RingCentral Review—Is It Right for Your Business?
Sure, RingCentral is the VoIP provider of choice for over 350,000 businesses worldwide.1 But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Here’s what you need to know before signing up.
We love paying our weight in gold for a professional business phone service that offers features we don’t need. Not.
Fortunately, RingCentral makes communication easy and affordable—whether you’re an enterprise-level business looking for a live chat solution or a small startup that needs a phone service that can grow with your company. Whatever your needs, RingCentral has a solution to help your callers reach you and get the help they need.
So what do you need to know about RingCentral before signing up? Read on for more info.
RingCentral is best for pretty much any business
Every business is different, and what works for one company may not be right for another.
That’s why we love RingCentral. A leading business phone service, RingCentral offers scalable, cloud-based VoIP plans to suit businesses of all sizes.
RingCentral plans offer different levels of service and features. Some plans offer basic local or toll-free numbers and limited conferencing, while others allow you to integrate your phone service with the SalesforceⓇ app—so you can provide your callers with the best possible customer service.
RingCentral Office plans also feature a sliding price scale, so your monthly price per user goes down if you have more users on the phones.
To top it all off, RingCentral service allows you to go mobile, with a RingCentral mobile app that features full functionality. Translation: there’s virtually nothing you can do on your desktop computer that you can’t also do on your phone.
- Wide feature range at low cost
- Generous toll-free minutes
- 99.999% uptime
- Easy setup
- Global infrastructure
- Scalability for business growth
- Hit-or-miss customer service
- Few to no call center features on basic plans
- Steep price for full functionality
- Poor user reviews
RingCentral plans and pricing
Sure, all of RingCentral’s plans offer valuable features for small and large businesses alike. But be warned: if you want some of the sleeker, higher-end features—like videoconferencing—you’ll need to upgrade your plan to Standard or higher.
|Price for 1 user||$29.99/mo.*||$34.99/mo.*||$44.99/mo.*||$29.99/mo.*|
|Price for 2–99 users||$19.99/mo./user (up to 20 users)*||$24.99/mo./user*||$34.99/mo./user*||$49.99/mo./user*|
|Price for 100–999 users||N/A||$22.99/mo./user*||$34.99/mo./user*||$49.99/mo./user*|
|Price for 1,000+ users||N/A||$22.99/mo./user*||$32.99/mo./user*||$42.99/mo./user*|
|Audioconferencing and videoconferencing||None||Unlimited, up to 100 people per meeting||Unlimited, up to 200 people per meeting||Unlimited, up to 200 people per meeting|
|Features||Voicemail-to-text; Visual Voicemail; voicemail-to-email; unlimited Business SMS; HD Voice; Single Sign-On; on-demand call recording; 24/7 support||Unlimited internet fax; Quality of Service (QoS) reports; Multi-Level Auto-Attendant; custom app development and deployment||Automatic call recording; multi-site support; integrations with Salesforce.comⓇ, Zendesk.comⓇ, and Desk.com™||Automatic call recording; multi-site support; integrations with Salesforce.comⓇ, Zendesk.comⓇ, and Desk.com™|
|View Plans||View Plans||View Plans||View Plans|
According to RingCentral, the Premium plan is the most popular—understandable since it’s the cheapest plan that offers integration with the Salesforce app. And it comes with instant calling—all you have to do is click on a contact in your address book or phone book. Who wouldn’t want that?
Keep in mind, though, that if you want extras (like a vanity number or extra toll-free, local, or international numbers), you’ll need to pay extra. Here’s the rundown on add-ons:
- Additional toll-free or local numbers: $4.99/mo. each
- Vanity numbers: $30/line (one-time fee)
- International numbers: $5.99/mo./user
- International toll-free number: $14.99/mo. plus a one-time $25 fee
You’ll also need to pay for equipment rentals (if you don’t buy your phones or use existing equipment), shipping costs for your equipment, and taxes and fees.
