- Versatile, advanced call handling features
- Software, app, answering rule-creator
- Integration options
- Clever team messaging/collaboration
- Unlimited domestic calling and texting
- 15-day risk-free trial
- Complicated system manager
- Confusing pricing policy
Quickly after its foundation in 1999, the Californian company RingCentral became a leader in the VoIP market and set out to further expand its services to become an all-encompassing cloud communications platform. Its VoIP solutions serve various business needs, whether your company is currently still using landline phones with existing numbers, or you’re just starting out. All call related features you can think of are available in RingCentral, some of them in advanced form, plus you can also get as many phone numbers, phone lines and extensions as you want. The company provides a very effective, scalable phone system manager with a visual answering rule creator and a built-in softphone, but your subscription also comes with a downloadable desktop program and an app. Furthermore, you get unlimited domestic calls, business texting and faxing, a complete messaging and collaboration platform, the option to integrate the most important third-party solutions and support from an always ready customer service team. And to top it all, everything above of this is available for very reasonable prices.
RingCentral Cloud PBX Video Introduction
With RingCentral you can be sure that all call handling features (and more) needed for professional VoIP phone systems are at your service. HD calls can be easily forwarded to your numbers, to ring groups using the same line and/or to an unlimited amount of extensions, ringing you and your colleagues sequentially or simultaneously. Calls can be transferred between any device connected to the network (under the name call flip), put on hold with call queuing or be returned if you missed them. Speaking of missed calls: you get notified thereof via email and/or push notification, unless it is a blocked call which is disconnected after playing a predetermined message to the caller. If the number is not on your block list, the caller has the option to call you or your co-workers either by the extension number or, if it is allowed, search a colleague by name. No callers can hide their phone numbers from you thanks to caller ID screening, but you can always use your own caller ID from any device connected to the network. However, if you are not on a device that is logged in using your account credentials, the hot desking option allows you to go to another station and quickly log into the system therefrom, even transferring your calls to the new place.
If you still remember pagers, you will be surprised to hear that RingCentral comes with paging and intercom options, allowing you to make real-time one-way announcements to certain desk phones. However, said messages will only be received by active devices, as you and your colleagues have the option to change your status, showing your availability to everybody else using the same system. As for audio(visual) conference calls, you can do that via the dedicated conferencing line which is available to multiple calls at the same time for anybody (your network’s users and outsiders alike) in possession of an email/SMS invitation containing the access code. However, there is a catch: audio-only conference calls can have up to 1,000 participants, but video calls can “only” handle 50 people at maximum at the same time.
Phone System Management
Unfortunately using RingCentral’s system manager requires some learning due to its highly versatile nature, but once you get a hold of it, even as a “simple” user you are treated like a king regarding customization and handling options. When you place/receive a call, it is properly logged, including all data you need; from the caller’s identity to the length of the call, what action was taken and whether the call was recorded or not. (Recordings have their separate page.) Contacts can be entered or deleted one-by-one or can be imported either in a CSV file or by establishing a connection between the system and your Google account.
However, it is the other settings where RingCentral truly shines: you can easily set up your working hours, what your greetings should sound like, where calls should be directed to if you are away from your desk, and what should be seen on the screen when you are calling someone. In fact, you can give permission to other users to pick up your calls from their phones if you are unavailable (which is true vice versa), but you also have the option to monitor the calls of other users and get notified of their incoming calls by being rang like when you receive a regular call.
As an admin you can determine the company’s caller ID, add and manage devices, create entire groups for multiple purposes and even set up extensions intended for informational purposes. Aside from the call log, there is the much more detailed call report that shows every single activity within the system and can be exported as an Excel file. You also have the option to give permission to other users to handle international calls or, as an admin, to manage the entire system.
Other, Extra Features
The extra features are the ultimate proof RingCentral is a true communications powerhouse. Not only you get the visual IVR editor, with which you can set up answering rules like it was child’s play, but you can basically say goodbye to desk phones for good, since RingCentral provides a built-in voice-only softphone, a Google Chrome extension that seamlessly integrates Gmail contacts (and starts automatically when you use said email program). Even though the built-in softphone is a bit of a letdown, the extension and the downloadable program are masterpieces: they handle calls, audiovisual conferencing and unlimited business texting, plus they are capable of displaying the most necessary data from your account without the need to access it from a browser. (Albeit most settings are available from the system manager only.)
Furthermore, RingCentral is one of the few VoIP companies that not only allows users to send and receive unlimited faxes without an actual fax machine, but it lets you do that as part of your subscription. And if that’s not enough, there is Glip, a team messaging and collaboration platform (instant messaging, task management, file sharing etc.) and a much more complete alternative to Skype or WhatsApp.
With RingCentral, setting up a number is a bit limited (albeit free of charge), because the new number has to be either local or toll-free. The same rule applies to ported numbers, the transferring of which usually occurs within 2–4 weeks. However, this is just an initial restriction: once your RingCentral account is set, you can add any kind of phone number to your account in an infinite amount.
