Nextiva for small business is a virtual IP/PBX service that can cater for businesses of all sizes. It has three basic plans that follow standard industry models with Basic, Pro and Enterprise.
Nextiva Essentials – Review
The entry level small business service called Essentials comes in at $19.95 per user per month and as you would expect comes with all the standard IP PBX business features as well as low cost startup and reduced administration burden. In addition Essentials also comes with a free local or toll free number as well as free porting of an existing business number. Where Nextiva Essentials stands out is that it offers not only unlimited calls and unlimited fax within the USA and Canada but also 1000 toll-free minutes. This is a big differentiator to some competitors in the small business marketplace who charge both a monthly fee and a call minutes charge. With Nextiva there is only the monthly service charge to pay and no per minute charges which is as it should be for VoIP.
Voicemail is standard as is voicemail to email, whereby a sound file of the voicemail is send to an email address of your choice as a .wav file. Moreover, there is a voicemail to text transcription service but it is charged at an additional fee per line.
Some of Essentials advanced features are delivered as value-add-ons such their collaboration and productivity tools, which include:
- Unlimited Audio Conference Calls
- Unlimited Video Conferencing (peer-to-peer)
- Mobile App Calling
- Team Messaging
- NextOS Call Pop with Nextiva CRM
- Outlook and Google Integrations
These features set Nextiva apart from the mainstream competition and provide the SMB with very valuable functionality that normally are only accessible through more advanced and expensive service plans aimed at larger businesses.
Nextiva Professional – Review
Nextiva Professional is the intermediate and most popular service. It is priced very similarly to Essentials at $20.95 per month. This is because Nextiva Professional is targeted at the small to medium business, which has more requirements with regards features. For example, Professional comes with everything that Essentials has of offer but in addition, it has advanced features such as a conference bridge that can support voice and video calls. It also comes with the fully functional and feature rich Nextiva Mobile App which combines voice, video and IM into a single converged communication application. In addition to give your business a professional touch you can use the one free professionally recorded greeting service.
As with Nextiva Essentials, the Professional service offers a free local or toll free number as well as unlimited calls and fax minutes within the USA and Canada. However the Professional service provides 2,500 free toll minutes.
With regards Nextiva’s values add collaboration and productivity tools the Professional service boasts the same features as Essentials but with the addition of some business application tools such as:
- Integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, etc.
- Visual Voicemail to Text and Email
- Voice Analytics
- Call Recording
Nextiva Enterprise – Review
This is Nextiva’s flagship feature-rich business telephone product. The Enterprise service plan comes in at $27.95 per extension month. It has all the features of Essentials and Professional as well as some advanced business integration, collaboration and productivity features such as:
- Team Presence, whereby you can adjust your availability settings and status and display that to colleagues as well as see their status.
- Call Recording, which is a feature that permits recording of incoming or outgoing calls.
- Silent Call Barging, which allows managers to monitor calls and take over a conversation if required, this is useful in training and mentoring.
- Attendant Console, provides a means to monitor and view the status of all and user information in real time and see who is busy, available or away from their station.
- Nextiva Toolbar provides a means to integrate and make calls from your browser or from Outlook.
When compared to Nextiva Professional at $20.95, it is hard to see the justification for the price rise when considering the usefulness and value of the additional features. However there is voice analytics and reporting thrown in. Most of these additional Enterprise features are commonplace in competitor’s basic plans though this is probably due to the way Nextiva have segregated the rich call center features for their Call Center product. At the time of writing Nextiva Enterprise is priced at $27.95 per month.
Pricing, Plans and Features + International Rates
The more users you have the cheaper it gets:
For international rates click here.
Nextiva Call Center Edition
This is a very interesting product because Nextiva is one of the few vendors that actually provide a specialized Call Center version. Most simply bundle the features in with their top end business product but here Nextiva have created a separate product and tailored it too suit call centers for both medium and large businesses.
Call Center Pro
This is the entry version and it comes with a rich feature list to support all the business functions of the Front Office, Business Integration, Supervisor Controls, Quality Assurance and IVR.
Front Office Features
Call Center Pro has all the basic call center features you would expect such as call queue visibility, enhanced greeting and queue announcements, voice/video conferencing, one click transfers, and Night & Holiday service announcements.
