Grasshopper Vs Nextiva – in-Depth Comparison

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Grasshopper virtual telephone system is one of the most popular services available for small business. Its popularity stems from it makes running your business from your existing mobile phone not just easy but very convenient. Additionally, Grasshopper allows a small business to project the image of a much larger organization by providing a professional call answering service.

nextiva_vs_grasshopper

Nextiva on the other hand also has a call answering and forwarding service called Nextiva Connect, which is a directly comparable service to Grasshopper. The main difference is though that Nextiva also has cloud hosted IP/PBX services targeted at small medium businesses. These service plans called Nextiva Office provide feature rich IP/PBX functionality for office based employees working from extensions though they do also support employee roaming on personal mobile phones.

However, as the purpose of this article is to compare Grasshopper to Nextiva we will first concentrate on Grasshopper Vs Nextiva Connect. In order to compare Grasshopper to the Nextiva Connect service we will briefly review how these virtual telephone services operate, what business sectors are they targeted at, and the relative costs involved.

 

Grasshopper

grasshopper_logo_lightThe Grasshopper virtual telephone system is unique in so much as it actually operates over the national PSTN ‘real’ telephone network. Therefore, it is not a VoIP or cloud hosted virtual IP/PBX but rather an overlay on POTS (plain old telephone system). The difference in architecture is not just a piece of technical throwaway knowledge it does actually make a big difference especially when we consider voice quality, security, reliability and availability.

The biggest problem with any VoIP based system is that of voice quality. Everyone that has ever used residential or personal VoIP services have encountered the good and the bad, sometimes the call quality if fine other times it is terrible. In home or for personal use that can be tolerated, however for business use it isn’t acceptable. This is where Grasshopper has a big advantage over VoIP based systems such as Nextiva, as it isn’t at the mercy of internet congestion and variable performance. Business owners can confidently expect to have the same quality of experience using Grasshopper as they do on the real landline and mobile networks.

Similarly, business owners can have confidence in the fact that the PSTN network is robust and reliable, so business calls will not go missing, and a network will always be available when placing a call. This level of reassurance with regards reliability and service availability is one of Grasshopper’s top features and service differentiators.

How, the Grasshopper virtual telephone system works is that it provides the business with a toll free, vanity or they can port an existing telephone number, as a single point of contact. Customers and clients then can call this single business number instead of individual mobiles and home landlines. Grasshopper’s auto-attendant/auto-receptionist will ensure that it answers every call with a professional custom call greeting and offers a pre-configured menu of options. For example, ‘press 1 for Sales, press 2 for Customer Care, press 3 for Technical support ….’

 

 

Customizing the greeting though is a somewhat tricky business and although there are standard greetings available, Grasshopper will create your custom message for you for a one of $75 fee. This service called ‘voice studio’ can be cost effective as it saves a lot of time and frustration. Once the greeting has been configured and the menu of options created Grasshopper will then use standard call forwarding to redirect the caller to the chosen department or extension.

The beauty of this system is the simplicity yet it is remarkably flexible and scalable. An example of this is that you can assign an extension to each department or employee and they can then assign their own phones such as their mobile phone, home number, or Skype number so that that Grasshopper will always be able to find them. This is because Grasshopper can ring all the phones assigned to an extension simultaneously or to ring them sequentially in the order configured. This technique is commonly known as, find me follow me.

Find me follow me provides the mechanism that enables employees to roam and always be contactable on the official business number regardless of what device they are answering the call on. This is the great benefit of Grasshopper’s virtual telephone system, in that it enables employees to use their own mobile phones or home phones for business without having to give out their private phone numbers. As the call redirect is handled transparently to the caller, it also projects a more professional image of the business.

Grasshopper will forward unanswered calls to voicemail, which can be in turn sent to email in mp3 format or send as text, though that is an additional charge.

Grasshopper is though not without certain drawbacks, as you might have already perceived. An example of this is that Grasshopper is an inbound call answering service; it does not provide the user with a dial tone, so you cannot make outbound calls. Similarly, you can receive faxes but not send them. The problem here is that you can receive calls on the business number but you would have to return calls on your personal number.

