No longer do small businesses suffer from limited options for internet-based phone calls. Today, there are many affordable cloud-based phone systems or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions laden with features.
Choosing the right one for your business can feel overwhelming.
The ideal choice varies by business, but understanding a few critical variables will help you narrow down your options.
If you're looking for RingCentral alternatives, you're in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of RingCentral and why you should consider an alternative solution for your business.
What Is RingCentral and How Does It Work?
RingCentral is a provider of SaaS solutions for businesses that support modern communications. It was founded in 1999.
The RingCentral cloud-based communication system provides a communication across several devices—including personal computers, and desk phones. The system allows for communication across channels such as voice, short messaging service (SMS), conferencing, messaging, online meetings, and fax.
RingCentral is a public company that provides a Cloud based alternative solution to big carrier company phone systems such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and others.
The Pros of RingCentral
Let's take a look at some of the service's main advantages.
You can connect to the RingCentral cloud phone system with your vendor-issued VoIP phones and headsets.
There is also RingCentral Office. It integrates your phone and with Microsoft, Google, Box, Salesforce, Okta, and ServiceNow, among others.
The Drawbacks of RingCentral
RingCentral isn't perfect, however. There are drawbacks to consider—starting with customer service complaints.
Poor Customer Service
There have been many complaints from RingCentral users that the quality of customer service is lacking. Users report that RingCentral's representatives often have difficulty answering questions and were even unresponsive at times.
Some customers report that they chose to sign up with RingCentral for certain features. Over time, features were removed, but the pricing of the plans did not change. These bait and switch tactics have led to many Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs complaints.
At times, users have reported lagging issues. This is regardless of having sufficient data and a reliable internet connection.
Poor Call Quality
Regardless of RingCentral's claims, many customers report issues with poor call quality.
Big corporations can be slow to act, as there are so many people required to sign off on processes and make decisions.
RingCentral is a big company, which means you may deal with slower-than-average response times when you experience issues with their service.
RingCentral's technology is focused on landline VoIP phones. Their technology may even be outdated, as mobile is now becoming more prominent.
When considering a VoIP solution, you must familiarize yourself with the pitfalls it entails. A VoIP's quality of service depends on many factors, including your hardware, broadband connection, your provider's service, the destination of your call, and other factors.
RingCentral Alternatives for Small Business
When running a small business, it's essential not to take significant risks. Online phone systems are virtually risk-free, and they offer better disaster recovery and resiliency.
When choosing a RingCentral alternative, you can take comfort in knowing your employees won't have to face network failures that traditional networks do.
RingCentral Alternatives for Startups
As a new startup, it's essential to keep costs low. When your business is unfunded, you must be cautious with any available resources. This is why a cloud phone system is ideal for the startup environment—you can adapt the system to fit your needs.
The right VoIP will scale with your business.
Examples of RingCentral Alternatives
You know you need call forwarding, caller ID, and voicemail, but what about spam blocking, an auto-attendant, or call transcription?
Some of these features will be included for free, while others may lead to additional fees.
So, before you commit to a particular phone service, list your requirements and features you want. Don't fall into the trap of opting for music on hold or conferencing capabilities because the service provider is offering those features for free.
Here's what to look for in a RingCentral alternative.
Cloud-based phone systems are ideal for businesses because they provide cost savings through lower operating costs. Online phone providers usually offer several free features such as three-way calling, call transfer, caller ID, and more—things you'd pay extra for when working with a traditional phone provider.
Online phone systems also allow you and your employees to work remotely. Your staff can take their devices with them anywhere with a reliable internet connection, ensuring that they can conduct business calls on the go if needed.
If your employees work in the field or travel frequently, there are significant advantages to using virtual phone numbers. You can also set up your phone system or second number more quickly when moving to a new office.
Look at your current telecommunication bills and the expenses you incur. Write down the features you pay for and compare them with the mobile cloud phone service offerings you need.
Consider the bundled services of your existing communication system, as well. Your phone line might be tied to a media streaming package or Internet plan, and you won't find these offerings in a virtual phone service.
