RingCentral is one of the leading VoIP providers for businesses. It’s a fairly advanced business phone service that offers key features that many large businesses and enterprises need. But when you’re running a startup or small business, a RingCentral alternative may be a better fit for your team.
RingCentral’s product and business model caters to “mid-market” companies. These are businesses that aren’t Fortune 500 companies but also aren’t small businesses with just a few dozen employees.
Even though RingCentral is cheaper than landline phone systems, it’s still more costly than other VoIP services that offer the same amount of (or even more) features. And it’s hard to use. Especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT person on the team.
In this post, we’ll go into the details of what RingCentral offers, why it might not be the right fit for a startup, and what startups and small businesses can use instead.
Is RingCentral the Best Virtual Phone System for Your Business?
RingCentral supports many must-have cloud phone system features. From basic call management and text messaging options to a contact center add-on that helps teams provide customer support, the platform is optimized for professional use. But with RingCentral, small business owners may end up paying a lot without getting a ton in return.
Here’s why RingCentral isn’t suited for modern startups and small businesses.
RingCentral’s starting price is $29.99 per month per user, but that only includes basic features. Advanced features like video conferencing, call recording, integrations, and 24/7 support are locked behind higher-priced plans and additional fees.
If your business has a few dozen employees, RingCentral can cost more than $1,500 per month if you want to use all their features and the call center solution.
For a small team, you probably don’t want to spend so much money on your phone system every month as the costs can quickly add up.
There are plenty of RingCentral alternatives that are much more cost-effective for startups to use and easier to adopt. After all, you’re not just looking for a laundry list of features. You want a service that works and that your team likes to use.
As a product that launched 20 years ago, RingCentral has kept the user interface and aesthetic of the early 2000s web products. Not a big deal for you? Think again.
A recent study showed that 55% of employees would rather use their own phone than a desk phone. ☎️ Those employees use products like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram for their personal communications. They’ll want to use a simple and slick service for work. Providing anything else results in them using their personal cellphone numbers (and you wasting money on a service nobody actually uses).
RingCentral can also leave a lot of room for error when sharing a phone number with your team. Since you can’t tell when someone else is about to send a text message or on an active call, you may accidentally reach out to the same client twice. On the flip side, some RingCentral alternatives — like OpenPhone — allow you to see when a colleague is viewing a conversation, typing, or on a call.
Like other VoIP services, RingCentral can work on mobile devices and computers. RingCentral also sells desk phones that can be used with its service. If your business currently uses desk phones and wants to switch to RingCentral, you have to ensure they support your phone in the first place. And there’s an additional cost to switch to a RingCentral desk phone.
Due to COVID-19 and the rise of remote work, many businesses are now switching off of desk phones and using their personal mobile devices and work computers to power their VoIP services.
Best Features Locked Behind Expensive Plans
For modern businesses, key features like CRM and Slack integrations, real-time analytics, APIs, and 24/7 support are much needed. With RingCentral, they lock all these features behind their higher-tier price plans. If you want to integrate Salesforce, Hubspot, or another CRM with RingCentral, you have to sign up for the Premium plan, which starts at $44.99 per user per month.
Slack is a tool used by many small and growing businesses. RingCentral’s Slack integration is very limited, however. You can integrate Slack to start video calls with teammates, but that’s it — it doesn’t add any extra benefits for your phone calls. When integrating Slack with your phone system, you want an integration that can send you updates about calls through Slack and even provide voicemail transcriptions in case you can’t check your voicemail.
Due to its size, RingCentral’s customer support team is unable to effectively support all of its customers. Based on publicly available reviews, it can take days to even get a response from the support team. In addition, 24/7 support is locked behind higher-tier price plans. Here are some examples of how customers feel about RingCentral’s support:
5 RingCentral Alternatives for Small Businesses and Startups
Many RingCentral alternatives offer more features at significantly lower costs. Here are five service providers that are better suited for small businesses and startups.
