Any business can use a shot in the arm. While you’re at it why not put some steroids in that shot? Hey if they can do it in professional sports, why not try it in your company? Of course I am kidding. Well kind of. I think I have found a way to help your small company get big quick. While we aren’t talking about giving you more office space I can safely say any small business can quickly appear bigger if you just keep reading.

The largest pain in small business communications is trying to figure out how to be productive and efficient without spending a fortune. Enter RingCentral a company that hosts communications for SMBs generally under 10 people in size. I am told they have over 24,000 paid subscribers which is a healthy amount of hosted customers.

The company’s hosted voice service handles incoming calls, voicemail and fax seamlessly. Instead of having cell phones, home phones and office phones you can keep all your calls on a single service and allow the calls to follow you anywhere. More importantly you can make sure that all calls are greeted with a unified corporate greeting and your users can have a single voicemail store.

Music on hold is included in the service as well and you can interject messages into the music if you choose. You can also upload a personalized on-hold greeting or you can have an automated voice convert your text into speech.

I admire the company’s positioning as they aren’t based on VoIP. The company says they give you dial tone independence and you aren’t required to have a broadband connection. In this day and age everyone wants to be a VoIP company. RingCentral explains they aren’t VoIP-based in a way that makes it sound more flexible. The service is billed as a second line solution with very sophisticated inbound call handling features. It does allow outbound calling as well but this isn’t a Vonage competitor but more of a mini ACD service for the SMB.

Does it matter that they aren’t a VoIP-based service today? Absolutely not. They support any phone including VoIP phones and that is enough for now. They will support direct VoIP clients down the line but you shouldn’t stop looking at this solution because they aren’t IP telephony based. The irony is that until recently being VoIP-based scared some customers away. Now of course the tide has turned 100%.

What I really like about the product is the sophisticated calling rules allowing you to route calls at different hours, based on day of the week and whether the caller is in your address book or not. You can use the telephone keys to transfer calls in your company or use an application to do this.

Perhaps my favorite feature is the black hole which is a place you send people you don’t want to speak with.

The latest release of the service is 3.0 and includes more functionality in how you deal with callers based on their phone numbers or even range of phone nunmbers.

The system scales to as many people as needed; at least theoretically. 200 is the most customers from one company on the system at the moment.

The service starts at $9.99/month and it is obvious that a hosted system such as this projects a much more professional image than a bunch of people using cell phones, home phones and office phones. At a certain point every company wants to look bigger than it is and can use all the help it can get. If you’re looking to put on lean business muscle, do what the pros do, use the proper supplements.

  • Alen Wilson
    April 13, 2006 at 1:50 am

    A VoIP is nothing but communication between two people over a high speed broadband connection as opposed to traditional telephone lines. It provides a cost effective and productive way of business communication.discuss voip related topices at http://www.voip-traffic.com. It is an online discussion platform where both seller and buyer can negotiate and exchange notes with each other. Registration is free.

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