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Vonage Review – The Good and Bad for 2021

Vonage Review - The Good and Bad for 2021

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Vonage is an all-in-one VoIP and unified communications provider that takes a minimalist approach to business collaboration and communication, making its cost-effective services available to even the smallest businesses. By getting rid of bloated features you don’t need, the platform is simple and affordable. As you grow, you can add extra features like toll-free numbers, voicemail-to-text, custom APIs, an auto-attendant, advanced integrations, and paperless faxing as required.

Compare Vonage to the Best VoIP Providers and Phone Services

Vonage has the bare essentials you need to work with your team anywhere on any device. It’s best for businesses that just need basic communication and collaboration functionality without the need for additional hardware. It’s an excellent cost-effective solution that comes with limitations, including a lack of voicemail to text, toll-free numbers, and online faxing. You’ll have to pay extra if you need those, which makes other alternatives, like Nextiva or RingCentral, more attractive for businesses that need more advanced features.

If Vonage sounds too simple for your needs, you’re in luck. Our team of researchers spent several weeks reviewing the best VoIP providers on the market, weighing each for different use cases and budgets. See all of our top picks to learn more about how we test VoIP systems, what to look for, and which one’s best for you. 

Vonage: The Good and The Bad

The Good

Free trial available: If you’re still on the fence about paying for Vonage’s phone system, you can give it a try for 14 days. The free trial is only available if you purchase a one-year contract for any of Vonage’s three phone service plans online. Should you have a change of heart anytime during this 14-day trial period, simply cancel your plan, return the hardware, and get a full refund. 

High-definition call quality: Vonage’s HD Voice optimizes call quality across all devices so everyone won’t sound like a broken cyborg. All calls between HD Voice-enabled accounts use the same codecs, so data transfers are quicker and call quality better than VoIP standards. In addition, Vonage has its own carrier-grade network connected to major carriers in the US and tier-one networks all over the world. This means you can kick intermediaries goodbye and talk directly to anyone over the phone with impressive clarity.

Unlimited calling and text messaging on all plans: Working from anywhere has never been easier with Vonage Business Communications. All three service plans have access to standard features, including unlimited calling and text messaging. Your team is no longer tethered to desk phones as they can easily make and receive calls through a smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. Ideal for telecommuting teams or road warriors who are always on the go, Vonage makes it possible for the office to come to the employees instead of the other way around. 

Free video conferencing: Remote collaboration is a few clicks away with Vonage Meetings. Available through the Vonage Business Communications mobile and desktop apps, it simplifies the way teams hold virtual meetings. Everyone can join the meeting straight from their browsers without the need to download and install the software. The Speaker view puts the speaker front and center, so everyone’s attention is focused on the main agenda. Participants can screen share content and files with one click. You can also record the meeting, invite participants midway, and limit how many can join. Vonage Meetings can hold up to 16 users, but those in the higher-tier plans can use it to host video conferences for up to 100 people. 

Uncomplicated setup: Vonage delivers voice communications over the internet, so there’s no clunky equipment to deal with. Neither do you need a service professional to help you get started. All you have to do is download the mobile app to begin communicating with your team and customers on the fly. You can also download the web app to turn desktop computers and laptops into softphones. Vonage also offers plug-and-play IP phones that can work anywhere with a high-speed internet connection if you want it the old-fashioned way. 

User-friendly interface: All the options inside Vonage’s desktop app are methodically placed so you won’t get dizzy moving your eyeballs in different directions. Its simple, straightforward design helps you find the function you need at a glance. Click on the Admin tab, and the default browser will open the administration portal. Here, everything you need to manage the VoIP system is at your fingertips. For instance, you can make or change the Virtual Receptionist or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) by answering a few questions. The Reports tab is likewise easily accessible from the dashboard. Click it whenever you want to view, download, or save reports about all calls and users. 

