Nextiva Vs Phone.com – in-Depth Comparison

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Company Information

Nextiva

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nextiva started out in 2008 as a VoIP service provider but has grown over the last decade into a leading cloud-based unified communication provider. Today, Nextiva is a leading UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) provider in the USA and Canada and is always there or there about when the annual awards are being handed out.  What makes Nextiva so popular with its users and market observers is that it covers all of the bases that small to medium business require from a modern unified communication platform. This is because today small businesses are just as dependent on supporting their customers’ diverse communication channels such as voice, email, SMS messaging, webchat, online forms, voicemail and even video voicemail, as their enterprise competitors. This is because small businesses as much as anyone need to be able to handle their customer’s preferred communication channels.

To that end Nextiva have developed a unified communication platform that is feature-rich yet still affordable for small businesses. Moreover the abundance of features does not mean added complexity as Nextiva still manages to be easy to configure, and administer.

Phone.com

Phone.com was founded in 2007 as a virtual telephone service for entrepreneurs and small companies. Their virtual phone service was designed from the beginning to be built on VoIP in order to deliver a complete virtual telephone service that could provide small businesses with access to an online enterprise-grade unified communication system at affordable small business prices.

Phone.com markets its product as being, “the modern, work-from-anywhere solution for today’s agile, mobile, and always-on entrepreneurs and growing businesses.”

To that end Phone.com has built a cloud based virtual phone system that sits upon a flexible and robust business-communications platform that is accessible from anywhere there is an internet connection and that is designed to grow alongside your business. By utilizing their in-house VoIP experience Phone.com has designed a virtual phone system that boasts over 40 valuable VoIP features and with price and service plans to suit the needs of all sorts of small businesses. Phone.com seamlessly connects all of your communication devices via a cloud-based virtual PBX platform to deliver a unified phone presence wherever your company or your employees are located.

Comparing Phone.com vs. Nextiva

When it comes to comparing vendors’ products in the virtual telephone systems marketplace it is essential to make sure that we are comparing comparable systems. What this means is that we must select and compare service and price plans aimed at the same market sector, such as for small office-home office (SoHo) or small medium businesses (SMB), or small to medium enterprises (SME).

As a result we have chosen to compare Nextiva’s small business service plans against Phone.com’s small business plans.

Pricing Models

Phone.com

Phone.com has three basic small business plans as well as an enterprise plan, which we will only touch briefly upon here as a possible upgrade path. Instead we will concentrate on a like for like comparison with Grasshopper’s Solo, Partner and Small Business service plans.

The service plans that Phone.com uses to target the same entrepreneur and small business market-segment as Grasshopper come in two distinct offerings – 1) a pay per minute set of plans and 2 an unlimited minutes set of plans. Regardless of whether the plans are pay for minute or unlimited the feature sets are the same.

 Pay Per Minute

  • Base plan – $12.99 per user per month ($9.99 if paid annually in advance),
  • 300 Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 1 Local or Toll-Free Number
  • 5,000 SMS Messages4
  • 40+ Standard Features including Call Queuing, Voicemail to Email,
  • Plus Plan – $19.99 per user per month
  • 500 Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 2 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 10,000 SMS Messages
  • Everything in Base Plan plus Automated Voicemail to Text and Premium Hold Music,
  • Pro Plan – $29.99 per user per month.
  • 1,000 Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 3 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 20,000 SMS Messages
  • Everything in Plus Plan plus Call Analytics, 300 call recording minutes, HD Video Conferencing,

Unlimited Minutes

  • Base plan – $29.99 per user per month ($9.99 if paid annually in advance),
  • Unlimited Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 1 Local or Toll-Free Number
  • 5,000 SMS Messages4
  • 300 Bonus Included Minutes
  • 40+ Standard Features including Call Queuing, Voicemail to Email,
  • Call Forwarding
  • Plus Plan – $37.99 per user per month
  • Unlimited Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 2 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 10,000 SMS Messages4
  • 500 Bonus Included Minutes
  • Everything in Base Plan
  • Premium Hold Music
  • Pro Plan – $59.99 per user per month.
  • Unlimited Monthly Minutes
  • Unlimited User Extensions
  • 3 Local or Toll-Free Numbers
  • 20,000 SMS Messages4
  • 1,000 Bonus Included Minutes
  • Everything in Plus Plan
  • Call Analytics & HD Video Conferencing

Nextiva

The Nextiva service has three basic plans for small to medium businesses; Essential, Professional and Enterprise and each differs in price and feature-sets as they target businesses of different size and technical requirements. The entry level plan, Essential, is aimed at the entrepreneur or SoHo (Small office Home office) type business or the one or two man entrepreneurs that need a modern communication system. The next step up is the Professional Plan, and this service plan is targeting the small business that requires multi-channel communications for today’s technically advanced customers. Both service plans however come packed with features to meet the requirement of even the most technically demanding small business.

