- Simple account management
- Handy desktop and mobile apps
- Good, useful integration options
- Business texting
- Unlimited minutes
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No outbound faxing
- Differences between iOS and Android apps
Grasshopper, a VoIP service ‘built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs’, intends to do more than just move phone lines to the cloud: its mission is to provide a simple yet perfect phone system with which the whole world can be turned into your office. By switching to this provider all the necessary features a decent virtual phone system should have will be available to you with virtually no limits at all. With its simple and straightforward account manager – which is complemented by a minimalist desktop softphone – everything can be easily customized, from call forwarding and call routing to voicemails and individual greeting messages. Additionally, the iOS and Android app easily separates business related calls and messages from personal ones.
All of these features, plus such rarities as professional greetings, business SMS messaging, and inbound faxing are available in three different yet affordable pricing plans, ready to make your business sound as professional as a Fortune 500 company. And when you learn about the other advantages – like unlimited free minutes – you will be asking yourself why you aren’t yet a client of Grasshopper.
At first it might seem that Grasshopper is not very promising with its limited call handling features, especially seeing as the system cannot detail call analytics or return missed calls – albeit the latter feature is available in the Android app.
However, like they say: less is more. Aside from providing crystal clear voice quality for both incoming and outbound calls, Grasshopper has all the basic features that businesses expect from a VoIP service, whether that is seamless call forwarding, conference calls, or intelligent call screening – which allows you to hear the caller’s number first, take the call right away or send it to voicemail. Note, however, that despite being perfect for connecting up to ten people on the same call, the conferencing feature is not too spectacular due to the fact that participants can only join the same conversation if they are called by the original caller first.
Thankfully, individual calls are handled better, as Grasshopper can put callers on hold, allowing you to return to them at your own pace. And if that’s not enough, calls can be routed to an infinite amount of extensions, which can either be customized by your colleagues to their liking or turned into informational extensions that callers can turn to if they want to find out details about store directions, product descriptions, business operating hours, and the like. However, despite Grasshopper’s capabilities in this regard, sadly there is no way to set up any answering rules.
Phone System Management
Even if the overall appearance of the Grasshopper account dashboard is nothing noteworthy, it’s extremely simple to use thanks to the logically-designed interface. It features four tabs, the first, “Messages & Calls”, being the most straightforward since it displays call logs, deleted messages, and – most importantly – voicemails that are automatically converted to .WAV or .MP3. By paying an additional $10 monthly fee, voicemails are transcribed into a readable format, too. In addition to this, the system can handle inbound faxes as well, which are also stored in this tab in a convenient PDF format.
Although the remaining three tabs are equally important – “Reports” being the location of different usage reports and “Settings” providing options for changing the on-hold music and any recorded greetings – it is “Extensions” that deserves special attention. For starters, extensions can be managed either by the system’s admin or by users that are granted the necessary rights. All extensions – including the default Representative, Sales, Support, and Name Directory ones – can be fully customized, allowing users to change things like the extension’s name, its default greeting, and the associated email address.
Note that in case of Name Directory, the only option is to provide the first and/or last name of each extension’s owner; however, by setting up this extension properly callers can search for the right extension by typing in the name of the employee that they want to reach.
Last but not least, it’s also worth mentioning that Grasshopper provides a desktop app that, just as with the mobile app, can basically be used as a softphone. Thankfully, however, this software is not limited to just being used for this function since it’s also capable of sending and receiving business text messages, checking voicemails and faxes, and displaying your call history.
Grasshopper’s promise is to help your business sound like a Fortune 500 company, and to do that it provides three extras to help it to live up to that goal. The first – and the only one that is available for free – is Instant Response. With this feature first time callers whose call you miss for some reason will automatically receive a customized SMS message, through which they can be informed that you will contact them as soon as possible.
Speaking of SMS, business text messaging is the second extra feature worth mentioning. Although it requires an additional payment of $10 each month – the price of which is waived when subscribing to the top-tier plan – this feature is the most effective way of separating personal SMS messages from business related ones, regardless of whether you receive or send them from the online account, the desktop software or the mobile app.
The third and most interesting feature is Voice Studio, through which your custom greeting message is read and recorded by a professional. However, this feature is also a pay-only extra, and a rather expensive one at that, costing $75 each time the service is requested.
