This is actually my self-help note that may have value to other small businesses or self-employed people:
Facts underlying my decision about a small business telephone system:
- Small business phone systems today include a lot more today than manage calls. The market is highly fragmented. The complexity that I mostly do not need actually creates a barrier to my decision making now.
- My #1 unmet need is the ability to effortlessly manage TEXT MSSAGING across various devices and phone numbers and keep records/notes of text conversations in my CRM (Pipedrive in my case).
- Microsoft (Skype, Teams) lacks ability to port in existing U.S. telephone numbers and is therefore eliminated as a possible provider even tough Windows 11 promises to offer this integration that I seek in the near future.
- Google (Meet, Voice) lacks the integration that I seek.
- The phone company I recently left (Simplii) has fantastic customer service and all the integration that I seek but accomplished this through third party software, apps and browser extension that felt clunky to use.
- My CRM (Pipedrive) offers integrated call service as a low cost ($300 annual upgrade) to add calling but does not address the other integration.
- Other apps suggested for integration (like Twillio) have less than adequate reviews by small business users who appear to be overwhelmed by the complexity of getting the results they want.
- The #1 most popular small business telephone system in the U.S. is Ringcentral (with less than 3% market share indicating how scattered this market is) so I am considering going back to them.
My business/personal use includes 5 numbered lines:
business 1 line
business 2 line
business 3 line
COST: My current cost is $2500 per year with 4 providers. Most of this cost is an out-of-date cellular service plan through Verizon Wireless that handles 2 of the lines for $1,900 per year.
The future cost is expected to be $1,240 with two providers.