These features are really, what differentiates call center applications as most PBX has the same features it is how they integrate with existing business applications that make the difference. An example is CRM integration, which is essential in large and busy call centers. CRM integration allows a caller’s call history record to be opened automatically on the agent’s screen as they answer the call. The call center agent then has all the relevant details on the screen as they greet the customer. Outlook integration is also an important tool for integration, as caller identification numbers can be paired with a caller’s contacts information.
Other useful Call Center features are skill-based routing, which can be used to configure call queues to be answered by the most suitable agent. There is also remote agent support, which allows for remote agents to work from home or other locations yet have the same visibility and connection as their office based colleagues.
These features differentiate Call Center from other business features as they provide the means to monitor and manage agents, clients and calls through real-time supervision and management tools. On the standard product, there is real-time management via dashboards and reports, by Time, Call, Agents and Queues.
In the Call Centre Enterprise version, there are additional queue supervision and management tools as well as call recording and silent Barge-in for agent mentoring.
In the standard version, these features include call analytics, custom reporting, and agent scoring. In addition, the Enterprise version supports priority queue routing, outgoing call control and DNIS support.
Standard pricing for Call Centre Pro and Call Centre Enterprise are $50 and $100 per user per month.
Addition Features – at a price.
- Meet-Me Conferencing which is a nine way conferencing service
- Meet-Me Conferencing which is a 25 way conferencing service
- Office Receptionist Dashboard is a web based tool which allows a receptionist to have visibility of all user extension status just like on an old style switchboard.
- Supervisor Dashboard, which allows a manager or shift supervisor to run agent performance reports on KPI’s and create custom reports.
- Agent Dashboard Supports the needs of agents in any environment: call handling functions, call distribution management, directory and Outlook integration, and other functions
This is a major disappointment with the call center product as the Supervisor Dashboard should be available and come as part of the Enterprise Call Center product at least. A supervisor dashboard is crucial and a vital component of any call center product, it is not an accessory. Similarly, to the Office product range there doesn’t appear to be any real reason why they have kept some pretty basic features for the Enterprise version only, such as auto-answer on a Night & Holiday Service, outbound call management or queue call management, neither of which are killer apps in fact they are basic requirements of any professional system. For a system that is marketed directly as an Enterprise Call Center solution these are major failings, as they should be standard as should comprehensive custom reporting and analytics, not to mention a wall board and heads up display facility.
SIP Trunking – For VoIP Sessions
SIP support and SIP trunking allows you to invest in cloud-based communication. There is massive support for making free and national/international calls. After all it is VoIP and therefore easy to connect to any Asterisk or VoIP system and what is more for free. However, there is always Nextiva Fax plan.
The Nextiva service also has a mobile app for smartphones, (IOs and Android) as well as a desktop applications for laptops and desktops (Windows and Mac). The purpose of these apps is to provide mobility and allow users to stay connected to the Nextiva system wherever they go. The apps provide a fully functional extension that works on the users’ mobile phones of desktops when they are away from the office. As such they can also replace a standard desk phone as an extension.
The mobile apps can use Wi-Fi, which allows users to use all of the Netiva calling and collaboration features such as:
- To send or receive instant messages and texts,
- Make and receive phone calls,
- Share files and screens,
- Participate in web, audio and video conferencing.
- Users can also switch calls between smartphones and computers seamlessly,
- It can also transcribe voicemails to text.
- An important feature is Caller ID, which shows which incoming calls are aimed at the company’s virtual business phone number, and which are for the user’s personal phone’s number.
The mobile app is a standard feature in Nextiva and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Users can also download the desktop apps for Windows and Mac from the Nextiva website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Nextiva is a very good virtual PBX system with many great features and specializations. However, it lacks required features and functions that are necessary for the price. Other competitors can deliver rich features required by medium and enterprise clients. Its benefit is as a business phone system where call per minute is irrelevant and only one monthly charge applies. As a Call Center product I am not so convinced, and it needs to do much more to integrate all the required features into the call center packages as default.
Nextiva is a sound package and very professional service however it lets itself down by the way it segregates its services and forces customers into upgrades for features that should be standard issue.