Virtual Phone System, Voice Mail Systems & More
Below, you will find the features of the RingCentral hosted PBX phone system. RingCentral offers a feature set unmatched by other virtual phone number services. After you read about RingCentral’s features, you will see why they are the leader when it comes to a hosted small PBX phone service.
Unified Messaging with a Virtual Phone Number
Do you have a cell phone? Home phone? Work phone? Does each phone have voicemail? In addition, do you have a fax machine? It would seem then, that you have a lot of work to do just to keep up with all of your messages, faxes and phone calls.
The idea of unified messaging is to consolidate all of your communications needs into a single phone number to allow complete control of all your calls, as well as your voice and fax messages. Your clients, family and friends only have to know one number in order to reach you. You never have to give out your private numbers, yet you can forward calls to any of your telephone numbers so you can be reached if, and when, you want.
RingCentral virtual phone number service fulfills this idea by providing you with a single toll-free, or local, number that can accept inbound faxes and voice messages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and saving them in your unified online account. These messages may be accessed online or over the phone, and can even be forwarded as attachments to multiple email addresses, providing even greater work efficiency.
RingCentral can also route your voice calls to multiple numbers, e.g., your cell, home and work phone, etc., but will always save messages in your RingCentral voicemail service account. Therefore, RingCentral eliminates the need for numerous voice mail systems, passwords and, most of all, time consuming phone calls to check voice messages.
What’s more, you can even forward your existing phone lines to your RingCentral virtual PBX phone system, creating a truly unified call routing and messaging service for all of your existing telephone numbers.
Toll-Free and Local Virtual Phone Numbers
When you signup for a RingCentral virtual phone number account, you have the choice of choosing a toll-free number or a local number for your small business phone service. You can even purchase unlimited additional local numbers for $4.99 each, per month.
RingCentral allows you to purchase local phone numbers in more than 200 area codes, giving your small business a local presence wherever you want to do business. This allows customers in markets where you don’t have a physical presence think that you are a local company. Each local number you purchase has the exact same features as your main phone number, and can be routed to any location in the world.
You can forward your existing local, or toll-free, numbers to your RingCentral account to take advantage of the powerful telecommunication features at your disposal.
RingCentral does not charge you for incoming phone calls that are not forwarded. This means that customers can call in and listen to announcements or leave a voicemail and you are not charged usage minutes. You can also call in to check voicemail and not be charged. You are only charged once the call is forwarded and connected to a live person.
Outbound Phone Calls
Please note: RingCentral virtual phone number service is only for inbound phone calls. You do not use this service for outbound phone calls. Outbound business phone calls are made through your current telephone service provider.
RingCentral does offer a DigitalLine™ phone service that you can add to your RingCentral small business phone service. Starting at only $4.99 a month, DigitalLine™ adds voice-over-IP (VOIP) Internet calling capability for your small business. You use your existing broadband Internet connection to place outbound calls with your computer, a standard phone or an Internet phone.
With DigitalLine™, you have the option of choosing a calling plan for $24.99 that gives you unlimited outbound calling in the US and Canada. This is a very good option for the small business that needs an outbound calling plan.
Virtual Phone Number Minutes
Each of the three RingCentral virtual phone number services comes with included minutes, which are used for receiving inbound calls and both inbound and outbound faxes. The included minutes range from 300 to unlimited local and long distance minutes, depending on which RingCentral plan you subscribe to.
You will be billed in thirty-second increments, rounded to the nearest half minute, for each minute of usage. (A fax uses about one minute per page.) For example, if you’re on the phone for 1.47 minutes, you will be billed for 1.5 minutes.
RingCentral small business phone service bills only for one leg of phone service. Every time a call is made to your RingCentral virtual phone number, and the call is connected to one of your employees, there are two legs of phone service being used. One leg is the call into your RingCentral small business phone service. The second leg is when RingCentral forwards the call to whatever phone number for that particular extension.
There are some virtual phone number services that will quote you a small, per minute charge. However, they are billing you for each leg of the phone call. In other words, if they say they only charge you 2.9¢ per minute, but charge for each leg, you are really being charged 5.8¢ per minute. (You have to be very careful when you are comparing virtual phone number services.)
When you are running out of minutes for your plan, you receive an email notification telling you to add funds to your RingCentral account. There is also an auto-purchase option that will automatically add funds to your RingCentral account so you never run out of available minutes.