On the plus side, RingCentral offers price matching on all Office plans with less than 50 lines. That means if you find a better deal from another provider, RingCentral will match it, ensuring you get the best possible service for the best possible price.
|Pro||ProPlus||Office All-in-One Standard|
|Virtual extensions||2 for only inbound calls||5 for only inbound calls||9 for only inbound calls, 1 for inbound and outbound calls|
|Minutes||500/mo. for local, long-distance, and toll-free calls||1,000/mo. for local, long-distance, and toll-free calls||Unlimited for local and long-distance calls, 1,000/mo. for toll-free calls|
|Features||Flexible answering rules, Auto-Receptionist, call queues, mobile phone integration, internet fax, web support||Dedicated fax number, Dial-By-Name Directory, phone support||Multi-Level Auto Attendant, unlimited conference calls, unlimited Business SMS messages, unlimited video meetings with screen sharing|
|View Plans||View Plans||View Plans|
RingCentral Professional plans are a little more scaled back compared to RingCentral Office plans because they were designed with small, mobile businesses in mind. Only the Office All-in-One Standard plan comes with videoconferencing, and Professional plans feature fewer toll-free minutes than RingCentral Office plans.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since RingCentral Professional plans are also cheaper than RingCentral Office options—perfect for startups that just need a way to provide reliable customer support. However, you can still add vanity numbers, additional local or toll-free numbers, and international numbers if it suits your needs.
Just keep in mind that price matching is not currently offered on RingCentral Professional plans (at least as far as we can tell).
Things to consider about RingCentral
RingCentral has a lot of good things going for it. For starters, RingCentral is accessible via traditional analog phones, digital phones, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) enabled phones, and even your desktop and laptop computers. Best of all, you can access virtually all your plan’s features right from your iOS and Android devices—that way, your customers can get a hold of you even when you’re out on a service call or working from home.
RingCentral Office plans also include a lot of features that extend your business’s reach beyond just phone service. Depending on your plan and add-ons, you can get all these features:
- Customized customer relationship management (CRM) tools
- Paging and intercom functions
- Project management software
- Screening and blocking of unwanted calls
That said, there are some hidden costs if you want all of those features. So here’s what you need to know before you run out and sign up for RingCentral.
RingCentral is a very scalable solution because it offers a variety of plan types with several options and reasonable pricing, along with a sliding price scale that gets cheaper as you add users.
In plain English, that means every business—from a huge, multinational corporation to a brand-new, single-person startup—can find a RingCentral plan that works for them.
RingCentral is a very scalable solution because it offers a variety of plan types with a sliding price scale that gets cheaper as you add users.
If you’re starting out with a small business, you can get a RingCentral Office Essentials plan with only a few users. That’ll get you access to a limited number of local and toll-free minutes per month and basic team collaboration tools, plus a few other perks.
RingCentral also gives you the flexibility to use pretty much any kind of device. The RingCentral desktop app allows you to use a “softphone”—basically, an all-digital phone that works directly through your computer. If you have landline phones, you can plug them into an “advanced technology attachment” (ATA), which translates your phone’s analog signal into a digital signal that can be transmitted via VoIP service. Or you can just use your mobile phones or tablets.
Once your business expands, you may decide you want videoconferencing options or more customer service menu options. At that point, you can easily scale up your existing service to include the features and lines you need. And because the price per user gets cheaper the more users you add, the price stays reasonable.
Basically, RingCentral is a VoIP provider that can adapt to your needs as your business changes.
If you already have a toll-free or local phone number, RingCentral can easily port those numbers to your new plan.
Here’s the catch, though: porting a number from one provider to another may take anywhere from two weeks to a month. Why? Your old provider has to release your existing number before RingCentral can assign it to your new plan. Fortunately, you can easily set up call forwarding from your existing number to your temporary RingCentral number. That way, customers calling your old number won’t assume you’ve gone out of business when they get a message saying, “This line has been disconnected.”
RingCentral can easily port your existing toll-free or local phone number—just be sure to set up call forwarding for the first few weeks.
