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Finally! A Great Virtual Phone System

I know more about phone systems than I really care to. Having owned three companies of all different sizes over the past 15 years, I have unintentionally become skilled in integrating, configuring, upgrading and replacing phone systems.

Good news for me, I have finally found the one system that (I expect) will never need to be replaced. This is a big deal, since it will allow me to use my (limited) brain power on building my business and not on phone maintenance.

So what’s the panacea to phone systems?  Here’s the big reveal... drum roll… I use Grasshopper and I am loving it.

Before I tell you why their system is great (and perhaps you may want to test it for yourself), you need to know this: Grasshopper offered me free use of their system in exchange for an honest review. Therefore, it is only reasonably for you to think this post is a thinly cloaked, contrived review. I mean, this is a “barter deal” after all.

Well, it is in fact the best system I have ever experienced, and the fact that I got to use the system for free… doesn’t influence me much.  I get offered free stuff constantly – free clothing, if I simply wear it on television; free hotel rooms, if I simply review them on line; free office space, if I simply meet with the building owner for a business consultation; free vacations, if I just do a few speaking engagements. Shoot, I even have been offered free chiropractic visits (which I took the doctor up on) and free hair cuts (which I passed up on).

So free, as nice as it can be, doesn’t mean much.  What matters is the end result.  Does it make my life easier? Does it make things better?  Does it wow me, and the people who interact with it?  Because if it doesn’t, I simply can try the next free alternative.

When it comes to phone systems (virtual or otherwise), my search is over (note: if you are a phone provider, please do NOT make me a free offer to test your system).  Grasshopper is my defacto choice now and this is why:

  1. Simplicity – The Grasshopper web interface is shockingly simple to navigate.  I think it is “shocking” because it handles complex configuration with an absolutely easy and intuitive interface.  I didn’t need to read help files. I didn’t need to call support. I didn’t need to learn a single thing.  The configuration of the entire system was just plain obvious.
  2. Robust – I had to port over phone numbers from my old system.  No problem.  I had to configure multi-layer extension routing, like ringing different phones based upon different times of day.  No brainer.  I had to setup the phone system for five of my colleagues who work in five different locations throughout the country.  1-2-3… done!
  3. Professional - Like most entrepreneurs, my business started small (ahem… just me) and is now growing (six people as of today) and may grow to hundreds down the road (who knows).  No matter the size of my business, I need the phone to be a professional “greeter” for all the incoming calls. Grasshopper does all that very well. But the part I didn’t expect, and like most, is that I was able to pick a voice actor to record my greeting messages.  I just gave Grasshopper my script and two days later, I had the perfect voice answering my phones.  Pretty cool. Very professional.
  4. Superior Service – Two months ago,  I assume, was one of the most difficult days for Grasshopper’s staff.  They experienced their first (and probably last) global outage.  Ironically, this problem,  has made me and countless others, customers for life.  A hardware failure at Grasshopper knocked out my phone for a full day (I believe this is the only time in their history that this has happened).  In real time they posted service updates to their website, answered questions on Twitter and stayed connected through other social media sites.  The problem was resolved and the President of the company personally apologized for the inconvenience via email. Here’s the deal, every company falters at times. I sure know mine have.  But it is the elite few that immediately identify the problem, take responsibility, get it fixed and keep you informed throughout.  Kudos to Grasshopper.

If you are looking for a virtual PBX or virtual phone system or whatever you call it (as long as in involves phones),  I can confidently recommend you to Grasshopper.  They have won me over.  And as my past phone providers will tell you, that isn’t an easy feat!

Next step for me? To interview the founders of this company to see how they grew their company… could be good info for my next book!

By Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur