For our second installment in our Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) blog series, we are evaluating the leader in VoIP services, RingCentral. RingCentral is based in Belmont California and was founded in 1999.
RingCentral is an easy-to-use cloud-based product that offers a cloud phone, team messaging, online meetings, and an online fax.
A key feature of any VoIP solution is the ability to integrate with other applications. RingCentral integrates with Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Salesforce, MailChimp, Zapier and NetSuite.
When looking for a solution, one very important consideration is how the system handles International calling. International calling is one area where the major competitors have some key differentiators. The information in this article assumes the primary use of VoIP will be for domestic calls. RingCentral services all US and Canada area codes.
RingCentral allows you and your team to move away from a physical phone on your desk and use your cell phone and/or your PC to take over the role previously held by a desk phone. If this interests you, it can provide another great feature for cloud phone use where you no longer have the expense of a dedicated phone. If you prefer to continue using a traditional phone, you will be able to use RingCentral with many desk phones including analog phones. To use an analog phone, you will need to purchase a Cisco SPA-122 ATA. Of course, there are plenty of VoIP compatible phones available to choose from as well.
When our company moved from a traditional on-premise phone switch to our VoIP solution, a key feature for us was the ability to simultaneously and effortlessly forward an incoming call to another number, such as a cell phone. This feature works great with RingCentral and provides a better customer experience than dealing with voice options menus. In a traditional phone system, the ability to take a call in and then forward the call requires the use of two phone lines. With RingCentral, the decision about how many lines you need is gone. You simply sign up for the service and determine your number of your users. Each user can make individual calls or conference calls without regard for the number of lines required.
The video conference feature of RingCentral is built on the Zoom platform. At this point, many users are very familiar and comfortable with initiating and joining conference calls with Zoom. If you are not concerned with Zoom’s affiliation with China, then you will see this as another advantage of RingCentral.
As NetCenergy disbursed our 30+ employees during the pandemic, the ability to maintain 3-digit dialing to reach remote employees was very convenient and provided a seamless transition when it came to phone communications with our team.
The following is a description of key features available with RingCentral’s Standard ($24.99/month) plan.
- Voicemail and Greeting – Each user has the ability to setup personalized voice mail and greetings; including time limited greetings for vacation messages which will start and end based on dates that you provide.
- Video Conferencing – Using the Zoom platform, RingCentral allows you to host video calls for up to 100 callers.
- Unlimited audio conference calling – You are given a unique conference phone number and participant number to host unlimited conference calls.
- Unlimited Business SMS – Text messages can be sent to your same phone number.
- Toll-Free and Local Numbers – Utilize your existing toll-free or local numbers.
- Online Meetings – Basically this is video conferencing and as noted above, is powered by Zoom.
- Multi-level IVR – Integrated voice response allows callers to traverse your custom created menus.
- Mobile & Desktop Apps (iOS and Android) – Access your VoIP phone from your mobile or desktop applications, no need for a conventional desk phone.
- Internet Fax – Using the same phone number your customers can send a fax. You can even configure RingCentral to automatically send an incoming fax to a selected printer.
- Extensions – You can setup extensions for each phone user in your organization and reach them directly by dialing their short extension numbers.
- Call Recording – Easy instant recording of your calls for training or post-call review (both parties must be aware when recording is turned on).
- Call Forwarding – Forward calls to any extension, to an outside line, or directly to voicemail. The outside line can be any phone number in the US or anywhere in the world. (charges apply for forwarded calls outside of the US and Canada)
- Auto-Receptionist – Customize greetings and route incoming calls based on business hours, the date, or a date range. For example, you can establish automated answering rules for the holiday season, and then set them to revert automatically after the season is over.
- Third party Integrations (Google, Salesforce, etc) – this feature allows you to reduce app switching to send a message, make a call, or join a video meeting. Currently RingCentral integrates with over 200 applications.
These are just a few of the features that RingCentral has to offer. It’s important to note that most VoIP offerings do not offer an à la carte offering. Instead, they bundle many features into their standard package. Several of these features may not be needed by your organization, therefore, it behooves you to find the VoIP solution that has the right combination of required features and an affordable price point.
Next month, I’ll take a deeper look into RingCentral competitor 8 x 8.
Authored by Donald Nokes