RingCentral provides a one-stop cloud-based solution to small and medium-sized businesses that have unmet business telephone and fax needs. And that “cloud-based” aspect of what they offer portends to save you some serious coin, as we will soon show you. If the current, jerry-rigged system you put in place following a brief, perfunctory call to your land-line operator is being overwhelmed, the solution to your problems may be at hand.
The company’s flagship product, RingCentral Office, combines a hosted phone system with advanced call and fax management, reliable VoIP and fax service, and full-featured IP phones that arrive at your doorstep pre-configured and ready to ring. Let’s go step-by-step in explaining the advantages of such a system.
First, it’s an Internet-based phone system. The sound quality problems that plagued Web-based phone systems was solved long ago, and the only critical difference that remains between land-lines and Internet phones today is price. The typical Internet phone service is on average about half of the price, or less, of the average cost of a land-line system. And while with other Internet phone systems there is the concern that if your Internet goes out, your phone system temporarily dies with it, RingCentral has produced an innovation that avoids this by enabling their system to route everything through your cell phone service during the outage. What’s not to love?
The advantages of such a system are numerous. For one thing, users are able to connect their offices, remote locations, and their mobile employees all within the same phone system, without being limited by their actual physical location. And while conventional phone systems must be activated, configured, and set up on-site, a Web-based system can perform all of those functions online, and this company does just that.
The firm offers it “Office” suite of services for larger businesses and a “Professional” suite for smaller ones. Both products are phone systems that can be set up to work in the same manner that you do. You can connect your office, your remote employees, and you mobile phone users under one system, and their system can easily support a number of locations, and can add locations and users with no difficulty. You can also change the rules you utilize for answering or forwarding calls, and you can do so at any time, and from any location. You will also be able to integrate your system with your existing telephones and mobile devices.
Subscribers to the system never need to miss a call or a fax transmission, and essentially remain connected to their phone system both in and out of the office. Some of us would say that remaining always connected can be a disadvantage, but when that one critical call comes in and you can get it on your mobile phone because it’s connected to your Web-based phone system, that can make all the difference.
And with the unlimited minutes, and a low (or at least far lower than conventional) monthly charge, businesses will be able to reduce their operating costs.
Now, if your business is on the smaller side, you may want to try their Professional product, which is an all-in-one business communication solution with phone and fax, and is just what the doctor ordered for connecting mobile and phone devices anywhere for smaller operations.
Larger businesses will naturally gravitate toward their Office product, which does everything the Professional product does, and throws in text, online meeting, and conferencing capabilities. Need to bring the group together for a Monday morning staff meeting? Until now, that would require a separate contract with a software provider that supports such conferencing over the Internet. With RingCentral’s Office product, you are already using the Internet for your telephonic needs, and the shift to conferencing is just a matter of a bit of coding that the company’s IT professionals have already incorporated in the product.
To get an actual quote, the company asks you to submit a request, and after you detail your firm’s particular needs, they will be able to provide you with a price. The site makes the general statement, however, that the firm’s prices are comparable to other VoIP systems, and rarely more than half of what a conventional land line costs.
The company does indicate that its clients are charged only a flat monthly fee, and are not required to sign any contract, and can cancel at any time. Just pay as you go, and stop when you want. The company is betting that their superior product is a sufficient guarantee of customer loyalty.
The company indicates that all of the technical difficulties associated with setting up a business telephone system are handled by them, and your job is only to pick of the phone to answer calls and make them. Because the system is cloud-based, its core technology rests on the global network, and this provides the system with added functionality. The actual computing that supports the system is distributed among multiple secure data centers all over the Web, and this removes the need for high levels of capital investment by RingCentral, and the need to charge clients to recoup such a major investment.
The firm knows that many of its clients are taking a leap of faith – but really a leap of reason – by switching to an Internet-support telephone system, and it makes that jump easier by offering 30-day money back guarantee, which takes the risk out of pursuing a trial. And the phones that you are provided with can be returned for a full refund within 90 days, so long as they are in good condition. There are no setup or activation fees, unlike a famous, formerly monopolistic conventional telephone company we know, and you can obtain as many lines as your business needs.
You can transfer your existing phone numbers to the company’s system, avoiding any disruption in your relationships with customers, suppliers or vendors, although this “porting” process will take between two and four weeks, depending on how quickly your current provider releases the numbers in question.
The comments we found were broadly favorable, and were about evenly divided between customers who were happy with the smooth and comprehensive functionality of the system, and customers who were happy with the cost savings. Significantly, there were no complaints about voice quality or dropped calls. A number of commenters specifically mentioned that during Internet outages, the system switched seamlessly to their mobile phones, supporting continuing operation during the outage through the still-operating cell phone system.
The Internet seems to be the gift that keeps on giving, and RingCentral has figured out how to bring improved, and cheaper, telephone services to business clients supported by Internet technology, and with a mobile phone backup to keep the system running during Internet outages. And the systems they provide are well-tested and sufficiently robust to ensure smooth operation. With the added benefit of an all-in-one, turnkey solution that requires no configuration or setup by the owner , it’s clear that the company has hit on a winning formula.
It’s increasingly likely that systems of this type represent the standard for business telephone functions in the future. And we find this company to be a solid performer in this new, emerging space. For whom does the Bell Toll? It tolls for those who want to save money and enjoy improved service. Who would have thought that the Internet would start muscling out Ma Bell?