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RingCentral Office review: Calling the shots – IT PRO

RingCentral Office review: Calling the shots – IT PRO

It’s easy to see why RingCentral Office is one of the most popular cloud-hosted VoIP services as it delivers an incredible range of call handling features and an extensive choice of call plans, allowing it to be easily customised to your needs.

Customers can pay monthly while yearly contracts offer a 38% price reduction, and SMEs that want all the bells and whistles will find the Standard plan a good starting point. For a monthly fee of £14.99 per user (paid yearly), you get free monthly outbound calls of 750 minutes per user, 250 minutes of calls to freephone numbers assigned to your account plus call analytics, reporting and RingCentral’s slick multi-level IVR (interactive voice response) feature.

All plans, including the basic Entry version, provide plenty of standard features. These include sending voice messages to email, call recording and RingCentral’s free Glip Windows app for messaging, file sharing, video chat and integration with apps such as Dropbox.

You also get the standard Auto-Receptionist service which was already set up for us and linked to our account’s main number. We could assign it to one extension so callers press ‘0’ to be put through to this, they could enter another extension if known or wait for a list to be presented.

Custom greeting messages are created using the web portal’s recording feature which allows you to use a phone, your PC’s microphone or uploaded WAV and MP3 files. The default message worked fine as RingCentral had already inserted our account company name into the audio message for us.

IVR takes this to the next level, providing a visual editor tool for creating multi-level call handling menus. This allows you to present a highly professional front desk and RingCentral offer plenty of help along with sample XML files to get you started.

Creating users doesn’t get any easier as you can do it manually or import them from Active Directory. If you’ve already created extensions, these can be assigned to new users who receive an email message with a secure link to an express setup web page.

This requires them to enter a strong password and voicemail PIN after which they can customise options such as regional settings and their registered location for emergency calls. From their personal web portal, users can create their own greetings and set up call handling rules for transferring calls to other extensions, a mobile or voicemail.

The wizard also presents a page where users can download free softphones for Windows, Macs, iOS and Android, and RingCentral’s Windows softphone is simply the best. Along with a standard dial-pad, it links up with your voicemail, allows you to send text or faxes and even has a HUD (heads-up display) that shows the status of other users and provides quick contact links.

During user and extension creation you can order Cisco, Polycom and Yealink desk phones from RingCentral or use your own. Our Yealink T23G phones required manual configuration but this didn’t take long as the online help showed their web interface and where SIP account details had to be entered.

Reporting is top-notch: the portal’s analytics page displays graphs of total calls, average call time, inbound and outbound calls plus a breakdown of calls by user. Historical reports are included and the portal even shows call quality and MOS (mean opinion score) graphs and pie charts.

SMEs that want the best cloud VoIP services won’t find a better alternative to RingCentral Office. It’s easy to deploy and manage, call handling features are outstanding and it all comes at a very competitive price.

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