If you Google “VOIP,” you’re going to get thousands and thousands of results. Why? Because it’s a crowded field, filled with a ton of phone providers, all with subtle to significant differences. And here’s the problem: there are genuine pros and cons among your choices, and the decision you make matters. A lot.
Your choice in phone service can either be a conduit for customer contact, or it can be a barrier. Phone, internet, fax, email…these aren’t things businesses need to work some of the time, or even most of the time. I don’t know about your company, but for mine, I need always-on, reliable communications in order to serve my clients to the best of my ability. And that’s why I’ve combed through all the major business phone providers (and a lot of the minor ones) to arrive at my single recommendation for business phone service.
My recommendation is Nextiva. Why? Read on.
Full range of features
When you look at basic phone features across the range of platforms, you’ll find most providers offer the same options. Call waiting, forwarding, recording, routing, along with custom greetings, conferencing, and hold music…these features are common. Nextiva has them, and so do all the other guys.
What sets Nextiva apart, though, is the range of services they provide in addition to the basics. It used to be that only big companies could afford sophisticated options like deep insight based on data analytics. Small businesses couldn’t hope for phone systems that were as secure, reliable, and robust as enterprise-level solutions. Nextiva changed the game. Using cutting-edge machine learning and AI, Nextiva can deliver answers to questions you hadn’t even thought to ask. Yes, I’m talking about a whole lot more than simply phone service. In addition to a range of features beyond simply making and receiving phone calls, Nextiva’s features are intuitive and easy to use.
More than any other platform, Nextiva offers even small-to-midsized companies fully unified communications. “Unified communications” is a term that gets thrown about a lot, and few people bother to define it. So here’s an example of what I mean by unified communications: Your online and brick-and-mortar retail business serves consumers and other businesses. You accept orders by phone, via your website (which has a chat function,) and the old-fashioned way – in person. Unified communications means that every communication you have with a given clients is archived and retrievable for reference (and better service.) So a corporate client can walk into your store and know the credit for last month’s return will be applied properly. A consumer can use the chat function on your website, and their inquiry about a new product can be recorded for future reference. Basically, unified communications eliminates the siloes that so frustrate clients. Better-served, happy clients are great for business, and Nextiva gives you the tools to achieve that goal.
Awards and recognition
When Tomas Gorny founded Nextiva ten years ago, he intended for the company to be disruptive – tackling problems and providing solutions in a wholly novel way. And I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Nextiva’s list of awards would far exceed the word limit for this review, so let me just point out some of the more recent accolades the phone provider has garnered.
Every year, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business honors an Arizona-based business with its Spirit of Enterprise Award, presented to companies that boost the local economy “while exhibiting ethics, energy, and excellence in entrepreneurship.” Typically, award recipients are selected based on a nomination process, but in 2018, Nextiva was selected on merit alone.
The Mobile Breakthrough Awards are announced each fall, and for 2018, Nextiva earned another top spot, winning for Mobile VoIP App of the Year. Mobile Breakthrough Awards is an independent company that recognizes people, companies, and innovations in the mobile communications sector.
At a mere ten years old, Nextiva’s reputation as a disruptive upstart is becoming increasingly appealing to a number of business owners. How do I know that? Every year, Deloitte releases its Technology Fast 500™ list, comprising the fastest growing tech-sector companies in North America. This year, Nextiva made it into the big time, ranking 426, with a growth rate of 182% from 2014 to 2017.
Doing well and doing good
Maybe it’s the end of the year that makes me think about my business choices in terms of the bigger picture, but another reason Nextiva edges out other fine VoIP companies is its commitment to building a more resilient, healthier community. Throughout the year, the Nextiva Cares program selects a local Arizona non-profit to partner with in sprucing up some aspect of the community.
For example, in September and October, Nextiva Cares worked with Southwest Human Development for the Grow a Reader book drive. Together, the partners collected more than 200 books for SWHD and for local Little Free Libraries. In July, Nextiva Cares partnered with Free Arts to host a Creativity Day at the Phoenix Art Museum for children who have been the victims of abuse and violence.
Choosing your phone and communications provider may be the biggest business decision you make for 2019. When I made my choice, I looked at reliability, features, intuitive use, reviews, and the kind of company I’d be proud to support. What I’ve gotten from Nextiva is an easily scalable platform that has enabled me to grow my business and feel good about doing it.