Quick, dependable customer support: Should you run into snags, Vonage’s tech support team is ready to extend a helping hand through chat, email, or phone. Use their Click to Chat button if you want instant access to one of their support agents within 15 seconds or less. For more complex issues requiring more meticulous solutions, you can call their support hotline available during weekdays from 8 A.M. to midnight  (EST) and weekends from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. (EST). Vonage also has community forums and an extensive knowledge base where you can get answers right away. Leaving no stone unturned, Vonage also offers an add-on feature to help you with technical issues unrelated to Vonage. For $9.99 per user per month, the Vonage Support Plus provides comprehensive IT support at a fraction of the cost of hiring a dedicated tech support team. 

Wide range of integrations: To bolster your business communications without leaving the Vonage platform, users in higher-tier plans can integrate third-party apps with Vonage. By clicking My Apps inside the Vonage app, you can see the list of third-party business apps that work well with Vonage. Select from popular apps like Slack, Oracle, Google G Suite, Clio, Bullhorn, ConnectWise, JobDiva, NetSuite, or Microsoft 365. You can also improve how you take care of existing customers and acquire new ones by integrating Vonage with CRM software like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zoho. 

Topnotch security: Vonage has built for itself a virtual fortress to suppress spam and prevent scammers from infiltrating your business. All text communication is encrypted, while admin accounts can put in place rules to protect call recordings. Through Vonage Communication APIs, your business can also take advantage of Verify API. It sets up two-factor authentication to shield your business app from fraudulent users. Your customers will gain secure access to your app using their phone while you only pay for each successful transaction. Vonage also meets the stringent requirements of the Federal Communications Commission, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations, as well as the accounting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. 

Guaranteed HIPAA compliance: Vonage is one of only a few VoIP providers that are HIPAA-compliant. HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a federal law that protects patients’ sensitive health information. So, if you have a business in the healthcare industry, it’s only logical to partner with Vonage than non-HIPAA-compliant companies. Vonage also has a Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) Common Security Framework certification, so you know it means business regarding patient confidentiality. 

99.999% uptime guarantee: Vonage takes service continuity seriously as any downtime can translate to a massive loss for your business. It has set up various redundancies to buffer the drastic effects of power outages or connectivity issues. Call Continuity, for instance, is a powerful Vonage feature that automatically detects calls that end abruptly due to connection issues and immediately reroute them to a specified backup number. As soon as the connection is restored, Vonage reactivates normal call routing. 

The Bad

Unsophisticated video conferencing: Vonage Meetings is a tool you can rely on for basic virtual meeting needs. But if you have higher standards or looking for more advanced features, other providers’ built-in video conferencing may fit the bill better. Vonage doesn’t have HD for its video, unlike its RingCentral counterpart, which offers high-definition technology for video and audio. Vonage Meetings also doesn’t provide virtual backgrounds and is unable to sync on multiple devices. Lastly, only up to 100 participants can use Vonage Meetings simultaneously, unlike the more generous RingCentral that can accommodate twice that number. 

Additional features cost extra: Vonage is a great choice if you’re only after basic communication and collaboration tools. It also offers bells and whistles, but they come at an extra cost. For example, if you want to set up toll-free lines for your customers to easily connect with you, Vonage offers it for a flat rate of $49.99 per line per month. You can then select a volume minute bundle starting at 100 minutes for $2.99 per month, excluding taxes and fees. There’s also the Visual voicemail which can transcribe your voicemail and send it straight to your inbox for $4.99 per month. Another extra feature you can avail of but will inflate your monthly fees is the paperless fax that costs $14.99 per month. 

Limited features in basic plan: Vonage’s most basic plan, Mobile, has a price point similar to RingCentral’s Essentials plan if billed annually. But unlike the former, RingCentral’s cheapest plan brings more features to the table. Aside from unlimited call and text messaging, RingCentral Essential users also have access to visual voicemail and 100 toll-free minutes per month. By contrast, these features are only available to Vonage users as add-ons that incur separate monthly fees. Nextiva’s equivalent plan, Essential, may be a tad more expensive, but it’s also the most robust when it comes to features. It includes not only unlimited voice and video calling but also a free toll number, 1,500 toll-free minutes, voice-to-email notifications, and unlimited paperless fax. 