OpenPhone is a feature-rich business phone system built specifically for startups, small businesses, mid-market businesses, and individuals. Simply put, OpenPhone has the same features as RingCentral, but with a modern user experience and at a better price point. (You can save up to 66% by switching to OpenPhone! 💰)
To see how OpenPhone compares to RingCentral, below is a table comparing OpenPhone and RingCentral’s pricing and features:
|Price per month||$10 per user||$35/user|
|SMS, MMS||✓||Extra $10/mo|
|Voicemail to text||✓||✓|
|Set business hours||✓||✓|
|Text message auto-replies||✓||X|
|Auto-attendant (phone menu)||✓||✓|
|CRM integrations||Coming soon||Upon upgrade|
|iOS and Android apps||✓||✓|
|Desktop apps for Mac & Windows||Coming soon||✓|
On top of everything listed above, OpenPhone offers many powerful features for modern business phone systems including:
- Toll-free numbers
- Coverage for U.S., Canada, and international calling
- Crystal-clear audio quality
- Business hour settings
- iOS and Android mobile apps
- Browser-based and desktop apps
- Shared phone numbers for customer support
- Multiple phone numbers tied to one account
- Call forwarding and call routing
OpenPhone’s features aren’t the only great thing about it. It’s also a service that constantly implements customer feedback into the product, whereas RingCentral’s feedback boards have hundreds of feature requests that have been abandoned for years. (Check out our changelog to see what we’re up to.) As a result, OpenPhone customers rave about our service:
“We switched to OpenPhone from RingCentral during the COVID pandemic since it allowed us to work remotely without missing any calls. It allows us to have better customer service levels, quicker responses as anyone can respond to customers in real-time while traveling. We have tried other services over the years, and they didn’t have the same level of support we are getting with OpenPhone.“ — Amira Harris, president and owner, Aisle Travel™
“Way better pricing, Way better customer service, and a phone system that is always improving its functionality to better serve its customers!! That is why I switched from RingCentral to OpenPhone!” — Bob Richey, owner, Party Magic Entertainment
How To Switch and Port Your Number From RingCentral
Want to port your number from RingCentral to OpenPhone so you can keep the same phone number? Here’s how easy it is:
- Create an OpenPhone account.
- Fill out this 1-minute porting form.
- If desired, keep your RingCentral contacts by exporting your RingCentral contacts as a CSV file, then importing your RingCentral CSV into OpenPhone.
Ooma is another RingCentral alternative that allows you to manage calls and send text messages through U.S. local numbers or through a complimentary toll-free number. With its affordable low-tier plan, you can access a mobile app that includes an auto-attendant (IVR), virtual faxing, and an overhead paging system.
Unfortunately, Ooma’s cost-effective plans — which are still far pricier than OpenPhone — come at the cost of robust features. The service doesn’t offer any integrations or analytics at all. Plus, you have to upgrade to even get access to Ooma’s desktop app.
If you do choose to upgrade, you can access the following features for less than the cost of RingCentral’s most basic plan:
- Video conferencing
- Call recording
- Voicemail transcriptions
Phone.com is an easy-to-use business phone service that uniquely boasts HIPAA compliance with its mid-tier plan — the cost of which still makes it a cheaper RingCentral alternative.
Phone.com does offer a basic plan for just $12.99 per user per month, but all you’ll really get are one phone number, 300 minutes, and 1,000 texts monthly — usually far from enough for business use. And if we’re being honest, its mid-tier plan isn’t so impressive either, beyond the HIPAA compliance. You’ll only get unlimited calls, texts, and video conferencing (with 25 people).
The reason Phone.com makes it on this list is because its highest-tier plan is the same price as RingCentral’s basic plan — and you’ll get a number of features that RingCentral lacks. These include:
- Call analytics
- CRM integrations
- Advanced video conferencing features
- Voicemail transcriptions
GoToConnect, formerly known as Jive, is a robust RingCentral alternative that supports shared phone numbers, auto-attendants, and more.
But admittedly, though GoToConnect has cheaper starting prices than RingCentral, it is still pricier than all the other alternatives on this list. You need to pay $24 per user per month for a starter plan that’s missing VoIP must-haves like call recording and voicemail to email.
If you upgrade to the next-tier plan, you’ll only save 99 cents per month compared to RingCentral, but you will get:
- Audio conferencing
- Real-time predictive analytics
- Video conferencing with 25 simultaneous webcams
Like RingCentral, Vonage has pretty basic low-tier features. You get access to a mobile and desktop app with unlimited calling, SMS, and team messaging. But for the same price as RingCentral’s cheapest plan, you can become a premium user to connect to a desk phone and unlock:
- Video conferencing
- CRM integrations
- An auto-attendant feature
But buyer beware: Vonage for Business does hide a lot of extra costs, like monthly fees for voicemail transcriptions, on-demand fees for call recording, and more add-on services. You could end up paying just as much as (if not more than) you would for RingCentral if you don’t keep an eye out for potential charges.Check out our guide on Vonage vs RingCentral for more info on how these two providers compare.
OpenPhone: The Best RingCentral Alternative
If you’re looking for a RingCentral alternative, look no further than OpenPhone. ✨ With OpenPhone, you can give your business communications an upgrade by centralizing your calls, texts, and team messages. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the features your business needs at a low cost — without hidden fees.
Ready to make the switch? Start a free trial of OpenPhone today.