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Updated May 17, 2024

Zoom Review

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Jeff Hale, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

Table of Contents

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Editors Score:8.8/10
We picked Zoom Phone as the best business phone system for video conferencing. The uniquely priced platform delivers an exceptional video conferencing experience alongside basic call routing and team messaging features at an attractive price point.
Plus Sign Pros
  • Zoom Phone is the least expensive business phone platform we’ve reviewed.
  • All Zoom Phone plans include 24/7 live chat and phone support.
  • You can mix and match phone plans between employees.
Minus Sign Cons
  • Software integrations are very limited.
  • Reporting tools are rudimentary without a paid add-on.
  • Zoom Phone is behind the curve with limited AI-powered features.Zoom Phone is behind the curve with limited AI-powered features.
Zoom company logo
Editor's Rating8.8/10

While some businesses couldn’t operate without a phone, others rarely pick one up. Even if the majority of your business conversations take place over video, text, email and messaging, a reliable business phone system with modern call-handling features is still a basic necessity. Outside of a few virtual phone number providers, most business phone providers focus on delivering all-in-one platforms with robust AI-powered features to optimize and support complex sales and customer support activities.

Zoom’s basic VoIP phone service positions itself perfectly between a barebones virtual phone service and a comprehensive communications platform. It comes with all of the modern call-handling features a customer or client would expect, team messaging, and access to one of the best video conferencing tools available at an attractive price.

Zoom Editor's Rating:

8.8 / 10

Pricing
9/10
Ease of use
9/10
Features
8.3/10
Integrations
8.2/10
Customer service
9.3/10

Why Zoom is best for video conferencing

Zoom became synonymous with video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic — evolving into a generic word for a product category, much like Kleenex and Xerox before it. While its popularity may have waned over the last few years, the features and tools that made it the go-to meeting platform for remote work have not. All of Zoom’s phone plans include the option to elevate a call to a video conference with Zoom Meetings or transfer a call to a Zoom Meeting or Room.

Zoom’s basic Meeting tool is included with its phone plans. It supports up to 100 participants with 40 minutes per meeting, local recording, whiteboards, waiting rooms, filters, virtual backgrounds, screen sharing, breakout rooms and automatic translated captions that make it easy to find important details in past conversations. While Zoom plans include desktop and mobile apps, the technology works on any internet-connected device with virtual meeting capabilities; this makes it easy to schedule, initiate, join and collaborate regardless of your participants’ type of computer, phone or tablet.

During our review process, our team spent time participating in video demos with each company; it found Zoom’s live presentation to have the highest-quality video with crisp sound and no lag. While Zoom might not be our top pick as a stand-alone cloud-based phone service, any business that spends more time communicating over video than phone should put Zoom on its shortlist of all-in-one communications service providers.

Zoom phone plans

Zoom offers three distinct phone plans. Source: Zoom

Did You Know?Did you know
All paid Zoom plans include access to the company’s new AI Companion that functions like a personal assistant during meetings.

Usability

Zoom combines phone, video meetings and team chat into one communications platform, which is accessible through desktop and mobile apps with all phone plans. The phone system integrates with Google, Microsoft and Salesforce to provide immediate access to your contacts and schedule to book meetings. While the platform is far from difficult to use, changing some advanced settings like call flows and call queues with drop-down menus gives Zoom’s portal more of an enterprise software look and feel than some of the more intuitive platforms, like Ooma; the latter feels like it was designed for nontechnical end users.

One area where Zoom shines is its ability to jump from a voice-only phone call to a video meeting instantly. Once you’ve initiated a video call, you can also bring your guest into a virtual conference room with a larger group to help close an important sales deal or brainstorm using the collaborative whiteboard features. Zoom meetings are also very easy to host and attend from any device with an internet connection.

We also love that Zoom also keeps design top of mind for users, with its immersive workspace designer. The company provides the right hardware (like table mics and ceiling mics) and software for specific environments — from large meeting rooms to small personal offices. Not only that, but you can also change your background if you don’t want colleagues to see your bedroom while working remotely, use emoji reactions to respond while muted, take advantage of a gallery view and more. This, among countless other reasons, is why Zoom is our top pick for video conferencing tools.

TipTip
If you’re shopping for a basic business phone that’s easy to use, you’ll want to read our Ooma review and Nextiva review. We found both platforms especially easy to implement and operate.

