vonage Business Cloud provides users with video conferencing coupled with online collaboration. Moreover, the service offers businesses access to a web-based console. Subscribers can have access to a variety of plug-ins as well as services, such as ConnectWise, Google G Suite, and Microsoft Dynamics.
Zoom offers a convenient solution for virtual business meetings. If your team works remotely or you are looking for a tool to organize meetings with your clients that require a lot of sharing ideas, Zoom is the solution.
Rated the best cloud business phone system by U.S. News, Nextiva offers a large set of features. It comes with a simple web-based admin panel which makes it easy for small business owners to easily manage the unified communications platform. Additionally, Nextiva also offers CRM, Live Chat, online surveys, call analytics, and other solutions.
Furthermore, there are many other cloud phone systems to consider:
- Aircall comes with a number of integrations, such as SalesForce, Zendesk, Zoho, Freshdesk, and Shopify.
- Microsoft Phone System offers cloud-hosting calling, conferencing, chat. Moreover, it supports complete integration with the Office 365 software suite.
- Grasshopper offers a comprehensive cloud phone service platform for small businesses. Additionally, it integrates with Skype, LiveChat, Google Voice, Zapier, and Bitium.
What to Expect in 2020
Overall, cloud services have transformed and revolutionized the telecom industry to a great extent. In 2020, the persistent growth of cloud-hosted VoIP systems will continue to take hold. Moreover, projections from Statista reveal that the money businesses spend on using hosted-VoIP systems in 2020 will surpass spending with on-premises systems. That trend is projected to continue over the next five years. Another trend expected to take a high in 2020 is the increased incorporation of customer relationship management (CRM) systems in cloud-based phone solutions.
Hence, there are many factors to consider while choosing the best cloud business phone system. So, choose what is best for you and your teams, and take your business to the next level.