Additional minutes are purchased at the rate determined by your plan. The prices range from 3.9¢ per minute to 4.9¢ per minute. See the plan comparison table at the bottom of the main RingCentral virtual phone service review to see the rates for each RingCentral plan.
If you find that you need more (or less) included monthly minutes in your rate plan, you can instantly change your service plan (upgrade or downgrade) via the RingCentral web interface.
Virtual Phone Number Extensions
Depending on which RingCentral virtual phone numbers package you opt for, you will have anywhere from 10 to an unlimited number of available extensions to configure anyway you wish. When customers dial one of your RingCentral virtual phone numbers, they will be directed to specific extensions, depending on whom they want to talk to, or what they wish to accomplish.
An extension is assigned to employees or departments, regardless of their location around the country, or around the world. The customer’s call will be forwarded to the correct phone number to get a hold of the employee that is assigned to that extension. It doesn’t matter if the employee is at home, traveling on business, or at the office, the call will be routed to the phone number where the employee is currently reachable.
All extensions have the full capabilities of your RingCentral small business telephone system. This means that every extension can receive faxes, take voicemail service messages if the employee is unavailable, as well as do anything else that your RingCentral virtual phone number service allows.
An extension can also be set up to only accept faxes, play company announcements, or just take voicemails. The choice is up to you. You have full control of each extension through the RingCentral online interface.
Auto Attendant For Your Small Business Phone Service
The RingCentral auto attendant functions much the same way that a receptionist would. It is the job of the auto attendant to make sure that the incoming call is routed to the appropriate department or employee.
When a call is made to one of your RingCentral virtual phone numbers, the virtual auto attendant answers with a professional recording (this could be a default recording, one you record on your own, or one you had recorded for you). Callers will hear options such as “Press 1 for service, press 2 for sales, press 3 for accounting”, or “Press 1 for Bob Jones, Press 2 for Sally Smith, Press 3 for Mike Davis”. The RingCentral auto attendant is fully customizable, so the choice of what the caller hears is up to you.
Incoming faxes are automatically detected and accepted. There is never a busy signal. Once the fax is received, it is delivered to your email inbox or your online account, depending on how you have it set up.
When a caller enters an extension number for an employee or department, the call will go to whatever phone number you select for that extension. This can be a business phone, home phone, cell phone, or whatever phone number someone is currently reachable at. The inbound call can also ring a sequence of phone numbers, or multiple phone numbers at one time.
You can set up different call routing options for different days of the week and different times of the day. It is all up to you as your RingCentral virtual phone number system is fully customizable to fit your needs.
Voice Mail Systems – Voicemail Service
You will operate like a Fortune 500 company with professional greetings, call routing and message mailboxes. And you can route all of your phone numbers – cell phone, home phone, landline, etc. – into your RingCentral voicemail systems. This eliminates the need to check multiple message lines.
You can be notified via email, text message or online via the RingCentral Call Controller whenever you have a new voicemail. You can set up your RingCentral voicemail service account to send you emails with .wav attachment files that allow you to listen to your voicemail directly from your email, via this >voicemail to email feature. You can call from a phone to listen to your voicemails, or you can listen to them from the RingCentral interface on your computer.
You can record a new greeting for any of your extensions from any phone or directly on your computer. Or you can have greetings professionally recorded, which you can upload to your RingCentral virtual voicemail service account.
RingCentral will not charge you inbound minutes when someone calls on your local phone number and leaves a voicemail, or if you call in to check your business voicemail service via your local number. However, if calls to voicemail are placed via your toll-free number, minutes are used.
When you are listening to your voicemail services from a phone, RingCentral will give you the option to call the caller back without you having to dial a number. Or, if you are listening to the voicemail service online, RingCentral gives you the option to return the call via the RingOut call controller. You click on the caller’s number and tell RingCentral which of your phone numbers you are at. RingCentral will then call your phone number. Once you pickup, you will be prompted to press the number 1 on your phone, at which time RingCentral will call the person who left the voicemail.
You can separately set up the voice mail systems for each of your RingCentral extensions. You can control the length of an individual voicemail, making the available recording time anywhere from 30 seconds up to 5 minutes.