You’ll also want to make sure that your CRM (customer relationship management) app or software is compatible with RingCentral. All RingCentral Office plans can integrate with Microsoft Outlook, Google Drive, and a few other apps. But if you want to use Salesforce, Zendesk, or Desk.com to manage your business phone book, address book, or account records, you’ll need either a Premium or Ultimate RingCentral Office plan.
If you don’t want to pay the higher prices for a Premium or Ultimate plan, though, you still have options. With a RingCentral Office Standard plan, you get an app development platform that allows you to create your own app integrations. That way, you get a fully customized product that perfectly suits your business—assuming you have the app development skills to make it happen.
Phones and equipment
One of the things we love most about RingCentral is its flexibility.
For instance, RingCentral has an open bring your own device (BYOD) policy. So if you’ve already got access to 30 landline phones, you can adapt them to work with your new VoIP service. And RingCentral offers ATA (advanced technology attachment) devices for under a hundred dollars, so it’s easy peasy. However, you may lose access to some phone functions, since landlines aren’t configured for more complex phone features.
Or if you have computers but no phones, you can just use your desktop app to place calls, send faxes, and more—directly through your internet connection. All you need is a headset with a microphone.
In a pinch, you and your employees can even use the RingCentral smartphone app to place and receive calls, host meetings, and more under your business name. Be advised, though, that RingCentral currently offers apps for only iOS and Android devices (sorry, Windows phone users).
If none of those options work for you, though, you can always buy and rent desktop phones from RingCentral directly. RingCentral offers phones and conference phones from three brands (Polycom, Cisco, and Yealink).
|Digital phones||Conference phones||Learn more|
|Starting price per phone||$79||$599||View Plans|
|Rental starting price per phone||$4/mo.||$34/mo.||View Plans|
|Maximum price per phone||$500+||$1,499||View Plans|
|Maximum rental price per phone||$34/mo.||$80/mo.||View Plans|
To get the equipment you need for videoconferencing, you’ll need to go to a third-party seller, and prices for a complete room of RingCentral-compatible videoconferencing equipment starts around $2,500. That’s pretty pricey, especially for small businesses, so it may be worth considering if videoconferencing is strictly necessary for your company (or if you can get by using computer webcams for a while).
RingCentral offers a number of international calling options through RingCentral Global Office, and the right approach will vary depending on your business and your plan.
If you’re on a RingCentral Office plan, you automatically get unlimited domestic calls within the US and Canada. But if you want to place a call to a number outside the United States, you’ll have to pay international calling fees.
Rates vary, but you can usually expect the minute-by-minute charge to fall between two extremes:
|Price per minute||Area||Learn more|
|Lowest international rate||3.9￠||Argentina, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, etc.||View Options|
|Highest international rate||$2.08||Antarctica—go figure, right?||View Options|
To throw even more complexity into the equation, international rates may vary if you call a specific area within a country. So if you call a number in Sao Paulo, you’ll pay 3.9¢ per minute, even though the international rate for Brazil is 7.8¢ per minute.
Making the rare international call
If international calling is a rare occurrence (for the one-off videoconferencing call here and there), you can enable international calling in your account settings. Then you can purchase a calling credit to cover your international calling expenses. And FYI, you can also use this credit to cover 411 calls or overage minutes if you exceed your allotted minutes in a given month.
Making international calls often
But if your business needs to make international calls on a regular basis, you can add Global Office to your account and choose either an International Calling Credit Bundle (packages that include minutes for international outbound calls at a discount) or an Unlimited Global Calling plan.
Unlimited Global Calling is only available for businesses with more than 250 users, though, and prices are available only by quote. So no promises that it’ll be cheap.
Purchasing an international number
Another option is to purchase an international number. Companies with international lines can choose from calling plans in the regions they have lines, and most plans include 1,000 local calling minutes to landlines and mobile numbers within the region. Plus, RingCentral offers local and toll-free numbers in over 100 countries, with voice menus in more than 10 languages. That makes it easy to provide the best possible customer service to your callers in every region you do business.
Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
One of the perks of having your phone service delivered over the internet (rather than landline phones) is you get access to more features and flexibility. One such feature offered by RingCentral is audioconferencing and videoconferencing.
