Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice helps small businesses choose the right small business phone system software so they can save with VoIP and get the features they need.

Showing 1-20 of 205 products

GoToConnect

Jive Communications delivers a cloud-based unified communication solution to organizations of all sizes across the U.S. Jive Voice includes integrated products for business VoIP, video conferencing and contact center which are all... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 77 recommendations

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Nextiva Office

Nextiva is a business-focused VoIP phone system serving small businesses and enterprises. The Nextiva VoIP service provides users with a complete phone, chat, texting, and fax solution. Customers get more than phone service. They... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 65 recommendations

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RingCentral Office

RingCentral Office is a complete VoIP and PBX business phone system that brings all the basic and advanced features modern businesses require to a flexible cloud-based service with a very low upfront cost. Read more

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Recent recommendations: 60 recommendations

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Virtual Office by 8x8

Virtual Office is a collection of comprehensive web-based business VoIP solutions from offered by 8x8. Enterprise grade phone service, virtual meetings, mobile applications, virtual contact centers and more are available to help companies... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 50 recommendations

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Business Plus

Business Plus is a cloud-based VoiP solution created by PanTerra, which allows users to take or make calls from their office phone number, communicate with their team, and have file access, all from any device with an internet connection,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 34 recommendations

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FluentStream VoIP

FluentStream is a business phone solution designed for companies of all sizes. It offers call monitoring, telemarketing, IVR and reporting features within an integrated suite. The solution is available both in cloud-based and on-premise... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 33 recommendations

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Ooma Office

Ooma Office is a cloud-based VoIP solution that caters to small-medium sized businesses across various industry verticals that helps them to manage their business operations. For businesses of all sizes, Ooma provides advanced voice... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 31 recommendations

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Dialpad

Designed for organizations of any size, Dialpad Talk is a cloud-based communications platform that allows businesses to access voice, messaging, meetings and video from any computer, smartphone, or tablet. Other key features include... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 30 recommendations

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net2phone

net2phone’s cloud PBX VoIP phone solution enables businesses to communicate in a variety of methods, whether voice, texting, messaging or web chat, over an array of devices, in the office and on the go. The net2phone solution features... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

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Callhippo

CallHippo is a cloud-based call center solution that helps mid to large size businesses with workflow automation and virtual telephony. The platform enables users to give detailed analysis to customers through call recordings. CallHippo... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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Twilio Voice API

Twilio's Voice API is a fully programmable VoIP system that helps companies make, manage and route calls to a browser, app, phone and more. Key features include call monitoring, call transcripts, call routing, PBX, auto dialer / predictive... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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ClickITVoip

ClickITVoip is a cloud-based communication management system designed to help businesses engage with clients and employees via text messages, calls, video conferences and more. The platform includes an automated attendant, which automatically... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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RingCentral Engage Voice

RingCentral Engage Voice is a cloud-based contact center solution designed to help small to large enterprises automate and streamline outbound and blended communications between customers and call centers. It comes with a configurable... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Dixa

Dixa is a customer friendship platform that helps brands build stronger bonds with their customers through simple, unified and engaging conversations. Dixa allows your team to deliver instant and continuous service across phone, email,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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NICE inContact Hosted Call Center

NICE inContact is a SaaS-based call center software that helps businesses to maximizes the quality of leads and minimizes the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises of many features required to process inbound support requests... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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RingCentral Office

RingCentral Office is a cloud-based business phone solution that offers business communication tools for video, voice, fax and text. Core features of the solution include conferencing, auto-recording and unlimited long-distance and... Read more

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Five9 Cloud Contact Center

Five9’s Cloud Contact Center provides all the functionality of an on-premise telephony system with the lower cost, flexibility and seamless integration of a platform based in the cloud. Read more

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Versature

Versature’s cloud-based business VoIP services provide Canadian companies with unified communications and call analytics solutions to help manage their business operations. Versature’s key features include auto attendants, click-to-dial,... Read more

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Vonix Flex VoIP

Vonix flex is a business VoIP solution that provides hands-on support and reliable service with all business phone plans for small and medium businesses across the U.S. This cloud-based communication platform helps businesses connect... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

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PGi UCx Unified Communications

UCx, a new generation Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution, helps customers create connections with their employees, customers and shareholders. UCx provides a rich feature set including enterprise voice, a cloud-based... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: July 1, 2020

What is VoIP phone software?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems allow users to make voice calls over the Internet. It converts callers' voices to digital signals that travel over the internet, allowing people to make calls from their computers.

Features include Do Not Disturb status updates, voicemail to email transcription, bandwidth utilization, and call routing, recording, and conferencing.