  • Essential starts at $29.95 per user per month (1-20 users billed monthly)
    Voicemail to email, unlimited US calling, free number porting
  • Professional starts at $32.95 per user per month (1-20 users billed monthly)
    Comes with all basic features plus – Unlimited conference calls, Nextiva mobile app, professionally recorded greeting    
  • Enterprise starts at $39.95 per user per month (1-20 users billed monthly)
    Comes with all Pro features plus – Advanced Voice analytics, call recording, live chat on your website

These are the entry level prices for Nextiva based on the comparable  service plans for businesses on 1-25 users. There is considerable saving however if you want to take on a 36 month contract and you have 100 or more users. In that case, you will begin to realize Nextiva’s advertised rates of $20 per user per month for the Essential plan, $25 per user per month for the Professional Plan, and $30 per user per month for the Enterprise plan.

 Therefore, when pricing Nextiva service plans you really do need to get sales quotes from Nextiva because Nextiva offers multiple price variances based on the length of the service contract and the number of users on your plan and there simply is not enough reliable information on the site or in the terms and conditions to determine per user pricing.

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Phone.com Features

Phone.com’s three basic service plans all come with 40+ inbuilt VoIP features in addition to all the unlimited or free minutes for each plan. What is noticeable is that even though Phone.com is targeting the same market sector for virtual phone systems they have added considerably more features to their service plans.

All of the three service plans share over 40+ VoIP voice orientated features such as:

Nonetheless, some advanced features are available in only some of the more expensive plans. For example although voicemail-to-text is available in the basic plan, automated voicemail-to-text is available in the Plus and Pro service Plans. Similarly, HD video conferencing is only available with the Pro Plan. However we should realize that these features are not available as standard with any of the Grasshopper plans. Indeed to get HD conferencing or indeed any video functionality with Grasshopper you would need to subscribe to Join.me.

As can be seen you get a lot of features as standard with Phone.com. Indeed these features cover not just basic voice calls – call transfer, call forwarding, call screening, but also contact center functionality such as queues, call notification and location based routing. Moreover, there are also collaboration and productivity tools that come as standard such as HD Video or HD audio conferencing, and voicemail-to-email.

Phone.com comes with an impressive array of features made more impressive as it is targeting the small business market sector. This makes Phone.com extremely competitive as it comprehensively out guns its rivals, in this case Grasshopper.

Nextiva Features

One of Nextiva’s major selling points is its feature-rich unified communication platform. It has over 50 built-in VoIP features that cover just about everything you could need for a technology driven small business. The entry level Essentials service plan is aimed at the small business that typically does not have a single fixed office but has remote locations, home workers and that is looking for a cost effective virtual PBX service that will run effectively on smartphones or mobile devices. The Essentials service plan comes with the standard 50+ VoIP features as standard, such as:

  • Cloud PBX
  • Free phone number porting
  • Mobile call management
  • Unlimited US calling
  • Free local number
  • Free toll-free number
  • Voicemail to email
  • Unlimited virtual faxing
  • Shared call appearance (multiple phones on one line)
  • HD hold music
  • Voicemail to text ($2.95 per line)
  • Barge In (manager monitoring)

Additional features available in the Professional Plan include:

  • Professionally recorded greetings
  • Call Me Now (phone call via website link)
  • Conference bridge (up to nine users)
  • Nextiva mobile app

The Enterprise plan brings the additional features:

  • Call recording
  • Nextiva Anywhere
  • Business Application Integration

A single differentiator between Nextiva and many of its rivals is its array of business application connectors for seamless integration wide a wide range of applications, such as:

  • Skype for Business
  • Salesforce
  • GoToMeeting
  • Zendesk
  • Freshdesk
  • Hubspot
  • Eloqua
  • Desk.com

Additional/Supplementary Apps

Another interesting point about Nextiva is that it has removed most of the call handling and routing features from the standard plans and made them available as specialized Call Centre editions. There are two Call Centre service plans the Call Centre Pro, which is suited for small to medium contact centers and Call Center Enterprise for medium to large call centers.

