For tech businesses, maintaining multichannel communication has never been more important. 

On the one hand, the pandemic forced countless teams into remote work. Sales meetings, development brainstorming, presentations for investors – more likely than not, these now all take place online. From team collaboration platforms to video calls, teams use numerous channels to stay in touch and maintain remote productivity. 

On the other hand, customers move effortlessly between channels. And in order to provide an outstanding customer experience, businesses must follow suit. 

Statistics show that Millennials and Gen Z demand digital-first consumer communication. For example, they vastly prefer to make service requests via email or live chat. In contrast, the majority of Gen X and Baby Boomers prefer to call businesses when they face issues. 

All together, this means that tech businesses need to maintain a wide range of channels for internal and external communication. 

Modern business phone services can simplify this endeavor. 

Modern Multichannel Business Phone Services

Rather than juggle dozens of different platforms and providers, today’s business phone services allow you to centralize all your communication. 

The cumbersome office PBX systems of old have disappeared. Today, business telephony is a cloud service, running over Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Most crucially: These providers natively provide a wide range of channels. From HD voice and video calling, over email and messaging, to live chat and social media, a solid business phone service has you covered. 

Apart from providing all-in-one communications, many of these services also smoothly integrate into existing networks of business apps. 

Finally, many providers also offer additional tools to streamline workflows and boost productivity. These range from automatic call transcription and analytics based on machine learning to AI assistance for sales reps and customer service agents. 

Here are five of the best multichannel business telephony solutions for 2021. 

1 – Nextiva

Nextiva makes the top of its list thanks to the extensive list of channels it encompasses, its full range of proprietary tools, and its outstanding customer service. 

Nextiva includes HD voice and video calling, conferencing, HIPAA-compliant virtual fax, team messaging, screen sharing, and SMS. In addition, there is a live chat add-on, and integrations for email platforms and ticketing systems for customer service (e.g. Zendesk). Other integrations include HubSpot, Salesforce, and Sugar CRM. 

Nextiva’s NextOS is a powerful analytics tool based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. The provider can also boast a native customer relationship management (CRM) system, and a virtual workspace platform for remote teams. 

What really makes Nextiva stand out, though, is its customer service. Available 24/7 via call, email, and live chat, it has won the company several awards

Plus: Nextiva maintains several data centers distributed across North America to guarantee a ‘five nines’ uptime of 99.999%. All communication is also securely encrypted, a significant security advantage over other popular services such as Zoom. 

Pricing starts at $19.95 per user and month. 

2 – Dialpad

Dialpad claims second place on this list thanks to its array of communication channels and cutting-edge AI applications. 

This provider offers voice and video calls, virtual fax, SMS, MMS, Group SMS, and international SMS. It also includes access to UberConference’s free tier, which encompasses voice and video calling, conferencing, chats, and screen sharing. Additionally, it integrates with Slack and social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Native integrations for third-party platforms include Google Workspace, Office 365, Salesforce, and HubSpot.

Dialpad’s distinguishing feature are its extensive AI functionalities. 

Apart from providing in-depth AI-powered analytics, Dialpad also offers multiple applications that harness natural language processing. These include automated note-taking, transcription of voicemail and entire conversations, and real-time sales support. The AI can distinguish caller emotions, autonomously pull records from CRMs, and provide company agents with background information and suggestions. 

For small teams, Dialpad’s Standard plan at $15 per user and month may be attractive. For larger companies, the Pro plan comes at $25 per user and month. 

3 – OnSIP 

Next up, OnSIP offers a solid variety of channels and shines through its flagship sayso service. 

OnSIP includes voice and video calling and conferencing. In addition, its sayso click-to-call service allows you to add a call button on your website. A single click lets customers voice- or video-call one of your representatives. Amazingly, sayso even has a free plan. 

In addition, OnSIP also fits neatly into an existing ecosystem of business and communication apps. It offers native integrations for platforms such as HubSpot, Zendesk and Slack. 

Finally, OnSIP has several neat extras lined up. These include hold music, advanced call management, and auto-attendants. 

In terms of pricing, you’re looking at a basic plan subscription fee of $18.95 per user and month. Note, though, that some advanced features require separate subscriptions. While you won’t pay for tools you don’t use, this can also quickly rack up your bill. 

4 – Vonage 

Vonage offers a solid set of communication channels, and easy scalability for expanding businesses. 

This provider prides itself on its all-in-one communications platform, Vonage Business Communications, which includes voice and video calling, conferencing, SMS, and team messaging. Add-on options include Business Inbox (which combines SMS and Facebook), virtual fax, and click-to-call buttons. Vonage also has a separate Communications API package, which allows users to access an array of social media messengers. 

What’s more, Vonage comes with a large menu of business integrations. They include Office 365, Google Workspace, HubSpot, Zoho CRM, Zendesk, Bullhorn, Calendly, and others. 

Pricing-wise, Vonage’s Mobile plan comes at $19.99 per user and month. Many useful features only become available at higher tiers, though, with the Premium plan starting at $29.99, and the Advanced plan at $39.99. 

5 – 8×8 

Finally, 8×8 makes this list thanks to its strong international component and a comprehensive range of communication channels. 

The platform includes voice and video calling, conferencing options, SMS and MMS, team chat, screen sharing and virtual fax. While not part of this product, 8×8 also offers API access to social media messengers. 

Advanced functionalities comprise omnichannel routing, 3-way calling, and fine-grained access controls. 

8×8 comes with a number of business integrations, including several CRMs and other communications apps – for example, Salesforce, Zendesk, or Slack.

This provider’s standout feature, though, is global communication. For companies with a large international audience, or with offices outside the US, 8×8 offers tempting options: toll-free numbers in over 120 countries, and local ones in over 80. 

Pricing for 8×8’s business plans begins at $25 per user and month. However, a lot of handy features are only unlocked at the “X4” tier, for $45 per user and month.

Final Thoughts 

Investing in multichannel communication will help you to both boost your team productivity, and your customer satisfaction. 

Modern business phone services allow you to run all your communication through one platform, reducing distractions, and increasing efficiency. Additional functionalities like AI assistants help you to handle interactions with more nuance, precision, and dynamism. 

The list above will get you started digging for the perfect business phone service to meet your communication needs. With some perseverance and research, you will undoubtedly strike gold.