Here's what we'll cover:

Common reasons small businesses shop for a new phone system

Many small businesses contact us every day, looking for advice as they search for a new phone system. Some are new businesses just getting started, while others are looking to replace an old or problematic system. The most common reasons they have are that they're:

  • Wanting to switch to VoIP
  • Relocating or adding new offices
  • Unhappy with current call quality
  • Looking for more features, such as an IVR
  • Needing a system that's more user-friendly
IVR designer screenshot in Five9 Cloud Contact Center
IVR designer in Five9 Cloud Contact Center

While there's a long list of reasons, there's an even longer list of systems and features addressing these common challenges. However, we find most small businesses require one or more of these core phone system capabilities:

Feature Function Benefit
PBX The central component of every multi-line phone system, the PBX acts as the switchboard, transferring and routing calls. It's also the component that lets users put callers on hold and have conference calls. It integrates most of the other features listed here. Provides commonly used functions that allow many phone extensions to share lines and work together as one system.
Auto attendant An Auto attendant greets inbound calls with basic information such as the the business's name, location, and hours, and also lets callers choose how their call will be connected. They often begin something like this: Thank you for calling Software Advice. Please choose from the following menu options... Answers and directs inbound calls. Helps small businesses present a larger, more professional image.
IVR The Interactive Voice Response feature is similar to, but more advanced than, Auto attendant. IVRs allow customers to access account information, schedule and make payments and complete other transactions requiring deeper interaction all without requiring an employee's time. Automates many basic call transactions, freeing employees from some repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
CTI Computer-Telephone Integration is a broad term for a collection of functions offered primarily with VoIP systems. CTI allows customer-specific information from the company's database to be automatically displayed on a computer whenever that customer is on the line. Streamlines call processing, saves employees from having to repeatedly look up basic information when customers call.
FMFM Find Me Follow Me is a feature that makes sure important calls get through to the right person, even if the right person isn't at their desk. FMFM lets users program a sequence of alternate numbers, including external and mobile numbers, to dial in case their desk phone rings and is unanswered. Ensures important calls are always answered. Valuable in sales-focused industries, where missing a call can mean missing a sale.
Softphone Many VoIP systems include software telephones, or "softphones." These are programs that run on office computers and, when used with a headset, allow calls to be made and received directly from the computer. Reduces equipment costs by letting offices purchase fewer desk phones.
Voicemail-to-email Another feature common to VoIP systems, this is an automated transcription service. When callers leave voicemail, this service transcribes the audio to written text and sends it as an email. Saves time listening to voicemail messages.
Conferencing Some PBX systems only allow for three-way calling, whereas others offer true conference calling with dedicated dial-in numbers. Facilitates internal and external collaboration.

Key considerations for small businesses

System complexity: Some businesses we speak with tell us they're replacing their existing phone system because it's too complicated and not user-friendly. Buying an overly complex system can be as bad as buying one that has too few features. Apart from paying for features that won't be used, advanced systems can present usability issues.

So before you begin shopping, start with a clear assessment of exactly which functions you need. Don't get caught up in a more-functions-is-necessarily-better mindset when comparing systems. Also, take advantage of the trials and demos offered by some companies to get a firsthand feel for exactly how user-friendly a system is.

VoIP or analog: Telephony technology is split between digital phone systems, which send voice calls over the Internet (Voice over IP, or VoIP), and older analog phone systems, which use traditional phone services. Though VoIP phones can call analog phones and vice versa, and there are hybrid systems that contain components of both, it's best for a business that's looking to start from scratch to choose one or the other. The vast majority of businesses are choosing VoIP.

But VoIP requires a reliable broadband Internet connection. So for businesses that don't have access to broadband, an analog system may be the only option. If you're unclear on how the two systems differ, this Guide to VoIP compares them in easy-to-understand language.

On-premise or hosted PBX: This isn't a choice all businesses will face. Small analog phone systems usually come with a simple hardware PBX that's kept on-site. And medium and large businesses often want the control of an on-site PBX, but they also have the IT budgets needed to maintain them.

Aside from these cases, most businesses should consider using an off-site or "hosted" PBX. It is an option on many small business VoIP systems and offered by many ITSPs. The big benefit with a hosted PBX is it can offer more advanced phone system functions, such as auto-attendants and IVRs, without the expense of purchasing and managing an on-site hardware PBX.

Lines and extensions: With an analog phone system you might, for example, pay your telco for two or four lines to allow your business to have that many simultaneous phone calls. For that to work, you'd need a two- or four-line analog business phone system, which are some of the most common analog systems on the market.

With VoIP systems, extensions can be added by simply connecting the office's internal computer network.

Hardware and special-use requirements: Businesses in certain industries or with unique workplace environments will have specific phone system requirements. Identifying which features are needed will help focus the search for the right phone system for your small business.

There are, for example, industry-specific systems for hotels, call centers, and hospitals. Though most small businesses will not be looking for specialized industry systems, they often do have special hardware requirements. Some need wireless handsets that can operate outdoors or a long distance away from a base station. Others don't use handsets, but instead require wireless headsets with long battery life. Knowing what is needed before you begin will make the selection process easier.