Zoom features

Zoom Meetings

Modern video communication tools for effective meetings on any device.

AI Companion

A virtual assistant to take notes, extract action items from transcripts and summarize messages.

Barge/Monitor/Whisper/Takeover

Tools to provide live training or improve customer service and sales outcomes.

Zoom Phone Power Pack

Add-on feature for enhanced call queue analytics and historical insights.

Zoom includes the same basic phone features, device support, integrations and video conferencing capabilities with all of its phone plans. With a Zoom Phone, you get everything from unlimited auto attendants and interactive voice response (IVRs) menus to team messaging and call recording. While Zoom’s voice features are considered basic, the platform includes a few features we really like.

Zoom meetings

Zoom Phone subscribers get access to many of the video meeting features that make this platform so popular in remote business settings. That includes meetings for up to 100 participants, screen sharing, virtual backgrounds, team chat, annotations, filters, whiteboarding, waiting rooms, breakout rooms and recording. Advanced conferencing features are available with separate Meeting and Workplace plans that allow custom branding, extend video conferences to 30 hours for 300 participants and add essential apps like the AI task manager.

Zoom whiteboards

Zoom’s whiteboards come with a wealth of helpful templates to save time and stay more organized. Source: Zoom

All Zoom Phone plans let you switch from a voice-only phone call to a face-to-face video conference instantly. You can also take your one-on-one call into a conference room and begin a whiteboard session with templates to streamline processes like building a new flow chart. Once your meeting has concluded, you or anyone on your team can access the whiteboard and any related recordings through a web browser or the app.

AI Companion

A new feature woven into all paid Zoom accounts, the AI Companion is a great addition to Zoom Phone. It provides post-call summaries that can be used with voicemails and calls, allowing you to focus on adding value to the conversation without worrying about forgetting what someone said. It can also extract action items from voicemails, helping you get up to speed quickly without listening to every message in your inbox. Just like with your voicemail, AI Companion can also summarize a lengthy team SMS thread so you can jump back into the conversation as if you never stepped away.

Zoom AI Companion

AI Companion can pull important tasks from your voicemail to save you time. Source: Zoom

Barge/Monitor/Whisper/Takeover

Barge, Monitor, Whisper and Takeover are separate phone features included with all of Zoom’s phone plans. This set of features is designed to let assistants, trainees and managers listen in on phone calls to take notes, speak privately to the person they’re monitoring, initiate a three-way call or take over a conversation entirely. In combination, they’re an essential tool for training new customer service agents on business phone etiquette and company standards. They’re also helpful in providing insights and direction to new sales agents nearing the close of a deal.

Zoom Phone Power Pack

This $25 monthly add-on feature is designed for call center supervisors and managers as well as receptionists. Through our research with this feature, we found that it provides call queue analytics and historical insights managers can use to monitor their team’s level of service with custom options to issue warnings and critical alerts at specific thresholds. Admins can look at active calls, waiting calls and calls held. You can also drill down into completed calls, abandoned calls, missed calls and calls forwarded to voicemail.

Zoom dashboard

This real-time data dashboard updates automatically to include live caller data. Source: Zoom

The wallboard, or web-based dashboard, can be displayed on a large TV or shared with the leadership team to track the most important calling information. You can filter your boards by office location, department and call queue. With historical data, you can review call service levels with custom configurations across days and hours to identify trends and help optimize your workflow.

Zoom Cloud Phone costs

Unlike most all-in-one communications providers, Zoom offers metered and unmetered phone plans in addition to unified communications products. Metered rates can vary from a few cents to more than $5 per minute, so it’s important to know where your business is calling the most to determine which plan will be right for you.

Other potential costs include seven paid add-on phone features. These add-ons include toll-free numbers, international calling, video conferencing hardware and additional phone numbers. Zoom also offers phone hardware as a service with IP phones, handsets and conference phones from popular manufacturers such as Poly, Yealink and AudioCodes.

Plan

Price

Features

U.S. & Canada Metered

$10 per user per month

Metered domestic calling, metered international calling, domestic SMS/MMS, administrator portal, 24/7 support, toll-free numbers, desktop and mobile apps, conference calls, voicemail transcription, unlimited auto attendants and IVR, call recording, team messaging, hot desking, video conferencing, some integrations, single sign-on and hybrid integrations to legacy PBXs.

U.S. & Canada Unlimited

$15 per user per month

Everything in U.S. & Canada Metered plus unlimited domestic calling in the U.S. and Canada with an optional paid add-on for unlimited international calling.

