Now more than ever, businesses need reliable telephony services to communicate with their clients, partners, and stakeholders in a global community.
With the rise of online services, all industries face a heavier customer reliance on telephone systems in the absence of brick-and-mortar stores.
Telephony has come a long way since its humble beginnings as Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone in 1876. Deriving its name from the Ancient Greek words tele (far) and foni (voice), telephony services today allow you to hear voices from afar through many channels.
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What is a Telephony Service?
Inbound call center services are one kind of telephony service that allows customers to make inbound calls to businesses to find information. Call center agents or representatives are on the line to support each customer.
While you might think inbound call centers are limited to retail and customer service, many businesses use them, such as legal, healthcare, real estate, and other industries. Companies also use them internally to increase collaboration, productivity, and efficiency within internal teams.
What telephony services are available today, and how do they compare with one another? In this article, we review the eight best telephony services and vendors on the market in 2021.
What Are the Different Types of Telephony Services?
Traditional, On-Premises PBX
A traditional phone system entails a physical, private branch exchange (PBX) box connecting and routing calls. Essentially, a call center using this system would have a physical wire connecting each phone in the center to one central PBX.
IP BPX Telephony Service, or VoIP
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, also known as an internet telephony system. This telephony service entails making calls with a broadband internet connection instead of traditional phone lines or voice circuits. Many inbound call centers use VoIP solutions to connect with clients, as you can use it to call anyone with a telephone number, local or long-distance, provided you have an internet connection and an upgraded phone to do so.
Also known as cloud telephony, cloud VoIP is a modern telephony system that many companies adopt today. With Cloud VoIP, you can outsource the phone service completely to another company, allowing you to focus on your primary business tasks instead of spending time and money managing call staff or renting a call center space.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud Telephony?
As mentioned above, Cloud Telephony is one of the more modern takes on telephony services. It offers both businesses and customers immense benefits, such as:
No Equipment or Maintenance Needed
Businesses that use cloud telephony don’t need any on-site equipment, and thus don’t require hardware maintenance. Keeping all business communication on a cloud accessible by employees through mobile devices and laptops also saves businesses space as cloud telephony doesn’t need physical office space.
Companies can streamline their phone operations through a cloud telephony service. With user-friendly, easy ways to collaborate in one platform, employees and agents can spend less time on hardware issues and other limitations and more time on priority projects.
Cloud telephony certainly has upfront costs when it comes to user subscriptions and software. However, the flexibility it offers removes the need for businesses to invest in big office spaces, saving thousands of dollars in rent.
8 Best Telephony Services and Platforms
Here are 8 of the best telephony services and platforms.
Fastcall is the #1 Salesforce Native App for Phone, SMS, and Video. Developed by Salesforce subject matter experts, Fastcall is the ultimate cloud-based telephony service for businesses that seek seamless business communication integration with Salesforce. Fastcall also offers voice recordings, reports, and analytics to help you improve your strategy.
They offer exciting features like Callme, a phone automation that gives customers estimated wait times for call-backs, and Intercall, a productive telephony service for employees, using video conferencing, screen sharing, dial-to-call, and real-time messaging.
- Custom features and dashboards to fit your business’ needs
- Explicitly designed for Salesforce, offering seamless integration
- #1 Salesforce Native App for Phone, SMS, and Video
- Customer recognition for improved efficiency
- Worldwide calling and omnichannel support
- Concurrent calls
- Call recording and live listening to improve customer service strategy
- No negative reviews on Salesforce Appexchange
Custom pricing available for tailored packages.
Nextiva’s telephony service allows for call routing and Interactive Visual Response (IVR), offering customers quick real-time service and autonomy in choosing the communication channel they receive their service. Customers can communicate via text message or live chat through IVR instead of waiting on hold on a phone call. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak applauded Nextiva’s services.
- Unlimited calling across Canada and USA, great for remote offices
- Chatbot to direct callers
- Integrates with Salesforce with highest Enterprise plan
- Voice recording and analytics with Enterprise plan
- Conferences with up to 9 participants, allowing for unified communication
- Poor or slow customer service in most recent reviews
- Missed calls and messages from customers
- Lack of flexibility in changing contract terms
People love Vonage for its easy integration with Salesforce and robust analytics capabilities to assess employee and customer interactions.
- Designed for Salesforce, resulting in solid integration capability with Salesforce Omni-Channel
- Excellent reviews for customer service
- Conversation Analyzer offers valuable insights and analytics with transcription
- No technical requirements apart from DID (direct inward dialing) or DDI (direct dial-in) for each employee
- No notable, recent, negative reviews
Starting at $19.99/user/month
Cisco was founded in 1984 and is a veteran in the contact center industry. They use cloud analytics and artificial intelligence to improve customer experiences with inbound and outbound calls.
- Integrated agent desktop on Salesforce
- Improved FCR rates with Salesforce integration
- Unified Reporting with Salesforce data
- Predictive analytics
- No ratings on Salesforce Appexchange, indicating a lack of evidence or insight into its integration
- External reviews cite slow service, bugs, and glitches
- Limited call analysis features
Free with a Webex Contact Center license.
Ooma is an easy-to-use telephony service that offers intuitive VoIP phone services. Other features include holding music, video conferencing, a virtual receptionist, and a free mobile telephony feature.
- Cloud portal
- Easy set-up
- Mobile and desktop capability
- Voice and Video solution in one place
- 24/7 customer support
- Unlimited calling in Canada and USA
- Limited basic features
- Poor sound quality
- Wi-fi add-on is an additional $49.99
Starting at $19.95/user/month
Dialpad is an innovative business communication tool that uses artificial intelligence to strengthen client and employee relationships. Its Dialpad Voice Intelligence (VI) captures data, transcribes conversations, and analyzes information to create reports that inform customer service strategies.
Other features include real-time synchronization, concurrent calls, customer history analysis, and coaching.
- Strong integration with Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud
- Real-time transcription
- User-friendly interface
- Some reviewers cite connectivity issues and improper call logging
Starts at $25/user/month
Fuze has ten years of experience in the VoIP field and offers its clients global calling across 110 countries. Fuze’s platform uses an intelligent cloud architecture with special security certifications to protect your data.
They also offer more price packages than any other service on this list (except Fast Call, as we offer custom packages for our clients).
- Works with Windows, iOS, and Android
- Great audio quality
- Flexible pricing options
- Quick and effortless collaboration with team members
- Multiple points of contact for issues
- Multiple reviewers cited billing issues
- Occasional freezing in video conferencing
- Slow customer service
Fuze Meetings: $15/user/month
Fuze Calling: $25/user/month
Fuze Pro: $35/user/month
Fuze International: $45/user/month
Fuze Unlimited Global: $65/user/month
Founded ten years ago, Phone.com prides itself on offering an affordable business enterprise telephone system for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. They offer video conferencing, VoIP phones, and mobile applications for their services.
- Salesforce integration with Pro plan
- Salesforce integration is costly
- Limited minutes for the basic plan
If you’re a small or medium business looking to invest in a telephony solution, we’d love to help. Fast Call offers tailored packages to ensure our clients get the most out of our telephony services solutions. Contact Fast Call today for a consultation.