With RingCentral Office plans, you can enjoy audioconference calls with up to 1,000 attendees—even if they’re not a user on your RingCentral plan. That means you can invite clients, shareholders, and all your employees to participate in an audio-only call at any point.
Because RingCentral delivers phone service over the internet, you can enjoy audioconference calls with up to 1,000 attendees and unlimited access to video meetings.
Things get really interesting with videoconferencing, though. RingCentral Office plans at the Standard level include unlimited access to video meetings, though users are limited to just four attendees per meeting. The higher your plan, the more attendees you can add, all the way up to 200 on the Premium plan.
Videoconferencing with RingCentral Meetings also allows users to share screens, annotate, and more—all in real time. Users can also attend meetings using their mobile phones, and you can invite attendees from outside your business as well. Plus, meeting hosts get complete control over their meetings, including the ability to mute specific participants, record the meeting, and more, all through the RingCentral Meetings app.
If you sign up for a RingCentral Office Essentials plan, videoconferencing is not included. However, small businesses can still get videoconferencing options for an additional monthly cost if you sign up for a RingCentral Meetings plan.
|Participants||Up to 100||Up to 100||Up to 100|
|Group meetings||40 min. duration limit||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Call Me/Call Out minutes||0/mo.||1,000/mo.||2,500/mo.|
|Features||Screen sharing, simultaneous screen sharing, whiteboarding, annotating, private and group in-meeting chat, team messaging and collaboration, local recording||Schedule Meetings for Me, Single Sign-On, advanced team messaging and collaboration, reporting, phone support||Schedule Meetings for Me, Single Sign-On, advanced team messaging and collaboration, real-time reporting dashboard, service-level agreement|
|View Plans||View Plans||View Plans|
In addition, RingCentral offers service add-ons to enhance your videoconferencing capabilities with extra participants or webinar capabilities:
- Large Meetings app: Available on any RingCentral Office plan, this add-on lets you include more than 200 participants in a videoconference. Price available only by quote.
- RingCentral Webinar ($40+/mo. per host): This add-on lets you host thousands of attendees, with multiple presenters. It also integrates with your marketing automation system to develop leads for your email list, and it includes webinar tools like custom registration forms, real-time polls, and reporting.
If your business sends or receives faxes on a regular basis, you’ll love RingCentral Fax.
RingCentral Fax is completely digital, meaning you don’t have to waste money on paper and ink every time you receive a fax (unless you want to). Instead, you can send and receive faxes digitally via your VoIP phone service. You’ll get notifications anytime you get a new fax, and you can easily view and send faxes from the RingCentral app.
And the best part? Your callers won’t experience any lagging, drops in call quality, or service interruptions when your fax number is engaged. That’s already a huge improvement over traditional phone service.
All RingCentral Office plans already include unlimited internet faxing. But if you want to sign up for internet faxing on its own, you can with either of the following options.
|Fax 1500||Fax + Phone + Video|
Call customer service for an exact quote
|Free pages per month||1,500||Unlimited|
|Shared fax numbers||1||2|
|Features||Cloud integration (Box, Dropbox™, Google Drive™, Microsoft OutlookⓇ), phone support||Cloud integration (Box, Dropbox™, Google Drive™, Microsoft OutlookⓇ), business phone number, unlimited conference calling, unlimited video meetings, unlimited team messaging|
|View Plans||View Plans|
So basically, if your plan doesn’t already include faxing, you’re stuck paying a monthly fee for a limited number of fax pages, plus additional costs per page if you exceed your limit. So if your business does a lot of faxing, upgrading to a more expensive plan with more features may actually be more cost-effective.
It’s also worth pointing out that RingCentral internet faxing isn’t only available on desktop computers—you can both send and receive faxes via your iOS and Android devices as well. That makes the service flexible for just about any type of business.
FAQs about RingCentral
Is RingCentral secure?
Definitely. Since VoIP services are more vulnerable to hacking, RingCentral goes above and beyond to protect your data (and your customers’ data).