Global Select

$20 per user per month

Everything in U.S. & Canada Unlimited plus unlimited regional calling in one of 48 countries and territories; SMS and MMS are limited in most international locations.

TipTip
If your average daily outbound call time is eight minutes or fewer, Zoom recommends the metered plan for the best value.

Zoom Phone setup

Like the majority of cloud-based phone systems, the setup process is fairly easy and straightforward with an online guide that’s accessible to owners and administrators. Once you choose your main company number, or a temporary number if you’re porting an existing number, you can specify your extensions and your location for emergency services. From here, you can begin making and receiving calls or begin setting up your phone system management features, like the auto attendant and call queues.

Zoom guidelines

Zoom’s setup section provides easy-to-follow guidelines to direct calls during or outside normal business hours. Source: Zoom

End users will log in to their Zoom account and select the phone tab to begin personalizing it with their country, local area code and a secure PIN to access their voicemails. If you allow it, your employees can set their own business hours and call rules.

Zoom Phone customer service

When comparing Zoom to other video conferencing tools, we found it to be stellar with its customer service. After testing Zoom’s customer service and support, we found that common issues and inquiries were swiftly addressed and resolved. All paid Zoom Phone plans include 24/7 live chat and phone support. However, support plans can vary when Zoom Phone is paired with other Zoom products.

Zoom’s learning center includes a number of free self-paced education modules that can teach you everything from product and administrator basics to engaging your audience effectively during video meetings. While you’ll need to log in to a Zoom account to access these tools, they’re available with a free basic account.

Zoom Phone drawbacks

While Zoom’s phone system integrates with Salesforce CRM, you won’t find many native phone integrations with other popular business applications. The full list of Zoom Phone integrations includes Salesforce, Slack, Outlook, Gmail, Google Calendar and a handful of others for contact centers. Direct competitors like RingEX offer more than 300 pre-built integrations with most plans; plus, many other business phone systems we’ve reviewed include dozens if not hundreds of integration options at most subscription levels.

[Read related: RingEX Business Phone System Review]

Unless you plan on purchasing more than 99 user accounts, you won’t be able to find any bulk pricing discounts with Zoom. Many competitors including Nextiva, Ooma and Vonage offer bulk discounts to businesses purchasing far fewer user accounts.

Methodology

In searching for the top business phone systems, we investigated more than a dozen platforms. We researched and analyzed each offering, participated in demos whenever possible, and tried free and paid plans. We evaluated each solution based on its tools and features, pricing, limitations, ease of use, setup process and customer service options. We selected Zoom Phone as the best business phone system for video conferencing thanks to its enterprise-grade video output, support for up to 100 participants and ease of use across any device with an internet connection.

Zoom FAQs

While Zoom offers free video conferencing tools for meetings up to 40 minutes, you will need a paid subscription to one of Zoom’s phone plans to make and receive traditional phone calls.
Zoom offers metered and unlimited regional calling plans starting at $10 per month. Outgoing call rates vary widely; this includes prices as high as $5.70 per minute when dialing numbers in remote locations like the Maldives with a pay-as-you-go plan.
Small businesses can make an easy decision based on their outgoing calling needs. If outgoing calls are few and far between, the metered plan ($10 per month) is a great option. For businesses that make a lot of calls within the U.S. and Canada, the unlimited plan ($15 per month) could work very well.

Overall value

We recommend Zoom Phone for …

  • Small businesses without a significant volume of incoming phone calls.
  • B2B-focused businesses that primarily rely on email and video conferencing.
  • Any business setting where phone calls are the least common method of communication.

We don’t recommend Zoom Phone for …

  • Direct-to-consumer businesses.
  • Any business with a significant volume of incoming phone calls.
  • Any business that participates in cold calling for sales.
author image
Jeff Hale, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Jeff Hale is a communications and content marketing expert with extensive experience leading teams as a managing editor. He has deep knowledge of B2B communications technologies, including business phone systems and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Jeff is also an entrepreneur who knows the realities of launching and managing a small business, where he serves as a Content Director and SEO Consultant. In his role as an entrepreneur and professional, Jeff has identified new market opportunities for Fortune 500 clients and developed communications strategies and digital branding for tech startups and small businesses. Jeff holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and an MBA from Chapman University.
Zoom company logo
Editor's Rating8.8/10
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