On Tuesday(November 18, 2008), VirtualPBX, the recognized “grandfather” in the hosted PBX market, shed it’s shawl, threw away the cane and jumped up out of the rocker! They have replaced all that with shorts, a t-shirt and jogging shoes, and in no way resemble their “old” image! They have a totally new look and feel to their website, and completely new plans, and pricing to go along with it! We are very impressed with this new look and feel, as well as the customer friendly changes they have made to their offerings.
Not only have they revamped their plans with 4 plans carefully crafted to compete very nicely with the other vendors we like in this space, but they have also completely eliminated their setup/activation fee, and gone to a 14 day no risk free trial. Kudo’s guys! This is exactly what customers in this market space want and need. Although we would have liked to see the 14 day trial be a 30 day trial similar to the rest of the competitors, it is definitely a step in the right direction, and once customers get a feel for what VirtualPBX has to offer they will definitely be hooked. There was no risk for them to offer this at all, and it is great to see them finally go to it.
As you can see from the plans above, they have abandoned their previous per minute pricing model that had no included minutes, and gone to a fixed pricing model with 4 distinct plans that now cover the market from professional/startup to corporate level customers nicely. To see how they compare to the other vendors on our top 5 list, be sure to check out our side by side comparisons.
Combine these changes with the fact that they are the only provider in our list to offer advanced features such as true ACD Queues with every plan, the reliability and security that comes with being the established founder and leader in the space, and you now have a provider that is very hard to beat.
The only knocks we could find, that we feel impact the small business space are the following:
- they still appear to not offer outbound internet fax. This means that small businesses will still have to have a fax machine, or invest in another service to send electronic faxes. We see the eventual demise of the fax machine, so the need to support outbound internet fax is inevitable.
- they don’t offer multiple incoming lines as a default with each plan. Two of their competitors on our list have gone to this model, and we see this as a trend that eventually all of the providers will move to. This will allow small businesses to truly look like a big business with both a local number(local presence) and toll free number without additional monthly cost.
- you can not add extensions to any of the plans. In order to get more extensions if you need them, you have to upgrade to the next plan, and pay a one time $25 fee. With 2 of the providers in our list now going to unlimited extensions with any plan, we see this as a definite drawback.
All in all this move positions VirtualPBX very well to compete with Phone.com and RingCentral in our list of top 3 providers. Only 1/2 a star separates each provider, and it really comes down to minor differences and what exactly the customer is looking for and needs.
These changes show that VirtualPBX is committed to competing in the very small to small business space, and responding to what their customers in the space want and need. They have listened and responded well. Be sure to read our full review of VirtualPBX and view our side by side Comparison.