Cloud-Based Phone Service by RingCentral

Logo of RingCentral

One of the cloud-based services that works best for small business owners is virtual telephone system service. At Asatte Press, we use RingCentral to provide our toll-free main and FAX numbers and are delighted with their service.

Our Package

Our RingCentral package includes:

  • One dedicated toll-free main number.
  • One dedicated FAX number.
  • Ten extension numbers.

It also includes some number of incoming and outgoing minutes that is two orders of magnitude more than we ever use. All told including all taxes and other charges, we pay $35.19 per month.

Look Mom! No Phones!

We don’t even have wires to our office. There are no phones on the desk. We are a true “BYOD” (“Bring Your Own Device”) company. Here is how it works:

  1. Employees show up with cellphones. We are a brain-work company and we have yet to encounter an employee who did not own a personal cellphone.
  2. We assign each employee an extension number from the pool of ten numbers. Each extension number can be any four-digit number you want. You don’t have to number them in sequence. You can make up any numbering scheme you want. The RingCentral extension number is setup to call the employee’s personal cellphone.
  3. Callers to our toll-free number receive the usual announcement about “If you know your party’s extension number…”
  4. After the caller enters an extension number, the caller hears another announcement: “Please hold while I connect you.”
  5. RingCentral next places a call to the employee’s cellphone.
  6. When the employee’s cellphone rings, the display shows the caller ID of the original caller, NOT the caller ID of RingCentral. (Nice design!)
  7. When the employee answers the cellphone, the employee hears an announcement: “You have a caller. Press 1 to accept the call.” This announcement lets the employee know that this is an Asatte Press call, not a personal call.
  8. The employee takes a deep breath, presses “1” and answers: “Asatte Press, this is Fred Smith.”

This system works really well.

But, But, But…

Surely, there must be some problems? We haven’t discovered any. RingCentral seems to have thought of everything.

Screenshot of RingCentral Answering Rules Setup

RingCentral Answering Rules Setup

  • After-Hours Calls – Each extension can be setup with a set of answering rules that route incoming calls differently at different times of day. Our employees do not get Asatte Press calls at 3AM.
  • Outgoing Calls – We haven’t used it much, but RingCentral provides a webportal so that employees can have RingCentral place an outgoing call and connect the call back to the employee’s personal cellphone so that the caller ID at the other end shows up as “Asatte Press”
  • Greetings – Each employee can record a greeting if they want.
  • Messages – Voicemail messages are sent as MP3 files to the employee’s e-mail address. This service is very convenient. The messages can also be browsed on the RingCentral webportal.
  • Default Extension – A default extension number can be assigned to accept calls from callers who don’t know who they want to talk with. In our case, this extension number belongs to Tomoko Hetherington, Asatte Press Vice President of Everything Else.

FAX Service

Incoming FAXes are sent to your e-mail address as a PDF file. Outgoing FAXes can be uploaded as PDF files and sent from the RingCentral web portal.

Call Blocking

We had one particularly obnoxious supplier who would not get the message that we no longer wanted to do business with them. It only took a few seconds to set their number to be blocked in the RingCentral web portal.

Professional Voice Prompts

You can record MP3 or WAV files and upload the voice segments you want for each announcement. If you don’t happen to have a recording studio and an actress available, RingCentral refers you to Snap Recordings who will record them for you for $50 per prompt.

The choice of professional voices and the smoothness of the final recordings produced were adequate for our purposes. You can call our tollfree number to hear a sample: (866) 308-2139. If you are trying to sell some sort of premium luxury product, you might prefer to spend weeks of time and thousands of dollars to hire a recording studio and a professional actress to produce something more polished.

If you have special requirements for pronunciation of your company name, be sure to read the Snap Recording instructions very carefully. They will not pay any attention to e-mails you send to their support e-mail address after you click “submit”.

What if We Grow?

As your business grows and you need things like high-quality speakerphones in conference rooms, or fancy desk phones for well-dressed marketing people, RingCentral can provide pretty much anything you need as a dedicated VoIP (Voice over IP) service.

Summary

Here at Asatte Press, our primary source of investment funding is the cracks between the cushions in our sofa. If you are a cash-starved small business like us and getting ready to move into your first office, don’t waste thousands of dollars on cabling up a traditional phone system. Let employees use their personal cellphones and let RingCentral make the entire thing look and feel like a big company’s traditional phone system to the outside world.