To start with, RingCentral uses end-to-end encryption on every interaction, so you get the same protection using your RingCentral softphone as you do on your RingCentral phone app. RingCentral also uses a firewall-protected website with SSL certificates, which ensures that all your online sessions and transactions stay private.
RingCentral is TRUSTe compliant, HITRUST certified, and the service offers HIPAA Business Associate Agreements for qualifying businesses.
RingCentral also offers exceptional security at each of its 17 data centers worldwide—complete with CCTV cameras, biometric IDs, dual authentication, and 24/7 security guards and engineers. And because this system is audited monthly, RingCentral’s customer data privacy management is certified TRUSTe compliant.
RingCentral also offers extra security measures for faxing. The service is HITRUST certified, and HIPAA Business Associate Agreements are available for qualifying businesses. So if your company has strict privacy requirements, RingCentral can help.
If, after all that, you’re still worried about security, RingCentral offers the CloudConnect add-on. This feature gets you a private, dedicated connection to the RingCentral cloud, which makes your connection even more secure. Plus, it ensures better call quality. This service does cost extra, however, so contact RingCentral customer service for pricing if you’re interested.
What kind of internet connection do I need to use RingCentral?
One downside to VoIP service is that call quality can fluctuate based on your internet connection.
RingCentral recommends using a high-speed internet connection, but you don’t necessarily need a fiber-optic or DSL connection if a simple cable internet connection is sufficient for your needs.
That being said, RingCentral’s guidelines state that you’ll need approximately 90 Kbps per simultaneous audio call and roughly 120 Kbps per simultaneous video call (if your plan includes videoconferencing).
If you can’t afford an internet plan with those kinds of speeds, or those speeds aren’t available in your area, you can adjust the Quality of Service (QoS) settings on your router to prioritize phone traffic over video and web browsing traffic. Or your employees can work remotely and utilize whatever internet connection they have available at home.
How do I send and receive faxes with RingCentral?
If you have a RingCentral Office plan, you can enjoy faxing features from just about anywhere—including your RingCentral desktop app, iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
To fax from your RingCentral account:
- Navigate to the top right corner on the Overview page
- Click FaxOut and follow instructions provided
To fax from your computer:
- Choose RingCentral for Fax as the printer on any application (including Microsoft Word or your internet browser of choice)
- Follow the instructions provided
To fax from the RingCental app (either desktop or mobile):
- Click “Compose Fax”
To fax from your email:
- Address your email to the recipient number, followed by “@rcfax.com” (e.g. “email@example.com”)
- Attach the document to your email
- Enter your cover page text in the email’s subject line
- Click send
How does RingCentral compare to other VoIP providers?
In general, RingCentral is well-respected in the business VoIP community, with many online reviews awarding it a number one or number two spot in their recommendations.
However, user reviews are not quite as friendly. While most RingCentral reviews are generally positive about RingCentral’s phone service, they are less enthusiastic about RingCentral’s customer support. Specifically, users were often frustrated by the phone support staff’s overuse of technical jargon, which made it hard to understand the RingCentral representative’s troubleshooting suggestions.
Most notably, RingCentral has received hundreds of Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints—mostly about the quality of their customer support. Despite all this, though, RingCentral maintains an A+ rating from the BBB, meaning RingCentral does respond to customer complaints when they crop up.
So on the whole, RingCentral ranks below average according to user reviews. But the product itself is widely recognized as one of the best in the biz.
RingCentral has plans and features to suit a variety of businesses—small to large, simple to complex—which has earned it our full-fledged recommendation as the best VoIP provider for businesses.
We especially like RingCentral’s videoconferencing, faxing, and international calling options. Plus, the service is flexible enough to allow business owners to use VoIP features both in the office and on the go.
While phone equipment and some add-ons are not included and may add to your overall cost, the sliding price scale for larger businesses make RingCentral relatively affordable for both small startups and international corporations alike.
To learn more about our other top picks, be sure to check out our overview on the 13 Best Business VoIP Providers!
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
1. RingCentral.com, “Advanced Communications for Globally Connected Businesses“