Communication is an essential element of conducting business, and Voice over IP has rapidly become the technology of choice for making and receiving voice calls. There are a lot of VoIP solutions, ranging up and down the scale of complexity and cost; some appeal to single person, others to very small or even very large businesses.
This edition of the PCMag Business Choice Awards focuses on VoIP; we’re here to tell you which solutions your fellow PCMag readers rate the best. The Business Choice Awards extend the Readers’ Choice Awards by garnering feedback about the hardware, software, and services our readers deploy, administer, maintain, and use in a business environment.
If you’re the admin for your office’s tech, or if you advise or manage people in such roles, then you know how critical it is to choose the right products. The results of the PCMag Business Choice Awards survey are invaluable when it comes time to choose.
You can be part of Business Choice! Sign up for the Readers’ Choice Survey mailing list to receive invitations in the future.
Looking for expert opinion? Read The Best VoIP Providers and Phone Services of 2017, plus The Best Business VoIP and Cloud PBX Services of 2017.
VoIP Services for Work
There is a veritable cornucopia of business VoIP solutions out there ranging from browser plug-ins and mobile apps to digital PBXs that can host tens of thousands of concurrent calls. We had 211 companies (up from last year’s 160) rated by readers in this year’s Business Choice Awards for Best VoIP Solution. Only 15 received enough votes to be considered for top honors, up from 10 last year.
Our winner, for an unprecedented fourth year in a row, is ooma, with an overall satisfaction score of 8.9, which is up from the 8.8 it had the last two years, but not as good as that amazing 9.4 it earned in 2014.
This year also sees an amazing showing by Google Voice with an 8.8; it’s not exactly the same kind of VoIP you get from others services in this survey, but it can handle things for free that people often pay big bucks for on a hosted PBX. That it got a recent update after five years doesn’t hurt.
There is also high-quality overall scores of 8.6 shared by many vendors that have never made this list before: PhonePower, RCN, and Charter. All might be worth a look for your office phones. On the other end of the scale, Comcast tenaciously comes in dead last with an overall score of 7.1, and improvement over last year’s 6.6.
Reliability is perhaps the most important score for VoIP as voice communication is sensitive to dropped calls and poor performance. Ooma leads the way for the third year in a row with a 9.1 (up from last year’s 8.8). Other standout performers in reliability include Google Voice (9.0) and RCN (8.8).
A very important measure of any service is the response to the critical question “How likely are you to recommend your VoIP solution to a colleague.” Ooma once again dominates the likelihood to be recommended with a 9.1 (up from the last two year’s 9.0), followed by new entrant Google Voice with an 8.8.
That same question is used to calculate the Net Promoter Score, which separates the wheat from the chaff in VoIP services. Ooma destroys the competition for the third year in a row with an impressive 72 percent (up from last year’s 68 percent and the previous year’s 70 percent), followed by new entrants PhonePower (59 percent) and Google Voice (56 percent), and RCN at 50 percent. Comcast has the dubious distinction of having our only negative NPS at -5 percent (up from last year’s -14 percent and the previous year’s -13 percent, so there will be celebrating in Philadelphia tonight!), meaning that customers actual steer their friends away from Comcast VoIP.
Google Voice enjoyed the lowest percentage of respondents requiring tech support at 5 percent. Skype came in second with 10 percent, an improvement over last year’s 12 percent. Otherwise best-in-class ooma had 15 percent of respondents requiring tech support (down from 26 percent last year and 21 percent the year before). As far as tech support quality goes, RCN sits on top with an 8.9 while our leader ooma recorded a 7.5, so there’s room for our multi-year winner to improve. MagicJack once again holds the bottom for tech support quality with a 5.4, followed closely by Skype at 5.7 and perennial bad boy Comcast with a 6.4.
See all of our survey results for VoIP Service.
WINNERS: Voice over IP Services
In the four years we’ve done this survey of VoIP services, ooma has never faltered in pulling in the best overall score. For use in an office, customers clearly love the equipment and service it provides.
We email survey invitations to PCMag.com community members, specifically subscribers to our Readers’ Choice Survey mailing list. The surveys are hosted by SurveyMonkey, which also performs our data collection. This survey was in the field from January 30, 2017 to February 20, 2017.
Respondents were asked to rate their VoIP service using multiple questions about their overall satisfaction with the solution, as well as experiences with technical support within the past 12 months.
Because the goal of the survey is to understand how the email marketing solutions compare to one another and not how one respondent’s experience compares to another’s, we use the average of the email marketing solutions’ rating, not the average of every respondent’s rating. In all cases, the overall ratings are not based on averages of other scores in the table; they are based on answers to the question, “Overall, how satisfied are you with your VoIP provider?”
Scores not represented as a percentage are on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the best.
Net Promoter Scores are based on the concept introduced by Fred Reichheld in his 2006 best seller, The Ultimate Question, that no other question can better define the loyalty of a company’s customers than “how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” This measure of brand loyalty is calculated by taking the percent of respondents who answered 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percent who answered 0 through 6 (detractors). (For more, read PCMag’s Top Consumer Recommended Companies for 2016.)
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