For our fifth installment in our Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) blog series, we are evaluating Nextiva. Nextiva is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and was founded in 2006.
Nextiva’s service offering consists of three pricing levels: Essential (as low as $17.95/month), Professional ($21.95/month) and Enterprise ($31.95/month). The Essential level offers unlimited voice calling, unlimited internet fax (one virtual fax number per account), 24×7 support and other optional add-ons. The other two services include the same cloud-based phone system, free local and toll-free number, voicemail, unlimited calling to US and Canada, unlimited texting and video and audio meetings.
The following is a list of key features available with Nextiva’s Professional plan. I have added a brief description of the feature for your edification:
- Voicemail and Greeting – Personalized voice mail and greetings. Messages can be received or forwarded as a downloadable email attachment.
- Video Conferencing and Audio conference calling – INTERNAL Nextiva allows you to host video calls for up to 16 participants and up to 250 participants on audio.
- Up to 12,500 toll-free minutes/month
- Team Chat and Messaging – Text messages can be sent to your same phone number. Your clients have the convenience of one number to reach you.
- Mobile & Desktop Apps – Load the softphone app on your smartphone to make or take phone calls from your office phone or cell phone.
- Custom caller ID – Lets the person you are calling know who you are.
- Spam Caller protections – The system can identify spam callers and automatically reject those calls
- Call Forwarding – Forward calls to any extension, to an outside line, or directly to voicemail using Nextiva’s application.
- Auto-Attendant – Customize greetings and route incoming calls based on business hours, the date, or a date range.
- Call Flip – allows you to continue your active call using a different device. You can flip from your mobile phone to your desk phone and back again.
- Push to Talk – Allows intercom-like functionality between managers, employees and colleagues who are on the system
If you opt for enterprise, you receive full phone and CRM integration These are just a few of the features that Nextiva has to offer. Nextiva can also be setup to automatically reject any call that comes through with the caller ID blocked or displaying as a private number.
I really like the custom music on hold feature. This allows you to upload an audio file offered by Nextiva to play for your customers while they wait. Whether they are on hold, in a queue, or being transferred, you have three music options to choose from.
When considering a VoIP solution, it’s important to understand which features you are going to leverage with the system. For example, you might notice that Nextiva’s video conferencing features are not as robust as other VoIP solutions. If your organization uses other tools for video conferencing like Microsoft or Cisco’s Webex Teams, or if your organization has an investment in Zoom, you should disregard the features of the VoIP video conferencing add-on and evaluate the offering based on the actual features you will use.
As you look under the covers at different solutions, there are two other factors that many of us don’t think to ask until we’ve committed to the solution. The first is around stated service level guarantees. It’s important to understand how they determine their uptime estimates. When conducting business, uptime is critical to maintain the level of availability that your clients expect. Many VoIP solutions use AWS or other international hosting facilities and contract for two sites. A major differentiation with Nextiva is that they own their own infrastructure with eight points of presence. This provides them with more control and more protection against unplanned outages.
Finally, there’s the issue of customer service. We’ve all experienced the frustration in trying to reach helpful, knowledgeable customer service. There are some services where I am convinced that it is impossible to actually talk to anyone. With Nextiva, their customer service has received accolades and their support personnel are all US based.
Next month, I’ll take a deeper look into RingCentral, 8×8, Intermedia, and Nextiva’s competitor, Jive.
Authored by Donald Nokes