For this head to head, we're going to compare two services from the same company: RingCentral Office and RingCentral Professional. Both RingCentral Professional and RingCentral Office connect to the same service, so the experience for the inbound caller will be much the same. Setting up and other tasks that use the computer will also be similar for the user. But the biggest difference is that RingCentral Professional is primarily to forward calls to users anywhere, while RingCentral Office is made with brick-and-mortar offices in mind.
First, an introduction to the two services. RingCentral Professional is similar to on-the-go VoIP services like eVoice and Grasshopper. Like those services, you get a pool of minutes that is shared among a small number of users, who do not need to be geographically close to each other at all. It assumes that work can and will be done anywhere, and that coworkers are more likely to be independent contractors who do more telecommuting and work on the go than coming into the office to get work done. RingCentral Professional can be used with any phone that has a dial tone, or you can use the RingCentral app on any mobile device. You can dial into the service using the virtual calling card feature, which uses your RingCentral minutes and RingCentral caller ID, and incoming calls can be forwarded to up to ten numbers per extension.
RingCentral's Professional plans are Pro, which gives you 300 local, long distance and/or toll-free minutes with two extensions for $9.99/mo plus $0.049/add'l minutes; Pro Plus, which gives you 1,000 local, long distance and/or toll-free minutes with five extensions for $19.99/mo plus $0.044/add'l minutes; or Pro Power, which gives you 2,000 local and/or long distance minutes plus a separate 1,000 toll-free minutes with ten extensions for $24.99/mo plus $0.039/add'l minutes.
RingCentral Office is designed for a more traditional office environment. That said, it's still more flexible than traditional PBXs by far. But going for RingCentral Office, the assumption is that somewhere in the world, there is a building people go to, or at least a home office. Work can get done on the go, but it's just as likely that the majority of people in an office are in a central location. To that end, RingCentral offers a number of IP phones for sale and rent. But the plans go far beyond phones. RingCentral Office has loads of features designed to keep your business at maximum productivity and save you time. RingCentral Office is, quite simply, more than a phone system. RingCentral Office plans all include unlimited minutes and are priced based on the number of users. With no contract, the prices per month per user are as follows:
Standard: 1 user - $49.99; 2-19 users - $29.99; 20-99 users - $26.99; 99-999 users - $24.99.
Premium: 1 user - $54.99; 2-19 users - $39.99; 20-99 users - $36.99; 99-999 users - $34.99.
Enterprise: 1 user - $64.99; 2-19 users - $54.99; 20-99 users - $49.99; 99-999 users - $44.99.
You can get a discount for a long-term contract and an even steeper discount if you prepay for the entire year.
The Standard plan gives you 1,000 toll-free minutes; the Premium plan gives you 2,500 toll-free minutes; and the Enterprise plan gives you 10,000-toll free minutes. These minutes are shared between all users in the account. Note that in order to use these minutes, you have to order the toll-free number, which will cost you an extra $4.99/mo. All three plans give you unlimited fax number, although again a dedicated fax number will cost you an extra $4.99; the free trial lasts 30 days.Additional Features:
All three Professional plans give you paperless fax and web support; the Pro Plus and Pro Power add a dedicated fax number; the Pro Plus and Pro Power give you a dial-by-name directory; the Pro Plus and Pro Power give you phone support. The free trial lasts seven days and lets you use up to 30 minutes.
All Office and Professional plans give you access to RingCentral's Hosted PBX features, also called the call management system, which gives you:
- Call routing rules, including office hours, & call hunting to up to 10 numbers per user
- Paperless fax
- Auto attendant
- Music on hold
- Call forwarding
- Call transferring
- Automated, recorded, or premium professionally-recorded prompts
- Call recording
- Customizable Caller ID
- RingMe Click-to-dial widget
- Box & Dropbox integration
- Microsoft Office Integration
- Call queues
- Mobile app
- RingCentral Softphone
All RingCentral Office plans give you the following features:
- Dial-by-Name directory
- Business SMS (texting)
- 24/7 phone support (for two or more users)
- Assistance in deploying your new RingCentral system (for ten or more users)
- Phone sale or rental
- Call park
- Shared lines
The Premium tiers add:
- Salesforce CRM integration
- Automatic call recording
The Enterprise tiers get an exclusive powerful tool for video conferencing and web meetings, which gives you the ability to video conference in HD voice/video up to 25 users over a mobile device, and lets you share files over the cloud.
RingCentral also offers premium features for an extra fee. Extra numbers are $4.99/mo, whether a vanity number, a local, or toll-free number. Vanity numbers have a $30 one-time activation fee. RingCentral Professional users can purchase additional virtual extensions for $2.99/mo each.
The RingCentral mobile app, which is free to download and available on Android, iOS and BlackBerry, gives you access to the RingCentral service over your Wi-Fi or mobile data. With the app, you can make/receive calls and faxes, check your voicemail, and make changes to your call settings.
The RingCentral Softphone is a similar tool, but made for your PC or Mac. Like the mobile app, you can make/receive calls and faxes, and check voicemails. The RingCentral Softphone also has the ability to route incoming calls, send callers text-to-speech messages, record and save calls, and screen voicemails. You can make calls with the softphone by entering a phone number or with a click of a mouse to an Outlook contact or number on the call log. You don't have to stay logged in to your RingCentral portal to use the RingCentral Softphone, which is one of its best features.Fax Options:
One more feature that deserves special mention is the paperless fax. RingCentral goes beyond just replacing your fax machine with some great web-based business tools. You have your choice of using your regular number for inbound faxes, or have a dedicated line for faxes which will cost you $4.99, the same price as any number with RingCentral. You can send faxes from your PC, either sending out through the portal, using Microsoft Office integration, or send from cloud storage sites Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox. You can use the RingCentral Softphone or their mobile app as well. You can create a fax group and send to that group as easily as you can send to one number. You can save an image of your signature to add as a digital signature. You can even block numbers or entire area codes to avoid junk faxes. Paperless fax is included as a feature for both Professional and Office subscribers, although it will use up one minute per page sent or received for Professional plans, and Office subscribers get unlimited paperless faxes.Conclusion:
RingCentral has all their bases covered by giving users the option of connecting to the RingCentral Hosted PBX with regular calls using call forwarding, or connecting via IP phones. Both Office and Professional users can connect using their mobile device or computer. Office users get a lot more features, and, if you have the means, any company can use telepresence on their mobile devices without requiring any separate hardware. RingCentral Professional plans are ideal for users that work mainly with independent contractors, while RingCentral Office plans are better-suited for offices with full-time employees, even if said employees work from home or are on the road much of the time. Although it's expensive, you can have two or even one subscriber per account with RingCentral Office. You'd be getting a lot of features that are overkill for such a small company, which is why Professional is usually a better match for small companies. Because you can connect with up to ten phone numbers per extension on both Office and Professional plans, small companies can easily get by using only a few extensions. RingCentral makes small companies look large, but they can also make large companies work like a small business by bringing workers together over a high quality videoconference. If you have ten users or more, I recommend spending the extra cash for RingCentral Office. The extra features will be well worth it to save you time, manage your calls, and be even more productive.