Practical Ecommerce

The PEC Review: Fonality VOIP for Small Business

The telephone, like it or not, is an integral part of every business — whether you’re speaking with suppliers about shipments, having a teleconference with your web developer, or following up on a customer service question.

I am not a big fan of telephones — except for the mobile ones — and would much rather email or text than speak on one. But I understand their importance and their value. So recently when I had the opportunity to try out a cost-effective voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP) service, I jumped at the chance.

Fonality provides business VOIP phone services that replace so-called “landline” phones, slash bills, and make it possible for even small merchants to have a first class phone system. For being easy to use and very cost effective, I am awarding Fonality three and a half out of a possible five stars in this “The PEC Review.”

“The PEC Review” is my weekly column aimed at introducing you to the products or services that I believe could help you improve your business. This week, let me tell you about my experience with Fonality.

Video: A Quick Introduction to Fonality

Good Quality VOIP

VOIP, for the unfamiliar, is a way of making phone calls over the Internet rather than via a traditional “landline” phone. The technology has been around for several years and is behind several well known brands and telecommunications companies.

Because VOIP is using the Internet to pass the voice data there can be interruptions or dropped calls. So quality can be a concern in some cases, but not with Fonality.

Although, I cannot say that have I made a lot of calls on the service — see my quip above about not enjoying speaking on the telephone — I have been using VOIP at home for a number of years, and I can say with confidence that Fonality’s sound and transmission quality are very good.

Flexibility

Often, small or medium sized businesses would like to seem larger. This is particularly true for new merchants going through the process of adding supplies or locating contractors.

In my mind, one of Fonality’s benefits is the ability to put together a very flexible business phone solution that, in some sense, rivals the phone systems found in big companies.

For example, a business that has employees working remotely can easily include those far-flung co-workers in a company directory. A caller can go through that company director, pick an extension, and be forwarded half way around the world, if need be, without having to redial or even leave the Fonality solution.

This additional flexibility may also make your business more efficient — think transferring calls rather than having to ask folks to dial a separate number.

Email Notifications

Next, Fonality can email you when you get a new voicemail.

I love this feature, because I dislike voicemail. But with Fonality, when someone does leave me a message, I get an email notification.

Installation

Without meaning to state the obvious, the most difficult part of installing a Fonality system has to do with the initial solution set up. Once extensions and users have been created, the individual phone hardware is a snap.

For example, I got my Fonality phone after the system I was connecting to was complete. So installation amounted to plugging in a power cord, plugging the phone into my router, and dialing. In fact, when I first opened the box, I was surprised to find that there weren’t any instructions. Turned out, I didn’t need any.

Price

Fonality offers a number of service and, therefore, price options. The company’s basic plan starts at $30 per user per month and goes up as you add features or complexity. And all calls — local and long distance — are free, of course, since they are made over the Internet, and not over traditional landlines.

Generally, VOIP is a less expensive option than traditional telephone lines, and this holds true for Fonality.

three and one-half stars

Summing Up

Fonality is a good quality, easy to use, and cost effective VOIP solution for business. The service can provide a basic service that you need — a telephone — in a way that can actually make your business more effective. That is why I have awarded it three and a half out of five stars in this “The PEC Review.”

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Jamie Estep February 3, 2011 Reply

    We’ve been using Fonality for a little over 2 years. If you want your business to survive, avoid Fonality like the plague. Support is completely non existent and even when you can get a hold of them, they cannot help, ever…

    It doesn’t really matter what the cost is, if you go out of business from a the lack of support and a buggy product. If you have a call intensive business of any type, I would avoid Fonality at all costs.

  2. JK October 1, 2013 Reply

    We had nothing but troubles with this system.
    Bad quality and drop outs and Worse support…
    We lost more money due to the system fault than the savings on the call charges!!!!