With the exception of international numbers, any type of phone number can be selected for a new Grasshopper account. Naturally there is the option to port a number from another service provider but, sadly, that comes with an extra $30 fee no matter which subscription plan is chosen.
Creating a Grasshopper account with a new phone number is a bit easier. For instance, to start using a local number you just have to select the country (either the U.S. or Canada), the state, and the prefix of a major city. The same easy setup can be said for toll free, true 800, and vanity numbers as well, but in this case, there is the option to either get a fully customized number with a preferred prefix or just let Grasshopper create one for you – and simply refresh the dialogue box until a suitable number appears.
Since the online account doesn’t adapt to mobile screens at all, downloading the iOS and Android app is a must. However, the app is perfect for separating business-related calls from personal ones, and even works over Wi-Fi as well.
Thankfully, the app is more than just a simple softphone, and includes some advanced features. It displays all of the voicemails and faxes that are stored in the desktop account to be viewed on the go. Additionally, there are options to receive push notifications whenever a text message is received or a call is missed, change call forwarding settings, and even call any extensions within the same account.
One slightly confusing frustration is how certain features are locked to particular mobile operating systems, with call returning only available on Android, while the more useful feature of being able to sign and email faxes and PDFs is entirely iOS-exclusive.
Although the company has a built-in softphone in the form of its desktop and mobile apps, Grasshopper’s third-party software integration options are pretty good, bringing the biggest powerhouses of the softphone market into the equation: Skype, Google Voice, Zapier, and Bitium.
The world renowned free telecommunications software that is capable of instant messaging, voice and video calls, file transfers, and more and can be used from a computer, a tablet or a mobile phone.
Integration with Google Voice
This low-cost call management software can manage, log, screen and block calls via Gmail.
With this integration platform different apps can be linked to each other in order to make them auto-perform various tasks whenever a specified action is taken in your primary software.
A secure app manager that allows its users to sign into various accounts from a single interface and view analytics collected from the synced software.
The pricing policy of Grasshopper provides three monthly and three annual pricing plans. Thankfully, all plans have the same basic features, unlimited free minutes, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The cheapest pricing plan is Solo at $26 per month (paid annually), which includes one toll-free or local phone number and three extensions. The next is Partner, which is almost twice as expensive as Solo, but provides three toll-free or local numbers and six extensions. Still, the best offering belongs to the most expensive plan, Small Business. While the $80 monthly fee might seem too much – especially when it’s raised to $89 for monthly subscribers – for that price you’ll have access to five phone numbers and unlimited extensions. This plan also includes business texting and voicemail transcription as added extras, two features that would each normally cost an additional monthly fee.
And though Grasshopper isn’t known for having seasonal sales, discounts or special promotions of any kind, through our special link you can earn a whopping $75 for free, valid on any of the plans available. This way you’ll essentially be reducing the cost of either the first month of the top plan or receive up to three months for free on the cheaper plans.
Grasshopper’s 24/7 customer support is the prime example of how to provide quality support to customers. For live support there is the option to call the staff on a toll-free phone number, but inquiries sent via email, fax, and even snail mail are treated with just the same care. Inquiries can also be submitted either via the account itself or, better yet, on the company’s support page where a detailed knowledge base can be found.
And this is still just one part of the equation, since Grasshopper maintains a blog and a resource hub for entrepreneurs with useful tips, too. However, the company’s most advanced and unique support feature is the Grasshopper Academy, where entrepreneurs of the present and future can learn how to start, run and advertise their businesses through free webinars accompanied by professional support from experts.
Grasshopper definitely puts the ‘VIP’ in VoIP by perfectly managing calls and letting SMB owners handle them professionally no matter where they are. With the simple, straightforward online account manager Grasshopper guarantees that your organization can handle all call-related traffic without any fuss – although this simplicity does come at the cost of certain features, the most important of which being the lack of certain call handling options, outbound faxing, and answering rules.
However, entrepreneurs and SMB owners will surely appreciate other, more useful extras such as business texting, integrations with services like Skype, and the iOS/Android application that – alongside its desktop version – is perfectly suited for handling business related calls and messages. Add all this to the cost-friendly pricing plans that all provide unlimited minutes and it’s safe to say that Grasshopper is a VoIP service provider that should be considered by anyone looking to make the move to a cloud phone system.