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Grasshopper Review: Best Virtual Phone System

Grasshopper Review: Best Virtual Phone System

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend Grasshopper as our 2018 pick for the best virtual phone system for businesses with a mobile workforce. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology, as well as a comprehensive list of business phone systems, on our best picks page.

Part of what makes Grasshopper such an appealing option for businesses with a remote workforce is that it requires no equipment and is simple to use.

No hardware: Since Grasshopper is a virtual phone, there is absolutely no hardware or wiring needed to run it. It basically works as an extensive call-forwarding system. Grasshopper provides users with a local or toll-free number, as well as virtual extensions for each employee. When a customer calls that main number, the calls are answered by an automated attendant and then forwarded to the appropriate employee or department. The calls then ring the employee's mobile or home phone, or anywhere else they want their calls forwarded to.

Online portal: Once you sign up for the service, the entire system is controlled via an online portal. From the portal, you can add users and extensions, create departments, listen to and organize voicemails, update your plan, change your phone number, and view call reports.

Employee access: Employees can also access the system via the online portal, desktop app or mobile app to create their own individual ring trees. Employees can choose the numbers the want their calls forwarded to, the order in which those numbers ring and whether they want their calls forwarded to them during certain hours, such as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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Grasshopper has an extensive set of features that allows businesses with a remote workforce to present itself in a professional manner at all times.

Automated attendant: The system features an automated attendant that answers all calls to your main business line and forwards them to the appropriate person. The service allows you to create your own custom greeting or, for a one-time $75 fee, have a professional greeting recorded using Grasshopper's voice studio.

Mobile app: Available on both iOS and Android devices, the Grasshopper mobile app allows you to make a receive calls from your business line. Unlike with some other virtual services, when you make a call using the Grasshopper app, your business line number shows up on the caller ID of the person you are calling. The app also lets employees check voicemail messages, review faxes and call history, set up push notifications for missed calls and messages, and change call-forwarding options. 

Added features: Some of the other valuable features are hold music, a dial-by-name directory, conference calling for up to 10 participants, call screening, and voicemail- and fax-to-email.

Grasshopper is available in three different service plans. Each plan includes unlimited minutes, offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and doesn't require a contract.

Solo: The Solo plan costs $24 per month and includes one number, three extensions, and all of the features and tools except texting and voicemail transcription.

Partner: The Partner plan costs $49 per month and includes three numbers, six extensions, and all of the features and tools except texting and voicemail transcription.

Small Business: The Small Business plan costs $89 per month and comes with five numbers, unlimited extensions and all of the features available, including texting and voicemail transcription.

Added costs: If you choose the Solo or Partner plans and want either texting or voicemail transcription, there is a $10 per month charge for each. There is a one-time $25 activation fee for new customers.

Customer service: We were impressed with the level of customer service Grasshopper provided. To test the support, we contacted the company multiple times posing as a new business owner. Each time we reached out, our calls were immediately answered by representatives who provided clear and detailed answers to all of our questions. At no time did they try to pressure us into signing up for the service. We were also pleased to see that the company offers 24/7 support to all customers.

Texting: Texting capabilities is a feature that many of the other virtual systems we looked into don't offer. Grasshopper's SMS lets users send unlimited texts from the Grasshopper app.

One downside to Grasshopper is that it doesn't offer the wide array of features and tools that some other virtual services offer, such as call recording or integrations with programs like Microsoft Office. That being said, many other virtual systems don't offer such a robust mobile app that allows users to make calls from their business lines. That's the feature we believe is the most valuable to virtual users.

Another potential negative is that Grasshopper only offers a virtual system. So, if your business were to grow out of a service like this and need a traditional phone system, you would have to find a new phone service provider. Some providers offer both types of services.

Ready to choose a business phone system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.