eVoice – owned by j2 Global, the same company behind eFax, KeepItSafe and Speedtest.net – has been on the U.S. and Canadian market since its foundation in Los Angeles in 2000. This VoIP service provider is intended for sole proprietors and smaller businesses, with the choice between 4 cost-friendly pricing plans that hold the knowledge and power of the bigger virtual phone system companies. When you become a subscriber of eVoice for a longer period or for just the 30-day long free trial, you not only get local, toll-free or ported numbers for free, but you receive all features you need too; from several call handling options like call forwarding, holding, blocking, transferring to even conference calling. You also get various voicemail options, answering rules, auto-attendants and other customizable features that you can manage from your account using a computer or on the go using the mobile apps. eVoice also gives you the option to purchase additional features like two-way faxing, call recording and live receptionists to make your business seem truly professional.
eVoice Video Introduction
Basically eVoice has all features a decent business VoIP service needs – although some handy features like true voicemail transcription, two-way faxing, web/video conference calls and call recording are only included if you pay extra fees. Still, the most important call related features are all present: you can forward, transfer, schedule or block calls, see the call logs and get notified when you receive a call or a fax. You can set up various answering rules, customize your auto-attendant (which can be replaced by live, trained receptionists for extra, custom fees), record greetings or use the default ones by eVoice and receive business related text messages and start conference calls with almost a 100 participants.
If you need to customize anything from the greeting message, the click-to-call widgets to the extensions and the phone numbers (or you want to check your voicemail boxes, your inbound faxes etc.) you simply need to access your fully cloud-based account. With the account, the homepage of which can be customized in almost any way you want, you will never be out of reach again as eVoice can be accessed from your computer, a mobile browser or the iPhone/Android app.
The call related features of eVoice are pretty impressive. You get the usual “suspects” like call forwarding to different numbers (even when you’re abroad), routing the call until someone picks up the phone (with simultaneous or sequential ringing), and transfer your calls to a different location within the office. You can set up time periods when your calls are automatically forwarded to voicemail, which you can then forward via email or get notified thereof in an email or push notification. Furthermore, thanks to the advanced call scheduling, you are allowed to decide where to direct your calls when you are in the office. You can also determine the caller ID your callers will see, but they cannot hide their numbers from you, so you can decide whether to accept the call or block numbers for good. eVoice also supports call queuing, which is accompanied by the option to select your own hold music.
There are other, advanced features too. First, there is conference calling that allows up to 94 people to join a single call by dialing a specific number. You can make outbound calls even when you are not in your office and set up countless answering rules (including those asking clients to provide their names). In eVoice you can also create a directory so your callers can dial your co-workers by name or set up a direct dial number for them. You are able to replace the existing voicemail box of your devices to that of eVoice and even receive inbound text messages. And last, but not least, eVoice allows its clients to customize and create click-to-call widgets which you can place on your website, emails, blogs etc. so callers can immediately contact you without dialing.
Phone System Management
Despite its many outstanding features, the desktop account, which logs you out if you are inactive, looks rather bland due to a design that dates back to the 2000s. However, it perfectly serves its purpose: the homepage can be customized to direct you immediately to the four most important subpages: voicemail, call routing, usage and phone system management. In the voicemail section you can see your messages, listen to them (after a double-click), get them transcribed (for an extra fee), and immediately call back the caller – even though the account does not support softphone. With call routing you can set up when and which numbers should be rang and in which order, or you can send all calls to voicemail right away.
In the account you can also set up minor things like the outbound caller ID, the greetings, email notifications, put certain numbers on speed dial, manage users, the phone numbers, auto-attendants and the rules related thereto. However, two major features – conference calling and faxing – are pretty limited. Conference calling is not that problematic, but if you want the more advanced web conferencing solution, you have to pay an extra. The same is true for faxing: even though you can receive them and forward them to a predetermined email address in PDF or TIFF, sending faxes is out of question unless you pay for it. And to make things worse, recording your calls or even sending and receiving business related text messages (via SMS) also requires further “donations” from you.
eVoice is one of the few companies that don’t charge you for porting your number from another service. However, keep in mind that due to the throughput time you get a temporary number until your old number is set up.