Vonage Pricing and Options

Vonage Pricing

Vonage’s pricing strategy is more of à la carte than a table d’hôte. Each service plan has all the basic communication tools to connect and collaborate with your team. But if you want side dishes like toll-free numbers, paperless faxing, and other add-ons, you have to pay for them separately. 

Vonage Business Communications offers three service plans, each of which is priced at a per-user per month rate. The more users you add, the lower the price becomes.

The cheapest plan, Mobile, starts at $19.99 per user per month. Companies with up to 100 users can avail of this basic plan. By contrast, RingCentral’s similarly priced Essentials plan is only available for up to 10 users. If your company has 11 users or more, you have to upgrade to RingCentral’s higher-tier plans that start at $29.99 per user per month.

Vonage Mobile is the perfect entry-level plan for remote teams who don’t want to be tied to a brick-and-mortar office. It comes with unlimited calling, text messaging, and team messaging via a group chat so that you can be in touch with your team from anywhere on any device. 

Meanwhile, the Premium plan is the best choice if you want to combine the mobility of the Mobile plan with the familiarity of IP desk phones. Therefore, it’s ideal for those in the traditional office settings where employees can communicate with each other from any device, including the old-fashioned desk phones. 

Pricing for Premium starts at $29.99 per user per month. It has all the goodies of the previous plan plus a multi-level auto attendant that lets callers choose and be automatically transferred to a specific department. It also gives users access to Vonage App Center to select a CRM program of their choice and integrate it with Vonage. You can choose from popular CRM software like Zendesk, Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Zoho, and many more.

The Advanced plan has all the Premium features plus additional services to take your business communications to the next level. These bells and whistles include a call or ring group, enabling inbound calls to be directed to a group of phone numbers instead of just one. This means callers are more likely to get a response in no time. 

The Advanced plan also comes with visual voicemail, which sends voicemail transcriptions straight to your email. This feature is also available in other plans, but only with an additional monthly fee. Lastly, Advanced users also have the luxury of having a dedicated team provide white-glove assistance with setup and onboarding. 

The Advanced plan starts at $39.99 per user per month but can go as low as $34.99 for companies with 20 to 100 users. 

Prices won’t be displayed for companies with more than 100 users. They must contact Vonage directly to get an exact quote. 

Vonage Business Communications (VBC)

Formerly known as Vonage Business Cloud, VBC is Vonage’s answer to the growing needs of businesses for a unified communications platform. It is an all-in-one system where you can find everything you need to communicate and collaborate with your team, whether in a traditional office or from anywhere in the world. 

As the company’s flagship product, Vonage Business Communications offers 50+ features that are either included in your service plan by default or available as add-ons in the Vonage App Center. 

VBC is designed to give you the flexibility you need to jumpstart conversations, meetings, and collaborations anywhere on any device. Through the Vonage mobile and desktop apps, you can bring the cloud-based phone system wherever you go and never be tethered to your office desk ever again.

And with Vonage’s Never Miss a Call features, you can enjoy the benefits of mobility without missing any important call. You can activate Call Forwarding, so business calls you typically answer through your desk phone can be rerouted to your home phone or mobile number. With Call Flip, you can transfer calls from mobile to desk or vice versa without interruption.

If you want to bring your desk phone with you, Vonage’s Work from Anywhere feature makes it possible. Simply plug it into high-speed internet, and you can add an air of professionalism at home or wherever you want to use it. 

Vonage also streamlines how you deal with voicemails. Voicemail to Email is a feature that saves an MP3 recording of every voicemail you receive through your extension and sends it to your email. Alternatively, you can avail of the Vonage Visual Voicemail for $4.99 per month per extension (exclusive of taxes) to receive transcripts of voicemails in your email inbox. 

In terms of collaboration, Vonage is likewise packed with features that bolster your team’s productivity. Call Group enables incoming calls to be forwarded to multiple extensions to ensure someone is available to take important calls. Supervisors can also leverage the Call Monitoring feature to remotely access the team’s extensions from any device and monitor, whisper, or barge into the call. 