Your RingCentral account will hold up to 100 voicemail service messages, with each being held up to 30 days. You can configure your RingCentral voice mail systems to automatically delete old messages if your voice mailbox reaches it capacity of 100 messages, so you never miss any important messages. This 100 message limit includes both voicemail and faxes, so once your combination of both reaches 100, you are at your limit.
RingCentral small business phone service comes with the most advanced fax features available anywhere. You can send and receive faxes with incredible ease from your online RingCentral virtual phone number account, Microsoft Office, email or your phone. You will receive fax software to electronically sign and edit faxes and design cover pages. With RingCentral, your fax machine will be obsolete.
Incoming and outgoing faxes are remotely processed by RingCentral so that your computer and phone lines are never tied up due to faxes. No one will ever get a busy signal when they try to send you a fax. And you don’t have to wait and see if a fax went through, as RingCentral will notify you when the fax is successfully (or not) sent.
With a RingCentral small business telephone system, you have the ability to send broadcast faxes to a group of people, easily sending one fax to multiple recipients.
Outgoing faxes are transmitted over an encrypted connection, so you never have to worry about your fax security over the Internet. Incoming faxes are stored in your password-protected online RingCentral virtual phone numbers account.
With RingCentral’s Fax on Demand service, you can set up extensions to automatically fax documents to callers or customers. You pre-load documents such as real estate listings, restaurant menus or anything else you want to readily fax to any caller. The caller then calls that extension and your pre-recorded greeting explains what the caller can have automatically faxed to them. The caller enters their fax number and automatically receives the document without any interaction from your company.
All of the business plans offered by RingCentral’s virtual phone numbers service offer a dial-by-name directory feature. This feature is a $4.99 per month option on the Pro plan.
If you choose to use the dial-by-name directory, any caller will have the option to search for employees via first or last name. The name of the employee will be read to the caller, as well as the employee’s extension.
You control which extensions are included in your RingCentral dial-by-name directory through the online interface. Setup is quick, and you can instantly add and delete extensions from the directory.
Virtual Phone Numbers Call Forwarding
You can route callers to any phone you want, anywhere in the world. And you set up forwarding options for each extension separately. You also can set up call forwarding based on the time of day. Calls could go to your office phone during normal business hours and to your home phone in the evenings.
You control call forwarding/routing via the RingCentral small business phone service online interface. Setting up and changing your call routing is quick and easy.
The routing is transparent to the caller. The phone rings and someone answers. The caller thinks that the employee is in the office. They have no way of knowing the employee can be anywhere in the world.
RingCentral offers two advanced call forwarding service features – FindMe and FollowMe.
FindMe is a multi-number locater service, which allows for an incoming call to ring to multiple numbers, ensuring that someone will answer the call. With FindMe call forwarding, you can forward calls to as many as 10 numbers. Plus, you can have all your phones ring at once or in a fixed or rotating order. For example, if you forward calls to a sales team and one person doesn’t pick up, the call is automatically forwarded to the next person or department. You can change FindMe call forwarding numbers at any time through your online account.
FindMe lets callers “find” you more easily because they will be routed to numerous phone numbers. It routes calls to multiple people (your sales team, for example) on a rotating basis. Through your online account, you type in all of the telephone numbers you’d like to receive calls on—your mobile, office phone or your employees’ phones. You may choose to enter only one number or as many as 10. If you include more than one number, you can either have all numbers ring simultaneously or in a specified order.
FollowMe priority call forwarding is a single-number call forwarding service. What that means is that FollowMe will bypass your FindMe profile and route all of your calls to a single number that you can add by phone—on-the-fly. This method is extremely handy if you need to temporarily forward all your calls to a new number.
Answering Rules For Your Virtual Phone Number
RingCentral virtual phone number service’s flexible Answering Rules allows you to modify your system quickly and easily to handle incoming calls based on day of week, time of day, caller ID and the number they called. You can create rules for individual extensions and the main number.
You can define your small business’ days and hours of operation and specify which greeting should be heard and how to route the incoming calls. You can have a greeting that plays during your normal business hours and another that plays when you are closed. You can route calls differently based on the day of the week, and the hour of the day. You can schedule calls to go to one employee or department on certain days of the week, and to other employees or departments on the other days of the week. The possibilities are endless.
You can route callers based on their caller ID. Key customers or family members can be routed directly to your cell phone while everyone else goes through the normal call routing. You can set up your RingCentral account to make it so that certain people can always get a hold of you, no matter where you are in the world, while everyone else is handled differently.