Additional local, toll-free and vanity numbers are $4.99 per month, but in the latter case a one-time $30 setup fee is to be paid, a price which also applies to true 800 numbers. Thankfully you are allowed to have international numbers, but to be able to use them you are obliged to pay $5.99 per month per user. You have the option to allow foreign co-workers to connect to your system too, but that will cost you $4.99 per month per user.
The biggest problem of the RingCentral iPhone/Android app is that after seeing what the desktop version and the Chrome extension are capable of, it is a bit disappointing. Don’t get us wrong; it perfectly serves its purpose of using your phone system on the go, but it is limited to the most important RingCentral features.
In the mobile app you can send and receive business text messages and faxes, listen to your voicemails, and handle calls in every way using any phone number associated to your account. The app can import all your contacts from your smartphone (provided you give permission to do so), allows you to join conferences and it can even store documents fetched from emails or other apps for faxing purposes. A small nuisance is that to be able to use Glip or to participate in a meeting, you have no choice but to download separate apps.
RingCentral is without doubt the king of integrations. In fact, if the call handling and system management options were not convincing enough to prove that RingCentral is a market leader, its 10 integrating options – especially those related to Google and Microsoft products – definitely put the cherry on the top. Google users are especially treated like royalties: Google Calendar can be used to organize meetings, Hangouts can be used to bypass the limited number of participants during audiovisual conference calls, while Google Docs and Drive can serve as storage places for fax documents. The same can be said for Microsoft: Office 365 documents can easily be saved and shared from your RingCentral account, Outlook contacts can be imported in a jiffy and Skype can be used for conferencing purposes.
Possible Integrations in RingCentral
Integrating Salesforce into RingCentral
And we haven’t even mentioned that RingCentral can also cooperate with Zendesk’s customer service software, Salesforce’s CRM platform and good old cloud storage service Dropbox.
RingCentral’s pricing policy is a bit confusing at first, since prices depend on the number of users; the more users you have, the better the rates are. Although there is the option to choose a monthly subscription, with or without a contract, it’s best to go for an annual plan with its better rates. In order to cut the Gordian knot, we decided to include the best prices available in the features overview, while in this paragraph we will include annual prices for companies with 2–99 users. (By the way, the maximum amount of users is 9,999.)
RingCentral has four plans, all of which are available with a 15-day risk-free trial: Essentials, Standard, Premium and Enterprise, which cost $19.99, $24.99, $34.99 and $49.99 per month per user respectively. Aside from the call handling features, the faxing and the multi-level auto-attendant, all plans include the apps, the software, Microsoft/Google/Dropbox integration, unlimited local callings and business text messaging, and HD call quality.
The two cheapest plans, Essentials and Standard, allow four people per video meeting, but while the former only provides 100 toll-free minutes and has a maximum user limit of ten, the latter treats its subscribers to 1,000 free minutes, internet faxing and the multi-level auto-attendant. Premium provides 2,500 toll-free minutes, allows 25 people per meeting, plus it throws in call recording, single sign-on and more integration options to the mix. Enterprise is the top plan: it boasts 10,000 toll-free minutes, video conferencing for 50 people and voicemail transcription.
While RingCentral’s plans are highly customizable by default you have the option to request a quote for a personalized offer. Since RingCentral often runs promotions where you get free desk phones, toll-free numbers and other extras, it’s worth requesting such a quote or giving them a call (888-295-17-24) to ask about the latest special offers.
The customer support is exactly like a RingCentral phone system: it has minor problems, but works like a charm. The only problem is that their staff is only available during business hours. They do make up for this by being at customers’ service during weekends as well. RingCentral clients preferring direct contact can reach the personnel via phone (on 888-295-17-24 locally or even internationally), live chat or a support ticket. There’s also the option to go to the community and find a solution with staff members and other users. Problems can be reported on Facebook and Twitter too, although in the latter case we suggest to use the RingCentral Care account as it is used for announcing system issues.
If the problem is not that urgent, or you want to find a solution on your own, it's best to turn to the very detailed knowledge base, watch YouTube tutorial videos or read the blog or the guides. Additionally, you can attend webinars to learn how to handle your VoIP system and make the most out of it.
RingCentral is on the top of the VoIP systems’ food chain for very good reasons. Still, we wouldn’t say this VoIP provider is without flaws: our biggest concern is the tad complicated phone system manager that can scare first-time users. We also think the built-in softphone is quite lackluster, while the app forces users to download separate solutions to be able to use certain features on the move. But when it comes to everything else: RingCentral came, saw and conquered. The call handling features are very versatile, the system manager is a brutal powerhouse, while the desktop software, the browser extension and the apps are perfect substitutes for your desk phones. Furthermore, you get business texting, faxing, and messaging (via Glip), the integration of the most important third-party solutions and an always-prepared customer support for reasonable prices.
So if you are eyeing at RingCentral, do not hesitate, but go for it.
Best Alternative Virtual Phone Systems
|Editor's Choice 2020|