Why Free Hosted Telephone Systems Are Not For Your Business

J2 Global provides a range of telecommunication services to small businesses. A fax to email service (eFax), email hosting, and a hosted telephone systems.
Today J2 Global enhanced it’s eVoice service and Mark Meyers, director, Voice Services talked with me about this and what it means for growing businesses.
There are several leading “virtual (or hosted) telephone” services and most have quite similar features. Frankly, it’s hard to tell the difference.
Voice to email, follow me and other features are quite common amongst RingCentral, Grasshopper, VirtualPBX , Google Voice, and other services.

Wayne Libonati, President of Performance Connectivity, Inc. explained to me that he likes hosted phone systems three main reasons::
Flexibility – He can add, remove or change ANY feature of the system through a web app. Instant gratification.
Cost – No upfront equipment fees. All fees are flat rate so I never see a bill with “extra” charges.
Disaster Recovery/Continuity – Regardless of whether the building burns down or we are hit with a bad snow storm, our clients can ALWAYS reach us – even if it is just a voicemail. Takes a lot of our continuity planning out of the picture. It’s built into the solution.
However, Mark explained to me that one of the key differentiators of eVoice and free services, such as Google Voice, is the eVoice provides 24/7 support and their interface is designed for non-technical business owners, hence it’s easy to use.
Another thing that separates the “decent” systems from the better or very good systems is the “voice to email” feature. With the free or cheaper systems, you often have to listen to 80% transcribed calls as the quality of the transcription is slow low.With better systems, like eVoice, Mark explained that most of the transcribed calls (80%) are fine.
A telephone is still one of the most important tools a business owner has. When that phone rings, it is so important that it works, “it’s your phone number” Mark said.
Right from the start J2 Global’s eVoice tries to have simple features that most business will want, explained Mark. After customers get comfortable with eVoice, and as they grow, they can turn on more features at their convenience.
As you look for a hosted telephone system for your business, don’t be “blind sided” by free or low cost/cheap services. Be careful about singing up with a company that’s just trying to be sold for some huge venture capital return on investment. Go with a company that has been around for several years and that will be around (as best you can tell) for many more years.