If you have multiple phone numbers for your business, you can have certain numbers reach certain employees or departments.
With RingCentral’s Answering Rules, your inbound call routing is only limited by your imagination.
ACD Call Queuing For Your Small Business Phone Service
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) queuing allows you to route inbound calls to the appropriate departments and employees. ACD queuing allows for timely answering of calls by the appropriate departments or employees while minimizing the hold time for the incoming call.
With RingCentral small business phone service system’s ACD queue, you can have up to 50 callers on hold in each queue, an unlimited number of employees in each queue, and an unlimited number of queues.
So, rather than have callers go to voicemail, they can be put into a RingCentral queue and placed on hold until the next available employee can take the call. A caller in queue can be routed to any extension, anywhere in the world, just like any other incoming RingCentral virtual phone number call.
You can assign rules and skills based call routing for each queue. This means the next call in a queue can be routed based upon which employee has taken the fewest number of calls, how long it has been since an employee has taken a call, and the skill levels of employees available to take calls.
You will have full reporting capabilities with the RingCentral queues. You can run reports to see who handled calls in the queue, as well as other reporting points.
Virtual Phone Number Call Screening
When a call comes in to one of your RingCentral virtual phone numbers, the system identifies the call and sends the number, or the name of the caller, to your phone display or to RingCentral’s exclusive Call Controller pop-up window on your computer. You can also have the RingCentral system ask a caller to state their name, which you will hear through your phone or computer speaker.
Once you have identified the incoming caller, you have the option to answer the call, reject it, or send it to voicemail. If you are at your computer when the call comes in, you also have the option of typing a short message into the Call Controller, which is translated to audio and read to the caller by a computer-generated voice.
You can put unwanted callers on a blocked numbers list and never receive a call from them again. Also, you can define a list of allowed numbers or area codes and limit calls to only those that you want to receive.
RingCentral’s Call Controller turns your computer into your personal business command center. It brings you real-time control of your inbound calls and gives immediate access to faxing and your RingCentral small office phone system account.
Call Controller lets you experience the power and quality of voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) phone service for free. A headset and microphone turns your computer into a smart phone, allowing you to answer calls via your computer.
All of the call screening features mentioned in the previous section are available via the Call Controller, as are all of the call-routing features. Choose which of your phones you want the call to ring on, right from your computer. Or, if you don’t want to answer the call, you are one mouse click away from sending the call to voicemail, sending an automatic text-to-voice response, or rejecting the call.
With Call Controller, you can monitor voicemail service messages as they are being left, and pick up the call if you decide to talk to the caller. You also can record calls directly onto your computer, as well as join as many incoming calls as you want into one conference call.
Call Controller also features Microsoft Outlook integration, which provides you with one-touch dialing to, and by-name call screening of, all your Outlook contacts.
RingCentral Call Controller is a free software download for your PC or Mac.
Hold Music and Messages
With RingCentral virtual phone number service, you have the option of having callers listen to music while RingCentral rings your phones to locate you or an employee. You can also record a message to play while callers are on hold, or you can set the system to let them listen to just the ring tone.
Using Answering Rules, you can choose what music or message is played according to the day, time, caller ID and/or incoming number. And each extension can have its own selection. This gives you complete control over what your callers hear as RingCentral is locating someone for them to talk to.
Virtual Phone Number Call Logs
RingCentral call logs give you a complete record of who called you, their phone number and the date, time and duration of the call. This information is stored in your online RingCentral small business phone service account indefinitely, allowing you to access the information from any computer, at any time.
Any voicemail or fax associated with the call is only kept for 30 days, but the other information regarding the call is kept forever.
The call log even tracks missed calls, giving you the caller ID information, allowing you to return the call, if you so desire.
You can even download your call logs or email them to yourself or anyone else you want.
Your RingCentral virtual phone number service comes with RingMe, which is an innovative click-to-call feature for your website visitors and email recipients.
RingMe is a button or text code that you embed in your website, email signature, online ad, or any online document. When the reader clicks the icon or link, they will be presented with a window where they enter their phone number and selects if they want to be called now or later.
Once the reader clicks on “Call”, and it is the time they want to be called, RingCentral calls their number and then calls your business number, connecting you to your customer. Of course, you will have use of all of the RingCentral call screening functions, so you choose if you want to take the call or not.