Phone.com Review: Virtual Phone & Virtual Office
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|Extra minutes, capable with iPhone apps, and simple setup and interface make this a top choice|
[Editor's Note: Phone.com is offering an exclusive deal to NextAdvisor.com readers. Simply click any Phone.com link on NextAdvisor.com. Then enter coupon code HPP10 for 10% off six months of Home/Residential Phone Service Plus.]
When you test new services as often as we do, things can get complicated. Each one has its own way of functioning and we have to learn our way around them rather quickly. As soon as we figure out one, we have to switch to another and we find a whole new way of doing things. Some services though are so intuitive that it feels like we've been using them for years. The aptly named Phone.com falls squarely into this category. Simple, intuitive, yet highly robust, we would almost say that we love it.
Interface and Setup
Phone.com's interface is clean, simple, and well organized. Options are intuitively grouped and controls are large and clickable. It's particularly fun to operate the sliders that set your business hours (see screen shot at left). Recording your own announcement for the auto-attendant is as easy as telling the system to call you. You can also enter your own text for the robo-answering system, and select a number of different voices (more on that later).
Assigning different behaviors to telephone keys is incredibly easy, and with Phone.com it actually makes sense. It also has the easiest call queue assignment mechanism we've seen, making it easy for you to deal with multiple incoming calls.
We also liked Phone.com's setup procedure. It takes you through all the essential steps after sign-up, including an option to import your Gmail or Outlook contacts, so you'll be ready to go with all the essential features.
Service and Features
Phone.com's call quality was on par with the other services we used. Between two desk phones, the quality was absolutely fine. Most users will not notice any difference between Phone.com's call quality and that of traditional phone service.
Phone.com bundles a number of compelling features into its virtual phone offering. There's built-in support for faxing, and Phone.com's services are compatible with two virtual iPhone apps — Bria made by Securax Ltd. and Zoiper Softphone made by CounterPath Corp. There is a one-time charge of $7.99 for Bria, and Zoiper Softphone is free in the iPhone app store. Phone.com has no charge for using the services on your iPhone. Phone.com does offer a free iPhone app — called Phone.com Group SMS — that allows you to send group text messages from your virtual phone number. The app is free in the iPhone App Store and also free to use if you currently have a virtual phone number.
Phone.com offers an assortment of hold-music options. While none are great, they're not terrible, and it's nice to have a choice. We mentioned above that Phone.com offers a number of different voices for your robo-answering service, should you decide not to record your own greeting. There are over a dozen voices, some of them rather comical, most of them sounding fairly robotic, although we did enjoy an irate voice named Shouty. You can also add sound effects, from howling monkeys to burps. If you own a novelty joke shop, you've found your virtual phone service.
On a more serious and relevant note, a brief mention should also be made for their round-the-clock US-based customer support. It was helpful, friendly, and actually pleasant. It almost made us wish we had an issue with the service.
Pricing and Minutes
At $14.99 per month (no contract required) for 300 free minutes per month, it's one of the most expensive virtual phone services we reviewed. Even with the higher price, the service still has some strong features and you can always upgrade to get additional minutes. For $27.30 you get 700 minutes, $77.00 gets you 2,200 minutes, while $85.00 ups the minutes to 2,500. Additional minutes cost 4.9¢ and additional virtual phone numbers cost $4.88 per month for each number.
Any complaints? The price. There are cheaper options for virtual phone services that offer similar features or the same features that Phone.com offers, like eVoice. The sign-up process felt clumsy, but it was all smooth sailing after that. Phone.com offers strong features that can help you grow your business, as long as you're willing to pay the high prices. Additionally, the first month of regular service is free (though you'll pay for any additional minutes you use over your allotment) so it won't cost you anything to decide if you like the service.
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- Phone.com Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of Phone.com's virtual phone service: http://www.nextadvisor.com/virtual_phon ... review.php