  • Call Center Pro – $50 per user per month
  • Call Center Enterprise – $100 per user per month

Mobile & Desktop Apps

Phone.com

The Phone.com mobile app delivers a fully functional Phone.com extension to your smartphone. The free to download app supports both Android and iOS and there is also a desktop application – called communicator – available for Windows and Apple PCs. This is a fully functional extension that can be run on any windows or Mac devices however there is an additional monthly charge of $4.99 per month per softphone extension.

Using the Phone.com mobile app allows you to make outbound calls through Phone.com using your business number as the caller ID. You can choose to use either your mobile phone’s network connection or either a Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection for VoIP. When you are using the mobile app you can also access your Phone.com address book, contacts, call logs, Inbox, conference calling and SMS functions.

Setting up the mobile app to receive and send calls using VoIP is easy and you can also navigate to m.phone.com using your mobile browser to access many of the other Phone.com features that are available on standard extensions. However, if you want to convert an existing extension to a mobile extension you will need to go through customer support.

Nextiva

A disappointing aspect of Nextiva in the mobile app is not included with the Essentials plan. Indeed you need to upgrade to the Professional plan before it is included as standard. The same is true of another great mobility tool called Nextiva Anywhere which allows you to unplug a VoIP phone and take it with you and plug it in to the internet wherever you go and it works – due to local DNS trickery – as if it was still on the local network. They can also have calls diverted from their business lines and ring any other phones such as their mobile or home landline phones.

In addition to Nextiva Anywhere, another great tool is Nextiva’s mobile app, which runs on iOS and Android devices. The mobile app allows remote users to make and receive phone calls on their smartphones. They can also work as normal on their business lines, making use of all the standard features such as making video calls, chat with team members via instant message, access the company directory or manage their contacts and leads within CRM. In addition, there is seamless call transfer so that you can start a call on a desk phone and then move the call transparently to a mobile phone, and vice versa without the caller realizing.

The Nextiva softphone allows you to make and receive calls from your desktop computer or laptop. Just plug in a handset into your device to transform it into a fully functional VoIP phone.

Types of Numbers Available

An important consideration when choosing a virtual telephone service is whether the vendor can supply the type of business number that you need. There are several types of virtual telephone numbers available;

  • Local Number that matches your location or desired location or virtual business presence.
  • Toll-Free Numbers
  • Vanity Numbers
  • International Numbers
  • Existing Business Number

Almost all virtual telephone service vendors will support these types of numbers the difference is whether they charge for them or not.

Phone.com

Phone.com supports Local, Toll-Free, Vanity numbers as well as allowing you to port over an existing business number. There are also custom local numbers that you can choose to deploy to raise your businesses profile and gain an advantage over your competitors. Custom local numbers look like this; (212) 888-TECH.  Custom Phone Numbers can be purchased on a one-time fee starting at $100 but raising to thousands for rare numbers this is in addition to Phone.com’s standard monthly number fee ($4.99).

With regards vanity numbers Phone.com offers businesses two types:

  • Vanity Local: These numbers use local area codes and the customer calling the number will pay for the call minutes.
  • Vanity Toll-free: These numbers use toll-free prefixes like 800 or 888, and customers calling these numbers are not charged.

Nextiva

With Nextiva you get one Toll Free or Local Number per service plan. Alternatively you can port an existing business number across for use on the Nextiva system. However porting an existing number does take time – typically 2-3 weeks.

With Regards to VoIP local numbers Nextiva can supply local telephone numbers in every region across the USA.

Nextiva’s cloud based VoIP technology allows you to manage a presence in any city or state that you have customers. It doesn’t matter where you are located you can still have local VoIP phone numbers for nearly any other area code across the USA. Unfortunately Nextiva does not extend this service out with the USA, so there are no international local numbers available.

Support

An important factor when comparing vendor virtual telephone solutions is Customer Service. Each vendor approaches this area differently with some more focused on online material such as FAQ, Podcasts, and Blogs as well as website training videos. Whereas others aim for the personal contact via telephone, email or web forms. Whichever channel you prefer should be available to you from the vendor.

