Grasshopper Review: Virtual Phone & Virtual Office
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|Best for businesses who don't use a lot of minutes, this comprehensive service boasts unlimited extensions, integrated faxing, and a multitude of other features|
[Editor's Note: Grasshopper is now offering an exclusive deal to NextAdvisor readers. When you sign up for the service from our site, you will receive a $75 credit towards your Grasshopper account. There is no coupon code required, simply click on any Grasshopper link on NextAdvisor.com to take advantage of this amazing deal.]
Grasshopper is another Virtual Phone Service that is a great option for businesses because it offers an unlimited number of extensions. Your Grasshopper phone number can be used for receiving faxes as well. Though there were some minor glitches that we will point out in this review, we liked the customizability of this service as well as the many features it offers.
Interface and Setup
In general, the user interface is clean and simple to use. There are separate tabs for everything that you need to configure. You can add users and limit access to certain extensions. It is also easy to check missed calls and voicemail from your Grasshopper home page.
The setup process is very intuitive and easily lays out each step. With Grasshopper, you can choose between a toll-free number, a custom toll-free number ($30 one-time activation fee), or a local number. The first step involves setting up a greeting template. There are two default options—both include the usual, "Thank you for calling, if you know your party's extension..." You can change these later and even choose to record your own greeting, but this is a later step in the setup process. After choosing a greeting, the next step is setting up your extensions. With Grasshopper, you can have as many as you want! You can also choose to have a directory option, where callers can type in the first few letters of a name instead of dialing an extension. During the setup process, you will be asked to add a call forwarding number. You can forward each extension to the same number, or use a different call forwarding number for each extension. This is extremely useful especially if you have employees in different locations that need to get calls on their cell phones - simply enter their phone number for their respective extension! You can check voicemails on the Grasshopper page as well as your email - voicemails will be sent as audio attachments.
Service and Features
The overall call quality is very clear. Grasshopper features a free integrated virtual fax service. Your number can receive faxes, which are then converted into PDF files and emailed to you immediately. Unfortunately, they do not have the functionality for sending faxes. There is also a feature that transcribes your voicemails into words. This is a paid feature, but you can get a free 30 day trial. If you have more than one call forwarding number on an extension, "Call Blasting", which is an extra $10 per month, will ring them simultaneously to reduce wait times for callers.
There are several greeting options as well. For a one-time fee of $75, you can write your own script and have Grasshopper's "voice studio" create a greeting for you. Other options include recording a greeting over the phone, uploading an audio file, or recording a greeting via computer. This is where we experienced some glitches, as we mentioned in the introduction. Because the instructions for recording a greeting over the phone seemed lengthy, we decided to record one through our computer microphone. This didn't work out too well. Most of the time when trying to play back our recordings, the "play" button would not work, making it difficult to test out which greetings work and which don't. Other times, the recorder wouldn't even record what we were saying. We ended up using the default greeting that Grasshopper has set up.
Pricing and Minutes
Grasshopper is definitely on the pricier side, with each plan having more features and minutes than the next. The cheapest plan, which is $12 per month, includes one toll free or local number and all of Grasshopper's features, but does not include any minutes per month. Instead, you are charged 6¢ per minute. The next plan up, which includes 500 minutes per month this time, is $24 per month. Grasshopper says that their most popular plan is the $49 per month option, which includes 2,000 minutes 2 toll free of local numbers and 2 number ports.
With the cheapest plan not including any minutes, Grasshopper is not as good a value as other virtual phone services like Phone.com, who charge the same but include 300 minutes in their monthly fee. The setup process is easy and we love that you can have an unlimited number of extensions. Though Grasshopper allows you to receive faxes, it unfortunately cannot double as your business's faxing service because there is no fax send function. Thus, you may need to look into getting a seperate Internet Fax service for your office. Overall this is a comprehensive service with some great features and quick customer support, but there are definitely other virtual phone services that are a better value if you are looking to use a lot of minutes.
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- Grasshopper Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of Grasshopper virtual phone service: http://www.nextadvisor.com/virtual_phon ... review.php