If you want a new number, you are lucky, because the process is relatively easy – whether you choose a local or a toll-free number. When you set up a local number, you just have to choose the state and the major city, while choosing a toll-free number always starts with picking one of the 6 prefixes (including 800). Furthermore, you can easily add new numbers later in your eVoice account within the amount determined by your subscription (see below).
However, true 800 numbers are out of the question, while vanity and/or international numbers are always an extra: the former has a one-time $30 fee, while the latter is $29.95 per month.
Good news: no matter which option you choose, whether it’s a mobile browser or the Android/iPhone app, you can easily manage your account from a mobile device. Even better news: none of the features are limited within the browser version/app. There are a few catches though.
Even though the mobile version of the site is completely functional, it doesn’t adapt to mobile screens well, unless you hold your smartphone in portrait mode or you use a tablet. The catch with the mobile app is that there is no catch: it is simple, straightforward, works under 3G/4G/LTE networks, allows you to customize your home screen, and displays the most important functions like the keypad, the call log, your messages, and the contact list. The app is also capable of treating your personal and business voicemails separately, creating speed dial shortcuts, and giving you the option to use your eVoice number as the caller ID.
Theoretically, no third-party software is integrated with eVoice. However, other j2 Global products and their features are linked to eVoice and vice versa:
eFax Online Faxing
The true online fax service of j2 Global, eFax is capable of turning your computer or mobile phone into a fax machine to send and receive faxes, attach electronic signatures thereto and share large files.
FuseMail Hosted Email Solution
This software is capable of encrypting your emails, filter all kinds of spam, and archive your mails whether you use it from a PC, laptop or a mobile device.
KeepItSafe Online Backup Service
When disaster strikes and you need a quick recovery service for affordable, customized prices then KeepItSafe is the right choice for you.
campaigner Integrated Email Marketing
If you need an integrated email marketing service, campaigner helps you with engagement tracking, ROI measurement and sales streamlining.
eVoice’s pricing policy is divided into two major categories: Professional and Small Business. However, the latter is further divided into 3 subcategories that only differ in subtle ways. Before we continue, there is one thing: all plans come with 2 lines, have all features with the option to upgrade the account with extras and a 30-day free trial.
The Professional plan, intended for consultants and freelancers, is $12.99 per month, and includes 300 minutes, 2 extensions and 6 numbers. The prices of the 3 Small Business plans depend on the minutes, extensions and phone numbers. For $29.99 per month you get 1,000 minutes, 5 extensions and 15 numbers; for $49.99 per month you get 2,000 minutes, 10 extensions and 30 numbers; while for $79.99 per month you receive 4,000 minutes, 15 extensions and 45 numbers.
There are some extra charges though. For instance overage charges are $0.039 per minute, getting a professional greeting is $25, while the fax via email or the voicemail-to-text feature is $1.95 per user per month. Call recording is at least $5.95 per user, sending and receiving business related text messages is $4.95 per user for 150 messages and the web conference feature is $19.95 per month.
eVoice is one of the few companies that provide true 24/7 customer support, but its methods are a tad questionable: for example, only Small Business subscribers are entitled for “VIP support”. Through eVoice’s customer service you can submit a support ticket via the contact module or, and this is the most preferred contact method, initiate a call. In fact, the phone support is especially important, because this is the only way to cancel your subscription. Although live chat is only supported if you have sales related questions, you also have the option to leave a message on the company’s Twitter or Facebook page as all questions asked thereat were promptly answered.
There is also a rather messy support page with the most important features of the service explained in great details, and the existence of the FAQ is questionable due to the detailed nature of the support page. However, if you prefer an audiovisual explanation of the features, eVoice is ready to help you with video tutorials uploaded to the company’s website and its YouTube page.
Although eVoice has some nice features, we still think it is a hit or miss. The company offers a complete virtual phone system with a more than satisfactory feature range available to users on all of its plans. All of the needed call handling features are there, with some advanced features like business text messages readily available. You don’t have to pay a nickel for number porting, you have the option to replace your auto-attendant with a live receptionist, and you are able to manage your account from any device that has a browser or from the two apps. By far the biggest problems are that certain features require an extra fee, and the different treatment of subscribers when they turn to the beyond average support. Sadly the account manager is quite lackluster, and true 800 numbers are not supported at all. eVoice is not perfect, but if you accept the limitations during your 30-day free trial, chances are you will be satisfied with the services of this VoIP provider.