Another important factor is where the Support service is based. Generally a few years ago vendors took advantage of offshoring contact centers to Asia and other places to take advantage of lower costs. Unfortunately this often backfired resulting in poor customer experience and so recently there has been a shift back to on shoring Contact Centers in the USA.

Phone.com

Phone.com support is 24/7 and based in the USA.

Phone.com supports the following channels:

  • Telephone – 24/7
  • Live Support – Chat
  • Ticket System – Online Forms
  • Email
  • FAQ and online documentation

Phone.com also has bilingual support in English and Spanish

Nextiva

Nextiva support is during office hours ET time and based in the USA.

Nextiva supports the following channels:

  • Telephone – Toll Free 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST on weekends.
  • Live Support – Chat
  • Ticket System – Online Forms
  • Live Training
  • Email
  • FAQ and online documentation

Regional Availability

Phone.com

As Phone.com is a cloud based virtual PBX it can support diverse geographical locations thereby providing enhanced mobility by allowing companies to choose local phone numbers in other countries and regions. With Phone.com your virtual business number can be chosen or customized to specific regional preferences. Phone.com also offers international virtual business numbers as well as having an international dialing rates plan by country.

Nextiva

Nextiva is a virtual PBX so it can support diverse geographical locations thereby providing enhanced mobility by allowing companies to choose state or city numbers as local phone numbers. With Nextiva your virtual business number can be chosen or customized to specific geographical or regional preferences within the USA. Nextiva also offers international virtual business calling rates but does not provide international local numbers.

Cancelling the Service

A very important factor to consider is how you end the contract if things just don’t work out. After all no matter how affordable and well delivered a telephone service may be it just might not fit with your own business model or direction. Therefore you should be aware of any potential cancellation fees or contractual obligations before you subscribe to the vendor’s service.

Phone.com

Cancelling the Phone.com service is very easy as all you are required to do to cancel your Phone.com service is to call their Customer Loyalty Department. Alternatively you could simply log into your Phone.com account: Then look for and click on Configure à Manage Settings. Then scroll down t0 the bottom of the menu and click Cancel Account.

One thing to beware of though is once you cancel your account you will automatically lose access to any stored data. This means you can no long access your Inbox for voicemail, call logs, SMS messages or faxes. You will also lose access to any customized greeting and uploaded hold-music files. You must download these prior to cancelling the service.

Nextiva

Nextiva can be run on a month to month contract or on long term multi-year contracts (36 months). You have to be sure you know the renewal date or the contract will simply roll over and start anew when the time expires. Therefore you need to contact Nextiva within the notice period to cancel the service. 

You may cancel your NEXTIVA Service at any time by providing NEXTIVA with a notice of your intent to cancel by sending an email to [email protected] or calling our Customer Care Department at 1-800-983-4289.

Summary

Nextiva is one of the most popular and highly acclaimed cloud based Virtual unified communication platforms that is both affordable and feature rich. Unfortunately, Nextiva does not offer services out with the USA or even International local numbers. Nonetheless, if your business is confined to the USA then Nextiva offers a unified communication platform that has an extensive set of features covering voice, call handling, application integration, collaboration and productivity as well as some basic call handling features. However, don’t mistake Nextiva’s call handling and call management features to be anything short of the bare essentials as they have bundled practically all of these features into their stand-alone Call Centre edition. However, if you are not requiring call center functions then Nextiva has everything you need in a small business unified communication platform.

Phone.com is also a cloud based virtual phone system that is affordable but it offers services out with the USA and Canada and has far greater international scope. Phone.com has an extensive set of features covering voice, video, call handling, collaboration and productivity tools. However, Phone.com is primarily a virtual telephone PBX so it is loaded with VoIP voice features that focus on call handling and management. This makes it more like a traditional large business-class PBX than the more modern Nextiva’s unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform. Nonetheless, this can be beneficial to those that just want advanced VoIP voice with some multi-channel support but without being overloaded with unnecessary value-add non-voice features.

As a result whether you go for Nextiva or Phone.com will be largely dependent on your business model. For example if you just need a highly advanced virtual PBX then Phone.com meets those requirements. On the other hand if you need modern multi-channel support and UCaaS features then Nextiva fulfills that need.

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