This is an obvious disadvantage; however, this can be worked around to a degree using the Grasshopper mobile app. What the mobile app allows you to do is make outbound calls using the business number as the caller ID, though it is an awkward and convoluted process, which you would not want to be doing for every outbound call.

In summary, Grasshopper is an excellent, incoming call service, which supports high voice quality and reliability as well as a flexible and scalable service. It does however lack outgoing calling as standard, though a mobile app does provide a certain degree of outgoing capability.

 

Nextiva

nextiva-logoAlthough Nextiva is based on, a cloud hosted IP/PBX service its Connect plan actually works very similarly to Grasshoppers PSTN overlay in so much as it physically answers incoming calls and redirects them to mobile phones or landlines. As a result, Nextiva Connect and Grasshopper are very comparable services. However, with regards voice quality, there is a noticeable difference between the services when forwarding calls to mobile phones. The difference in quality though is slight but it is detectable when directly comparing the services.

With Nextiva Connect there is a choice of local, Toll free and porting an existing number to use as the main business phone number. Similar to Grasshopper Nextiva uses an auto-attendant/receptionist to answer inbound calls with a custom greeting and a menu of options.

 

 

One interesting issue is that on Nextiva actually getting to record the greeting message over the telephone requires patience and determination as it is not very easy to use. An easier option is to record your own message and then upload it to Nextiva. Grasshopper has a similar issue, which is strange as the auto-receptionist custom greeting is such a key feature of any incoming call answering service. Nextiva though, unlike Grasshopper does not have a professional voice service to help you configure the greetings and IVR messages.

However once the greeting has been customized and uploaded, there are unlimited extensions to play with and each one can be configured to support up to five persons or phones. This features as Grasshopper’s makes Nextiva extremely flexible as you can configure each extension with the same number or with different numbers that represent an individual, a department or a phone. Similar to Grasshopper, Nextiva uses find me follow me to ring the assigned phones in sequence, Nextiva though does not support simultaneous ringing of all phones (blasting).

Nextiva will send unanswered callers to voice mail and these can be forwarded via mp3 to email, however there is no voice transcription option as there is with Grasshopper.

Another perceived common failing with both these services, though strictly speaking it technically isn’t in a virtual telephone system, is the lack of outbound calling. Whereas Grasshopper tries to find a workaround to the problem of not being able to use the business number for outbound calls, by providing a mobile app, Nextiva doesn’t provide any such feature. Similarly, there is no outbound fax service available. This is most likely because Nextiva have an upgrade path in place through their fully featured inbound/outbound IP/PBX service Office.

 

Plans & Pricing

About the available service plans for both virtual telephone systems, there is no real comparison as they use different business and pricing models but we can try to give an approximate comparison.

Grasshopper has the following four price plans available:

  • Pay as you Grow – $12, per month, no free minutes call charged as 6c per minute
  • RAMP – $24, per month with 500 free minutes, over use is 6c per minutes
  • GROW – $49 per month with 2000 free minutes, over use is 6c per minutes
  •  MAX – $199 per month, 3 toll free numbers and unlimited voice studio use, with 10,000 free minutes, over use is 6c per minutes

All plans come with unlimited extensions and every included feature.

plans

 

Nextiva Connect has three plans:

Nextiva Connect Pricing & Plans

 

Conclusion

Both these service are good value for small businesses that don’t use many minutes. Certainly, Nextiva’s 100-minute plan is about as inexpensive as there is around. Grasshopper is also good value but suited better to those that do not use many minutes.

Note: the free minutes are incoming call minutes and in the case of Grasshopper a combination of incoming and outgoing calls.

 

 

Company Website Full Review Coupons
grasshopper_logo_light visit_site_big Limited offer: $75 off coupon.Click here to redeem!
nextiva-logo visit_site
Company Website Coupons
grasshopper_logo_light visit_site_big
Limited offer: $75 off coupon.Click here to redeem!
nextiva-logo visit_site

Alasdair Gilchrist

Alasdair is a technical writer with interest in business practice, operational strategy, start up philosophy and affordable technology. He lives in Nonthaburi, Thailand with his wife and daughter, and writes terrible novels as a hobby.

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