RingCentral Virtual Phone Systems


RingCentral, like Grasshopper, is another leader in the virtual, or “cloud”, telephone systems market aimed at helping small businesses deploy and manage their phone networks in an easy, quick, and inexpensive manner. The company was founded in 2003 and has since brought on over 300,000 businesses of all sizes to their cloud platform and advanced infrastructure to handle their communication needs. You may be wondering how these virtual, Internet-based phone systems work. Here’s a useful introductory video:

RingCentral boasts an extensive and impressive line of products suited for the single entrepreneur or professional all the way to a company with a headcount in the hundreds or thousands. One of the things that makes virtual systems like this so great is that you can easily start out small and scale up as needed, without any problems. And since it’s Internet-based, your phone lines can span any location in the world, allowing you and your workers to take care of business regardless of where they are.

An Overview of the Features

  • Flexible phone numbers: Choose between toll-free or local phone numbers.
  • Free publication of your business information and contact details in national and local directories.
  • VoIP calling: Make and receieve phone calls anywhere there is Internet access.
  • Caller ID control: Manage how you appear on caller ID when making calls, set up answering rules based on caller ID information, and much more.
  • Text messaging (SMS):  Unlimited text messages between colleagues and departments.
  • Smart phone support: Native iPhone, Android, and Blackberry applications are available bringing the complete power of their platform to your mobile device.
  • Voicemail, including the ability to forward voicemail messages to email and manage them visually from your online account.
  • Customizable, branded greetings for your callers.
  • Advanced call management: Including call forwarding, conferencing, screening, recording, and logging.
  • Intercom or page desk phones between colleagues and office locations.
  • Share a single phone number for multiple phones, allowing you to take calls from all of your devices.
  • Unlimited extensions: Add as many extension phone lines as you need for your entire team.
  • Professional presence: Configure a virtual receptionist to answer calls and present callers with their extension options. Choose the hold music your callers will listen to while they wait to be transferred.
  • Internet faxing: Send and receive faxes from your computer or phone.
  • Much more..

Additional Benefits

  • While you can use your computer or phone to make, receive and manage calls, you can also purchase desk, receptionist, conference, and cordless phones. Other hardware available are pagers, intercoms, adapters, networking gear, and anything else you might need to expand your phone network.
  • Third-party integration: RingCentral seamlessly integrates with a variety of external business applications, such as Box, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, and Salesforce CRM.

Pricing & Trials

The pricing tiers are available in two primary categories: Professional and OfficeProfessional is geared towards the individual entrepreneur or small team looking to easily set up a phone line and system for their business. These packages are great if you’re running a store and want to provide your customers with a support number to call, for example, while remaining organized and looking professional. Office is aimed at small businesses with one or more locations, or a team of remote workers, looking to set up a complete, company-wide phone system.

The Professional packages do have limited features but will most likely cover everything you’ll need at this stage. You can always upgrade later if you need to. The packages start at $9.99/month and go to $24.99/month, allowing between 2 and 10 extensions, and 300 and 3000 minutes per-month.

The Office packages contain everything except faxing, which you’ll have to pay for separately if you need it. The packages range from $24.99/month per user to $64.99/month per user.

free 30 day trial is available for all packages and tiers. Their site also includes a vast amount of videos that explain all they offer and walk you through their platform as well as an interactive demo, which we’ll show below.

Quick Tour

We took a quick tour through the RingCentral live demo available on their site. Below are some of the highlights of their platform interface. We encourage you to visit their site and try for yourself because there are far too many features to display here.

After logging in to your account, you’re brought to the main Overview page which acts as a dashboard to view all of the latest activity.

RingCentral Dashboard Overview

Here is where you manage your phone system, including the users, their extensions, the call features such as screening, greetings, hold music, forwarding, redirecting, and more.

RingCentral Phone System Management

Their Messages interface gives you a familiar experience as that of email where you can manage your voicemails and text messages.

RingCentral Messages Inbox

You can even manage all of your personal and group contacts.

RingCentral Contact Manager

Final Thoughts

We are very impressed with what RingCentral has to offer. They are, by far, the most professional and enterprise-ready virtual phone system that we’ve come across so far. But, for the solo entrepreneur and very small team, we still recommend Grasshopper as it’s a much simplier, straight-forward, and less expensive option. We also find the RingCentral interface a bit confusing. But, this is still an incredible option and one you should still consider even if you’re small because of it’s obvious ability to scale up and accommodate a business or any size.

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