As you're comparing services, take into consideration any charges for installation, support, and maintenance. Be sure to inquire about return policies, cancellation fees, and any usage limits.
Go through the pricing plans of each system you're considering with a fine-tooth comb. Read the fine print and decide which service offers the most bang for your buck.
Before settling on any particular service, be clear about the features that are "must-haves" versus "wants."
Some systems will offer a free second line with service, as well. More advanced features include visual voicemail and the ability to check voicemail from your email, phone, or web browser.
Does your company make international calls often? If so, consider a service that allows free minutes to the countries you call most often. If you call Europe every other week, consider a global plan with minutes allocated for Europe. Virtual phone services usually have low international rates, but you can save even more by paying for an international calling plan instead of by the minute.
Ease of Use
If you're not tech-savvy, you'll appreciate that cloud-based telephone systems are relatively easy to install and use. Many of these systems are plug-and-play capable, meaning you'll spend less time learning how to operate them than regular telephone systems.
When comparing services, demo each product if it's an option. Check out the user interface and experience as you go through your demo.
Does the layout make sense? Is it intuitive enough to help you find what you're looking for? It may not seem like a big deal now, but you'll be using this service every day. It's essential that you're happy with how it performs.
If this virtual phone line will be the primary way to keep in touch with prospective clients and team members, ensure that it's backed by timely customer support. You'll likely need assistance during the initial setup and integrating with other third-party software.
Some providers guarantee their response time and availability with service-level agreements, so you know exactly what you're getting and will receive support each time you make a request.
Cost of Ownership
When considering pricing, you must think beyond the upfront and monthly costs of each service. Calculating the actual cost of ownership for a virtual phone system involves several variables that will change as your business grows.
Before signing any contracts, ask the provider for an estimate of costs over a three-to-five-year period. Essential questions to ask include:
Necessary subscription costs (How many numbers will you need in year one year? Or three?)
Office moves (How much will a relocation cost? Will there be any downtime?)
Feature upgrades (Do you plan to add new components as your business expands?)
Hardware costs (Will you need to purchase new handsets in the future?)
Best RingCentral Alternative: iPlum
So now that you're aware of the drawbacks of RingCentral and you're looking for alternatives, it's time to evaluate your options. iPlum offers features and functionality to increase your team's productivity and ensure your business's success.
Here is what you can expect from iPlum.
Protection of Data
Instead of evaluating privacy settings, you can spend more time getting valuable work done. With iPlum, your data is safe, as we vow never to share personal information with any third-party providers. We'll also never use your information in our own advertisements.
HIPAA and Legal Compliance
If your company is in the healthcare industry, you know how vital client privacy is. You can be hit with costly fines if you don't adequately protect your customers' data.
Using iPlum, you can quickly build your virtual phone tree with custom welcome greetings and virtual extensions. You don't need to bother with recording and uploading audio files—we provide a high-quality text-to-speech feature to do this for you.
Auto Text Reply
Auto texts are messages drafted in advance about your products or services and are scheduled to be sent automatically to your prospects.
Text messages are more important than emails, and sending a text to your client after signing up with your service is an excellent way to welcome your customers. There isn't a better way to engage your customer base while keeping them in the know.
If you've set up client text messaging, you can use your iPlum virtual phone to set up auto-text replies.
Would you benefit from transcripts or recordings of your employees' calls with clients? iPlum offers call recording and can even ask your clients to provide legal consent before the call is recorded.
Domestic and International Functionality
If you frequently make international calls or travel for business, iPlum's service works domestically and internationally, so you won't skip a beat.
No Need to Change Carriers
iPlum can sync with your existing carrier so that there's no hassle in changing phone carriers—forget the days of carrying two phones.
How to Port Your RingCentral Number
If you're ready to get started, it's easy to transfer your RingCentral phone number to iPlum.
First, it's vital to unlock your number before porting to iPlum. This step is not required by all carriers (especially traditional mobile or landline carriers) so check with your current carrier to confirm before beginning the process.