Review RingCentral - A virtual PBX solution

Discussion in 'Submitted News' started by X-Istence, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. X-Istence

    X-Istence * Political User

    As a small business all of the people working for us have their own cell phone. Our customers per project have a point of contact that they can call with their issues, but there was no central phone number that they could call to reach a team in emergencies. Also if we had multiple customers call at the same time there was no way to manage them, and route them to different people that may also be able to answer their questions.

    A private branch exchange, or PBX for short is what we needed, however our offices are entirely virtual. We have no single address where we all get together and sit in an office and work, as such calling up the local phone company and getting an office phone line put in was out of the question.

    This is where RingCentral comes in, it is a virtual PBX that is entirely based online. They take care of provisioning the phone number for your company to use and they handle forwarding the calls from their service to any phone number (much like Google Voice does for a single individual, RingCentral does for a company). You can port over your own number, so that you have more control in the future when you decide you have outgrown RingCentral and don't want to have to change all the phone numbers on business cards, websites and promotional materials.

    Through Ivy Worldwide I was able to receive a 90 day trail of the RingCentral mobile system, after completing the sign-up process I was greeted with the overview screen where you get a quick glance at your RingCentral account, any calls you have received, and messages that were left on your voicemail, if any.

    RingCentral Overview.jpg
    RingCentral account Overview​

    At this point I started looking around for some of the other options that existed, how to set up multiple extensions, and or departments, and was met with screens full of options and choices. The interface also is confusing and tends to move you between different screens with no real way to differentiate what screen you are on, and what you are modifying.

    After adding an extension you can click on the extension to modify its rules (what times it can be called, what numbers it rings, and various other options). This screen looks exactly like the screen I would get when modifying my own settings, so while I thought I was modifying the settings for my account I was mucking about with the settings for a secondary extension, and not realising it until I saw the name for the extension was not the one I had set for mine. This may simply be because I did not pay attention to the fact that the header had now changed, however the header of a website changing is something I've been programmed by advertisers to ignore, and there was no other immediate way of knowing I was now in a different menu.

    RingCentral Extensions Summary.png
    RingCentral Extensions​
    RingCentral Department Status.png
    Departments and availability of agents​

    The interface feels complicated and cluttered, and various options are available in different locations, however this may be the price to pay for a system that is almost infinitely flexible in how it can be configured to work for your business. Each individual extension can add in their own rules on how they want people to be greeted when they are called, their own hours and whether to route to voicemail or not.

    The one thing I did like was the fact that the iPhone application worked exactly as I had expected it to. Sign in to the service and it automatically downloads the call log that also shows up on the overview screen, including the option to limit the view to only missed calls. It shows those contacts within your company (the extensions you have created within the RingCentral system) and allows you to view the contacts on your iPhone so that you may dial-out using the corporate phone number that was provisioned so that when calling customers your 1-800 number shows up. The application does not route the calls over the web, so you are using both your cell carriers plan minutes as well as your RingCentral plan minutes.

    RingCentral iPhone Contacts.png
    Contacts on the iPhone​
    RingCentral iPhone callout.png
    Call-out screen on the iPhone.​

    Overall RingCentral is a great service where the only real flaw is that it offers too much choice. Once the system is all set up it would most likely work very well however the first steps are extremely daunting and it seems overly complicated. They have many options, and different plans available that can be used to create a fantastic professional phone system to help your business reach out to its customers and help them get to the right people. The call-out function allows you to add some professionalism when calling other companies or customers, and lets them call a toll free number so that they are not charged for the call.

    If you are interested in more information take a look at the offerings that RingCentral has, if you do end up signing up, follow this link: save 50% on the first three months!
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  2. jimm1909

    jimm1909 OSNN One Post Wonder

    We've been using RingCentral for about 6 months now and have nothing but good things to say about them. Excellent reliability, voice quality, and customer service.