You can also host or join conference calls on your phone via Vonage’s mobile app. Conference Bridge is a simple solution that can accommodate up to 30 participants. The moderator can add or mute participants from the dashboard, while members can join by entering a password. 

Vonage Meetings is a built-in video collaboration tool that you can launch straight from your Vonage app. It can easily be integrated with Google Calendar, and participants can join video calls from their browser without the need to download any software. 

Vonage Meetings is a new addition to VBC, which explains why it trails behind RingCentral’s similar technology in terms of overall quality. RingCentral offers HD audio and video for its video meetings, while Vonage only has HD for its voice communications. RingCentral offers video meetings for up to 200 participants, double that of Vonage Meetings. RingCentral’s video conferencing tool also syncs on multiple devices and comes with a great selection of virtual backgrounds–features that Vonage Meetings are yet to match as of this writing. 

Vonage is also packed with features to improve user experience on both ends of the phone. 

Employees can see who’s calling via caller ID, making it easier to screen calls and decide whether to pick up the phone or not. They can also block phone numbers from the Admin portal or activate the optional Spam Shield to filter out annoying telemarketers and scammers right off the bat. 

In case of outages or faulty internet connection, Vonage ensures inbound calls will be attended to through various redundancies. Call Continuity, for instance, enables calls to be forwarded to a backup number of your choice in case of emergency. This way, you have a way to buffer potential massive losses your business may incur due to temporary service outages. 

Vonage now also offers its own SD-WAN solution called SmartWAN to help you prioritize bandwidth-intensive voice and video communications. Short for a software-defined wide-area network, SD-WAN uses software to monitor traffic in real-time and proactively divert it around brownout events instead of waiting for downtime to take place. This means you can avoid unnecessary congestions, improve the quality of calls, and provide your users with a maximum uptime guarantee. 

Vonage Communications APIs

Vonage has a developer portal where tech-savvy companies can create custom integrations from scratch. This platform provides software developers access to guides, code snippets, and API (application programming interface) documentation to build customized communication solutions that meet the customers’ needs. 

Previously known as Nexmo and TokBox, Vonage APIs have the right toolset to help developers execute and deploy their vision. They can use it to build custom communication solutions that send SMS straight to their customers, build live interactive video into mobile apps, or set up two-factor authentication to prevent fraud. 

The cost of using Vonage Communications APIs varies, and users are charged based on how often and how long they use the platform. 

Vonage Contact Center (VCC)

VCC is a cloud-based contact center software solution that promises increased productivity and a positive customer experience. It currently has a rating of 4.9/5 on the Salesforce AppExchange for its seamless integration with Salesforce. However, it also integrates well with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and ServiceNow. 

VCC has an omnichannel feature, so you can communicate in ways your customers prefer. It can be through voice, video, digital channels, and more. You can also check each customer’s details inside Salesforce so you can forward them to the appropriate agent who can provide the best assistance. 

Robust AI and reporting features have been integrated with the platform to maintain the high quality of calls. Conversation Analyzer lets you transcribe, tag, and analyze customer calls with precision. You can also listen in on agents’ calls and whisper anytime they need assistance during the said calls. 

For pricing on its contact center services, you can call Vonage directly to get a quote. 

Comparing the Best VoIP Providers and Phone Systems.

We have researched and tested the best VoIP solutions so that you don’t have to. See our full reviews here. 

Nextiva – Best VoIP phone service for most businessesRingCentral – Most affordable all-in-one solution for fewer than 10 usersOoma Office – Best for businesses without in-house ITGrasshopper – Best mobile app for solopreneurs and small teamsPhone.com – Best if you need fewer than 300 minutes/userFreshcaller – Best for customer support team

Vonage has the most excellent entry-level plans for businesses looking to switch to a cloud-based communication solution. Additional features can be purchased separately, not because Vonage wants to nickel-and-dime its customers but to ensure they only pay for the things they need most. RingCentral and Nextiva both have basic plans packed with more features that can easily scale with your business. But if you’re a team that values flexibility over scalability, Vonage can provide the best bang for your buck. 

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