Although a lot of companies have gotten into the VoIP market, Vonage remains the dominant provider in the industry. Their residential VoIP service, which is priced at $25.99, is a particularly attractive option. Although some competitors can beat Vonage’s price for residential VoIP, the full range of choices that come with Vonage’s service is truly exceptional.
Vonage’s base price for commercial service is $39.99 but in recognition of the fact that every customer is looking for a different solution the company allows an incredible degree of customization. The basic bundle comes with more than 40 features, and you have the option of adding more than a dozen additional ones. You can select a “virtual receptionist” package that greets incoming calls with an audio phone tree, for example.
A toll-free number is included as part of the baseline package, and adding multiple lines to your account entitles you to significant discounts. Alongside the fact that your calling is unlimited and you aren’t charged for long distance calls (in the United States or Canada). This enormous range of low-cost service is a significant factor in making Vonage such a popular VoIP provider.
If you need hardware to go along with your service, Vonage also supplies routers and phones. This makes it easy to expand your phone network and equip all of your employees with reliable hardware — a perfect arrangement for fast-growing startup companies.
Another great feature of Vonage’s VoIP service plan is that you don’t need to commit to any of the extra features when you first purchase a phone package. When you’re starting a brand new business, for example, you might need nothing more than the basic service package and one line. If your business is successful, you can keep your existing plan and add on the features that you find most helpful over time, including call recording, call groups, virtual mailboxes, paging groups, and additional numbers — even distributed across multiple facilities.
In fact, Vonage’s service model is based exclusively on delivering a comprehensive communications solution for your company. They don’t even offer various plans for individual customers. Commercial clients appreciate the all-inclusive nature of a Vonage phone plan, and the lack of any binding contracts allows them to add or subtract services and scale up or down whenever it becomes necessary.
With a Vonage account, you have full access to a comprehensive service interface from any Internet-enabled device. The only potential drawback to this is a lack of user-friendliness for first-time customers; the sheer breadth of the options available to you can be overwhelming at first. It can take some time to figure out just which menu items are relevant to your business. Making an effort is well worth it, though. Simply exploring the options available through your account can teach you a lot about Vonage’s full range of services. You may spot some items that your business is going to need in the future.
Setting aside the issue of the overstuffed account interface, the rest of the steps required to set up a Vonage account are incredibly easy. If you’re using Vonage’s hardware, you’ll find that it’s all straightforward plug and play gear. Anyone with a basic working familiarity with computers should be able to get it up and running in minutes.
After you’ve familiarized yourself with the account interface (daunting as that task can be), you’ll find it very easy to manage your account’s features and lines. Since the admin panel is cloud-based and Vonage has outstanding mobile integration, you can review and change your account from the field just as quickly as you can sitting behind your desk. If you forgot to switch your personal line to call forwarding before leaving on a business trip, for instance, you could easily make that adjustment from the road.
When it comes to technical support, Vonage delivers excellent customer service. One potential drawback is that their support department for business VoIP customers isn’t available for free 24 hours a day, though. If you need emergency assistance outside their operating hours (8 AM – 11 PM EST), you’ll have to pay an extra service charge.
Vonage support techs can use remote assistance techniques to help you handle hardware configuration and other issues. This is a brilliant feature to have if your business lacks a dedicated IT staff and you’re not a technical wizard yourself.
Unfortunately, Vonage doesn’t offer you all of the support options you might want. The company doesn’t have live chat support, which would be handy for getting quick questions answered. While there’s an FAQ and a knowledge base available on their site, they charge extra for adding that to your account. It’s no replacement for live chat, and many other tech companies provide this helpful feature at no cost.
Vonage takes special care to make sure their system is just as usable through mobile devices as it is with desktop computers and phones. The company provides apps for both iOS and Android which give you full access to all of the features of your account.
Virtually any small or mid-sized business should find Vonage Business to be more than capable of meeting their communications needs. Their great flexibility, combined with the quality and reliability of their service, makes them a great long-term choice for phone service. Just remember that mastering the account interface can take a little time.