Many people who are looking for an office phone system have considered Grasshopper, and want to know if it’s a good choice. The honest answer, in my opinion, is that it depends on what your business needs are.
The Grasshopper phone system has all of the core features that most businesses need and offers reliable service, but if your business has special needs, it will be worth your while to look into the features that Grasshopper offers to see if it’s right for you.
First of all, let’s talk about the core features that any good phone system should offer.
What Are the Core Features That I Need?
Although the specific needs for your business may differ a bit, most businesses find that it’s necessary to have the following features:
A toll free or local phone number
Most solid phone services come with at least one toll-free or local phone number. Depending on the size of your business, you may need more than one. Some services offer multiple phone numbers as part of your service package, while others make you pay extra for multiple numbers.
If you already have a toll-free or local phone number, most services will allow you to transfer the number to their service. This may involve a one-time transfer fee though.
Grasshopper’s plans all offer at least one toll-free or local number. Its most popular plan, the “Grow” plan, offers two. Its elite “Max” plan offers three.
If your business has more than 2-3 people, you probably need multiple extensions. But even solo entrepreneurs often find this feature useful, because it helps them screen their calls better and gives their business a more professional appearance.
Good office phone systems should allow you to customize the main menu greeting, so that you can press 1 for a specific department or service, press 2 for a different department or service, etc.
Grasshopper offers this service. It also allows you to set up a name directory, which may be useful if you have a large office, so that your callers can search for the person they want by name.
It offers unlimited extensions, so everyone on your team can have their own.
Additionally, it allows you to customize the call routing if you want to. For example, you can route calls to the next available person, or set it up so that each person in your office receives an equal number of calls. (This feature is optional – you may not need to worry about it in a smaller office or home office.)
This should go without saying, but you absolutely must have a reliable phone service for your business. Many of the services are buggy or unreliable, with calls randomly dropping or routing to the wrong department or person. This is not acceptable from any phone service.
You also want to make sure that their customer service is reliable. Since problems with your phone service can disrupt your business, you want to make sure you have a provider who will get back to you within minutes or, at most, a couple hours.
You shouldn’t rely on services that open a ticket for your problems, then don’t get back to you for a couple days.
One of my favorite things about Grasshopper is that the customer service tends to respond to inquiries within an hour, rather than in a couple days.
Additionally, the quality of the service is very good. Most of the Grasshopper phone reviews that I’ve read are very happy with the reliability and call quality.
No long-term prepaid plans
This one isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s certainly nice to have. I’m of the school of thought that you should always be able to try out a phone service without committing to it long term, in case it doesn’t meet your expectations.
Month-to-month services are the best of all, especially if they offer a money back guarantee. This gives you a chance to make sure that you’re happy with the phone service you pick.
I don’t like to commit to a prepaid yearly contract if I can avoid it. Even if the phone service you select seems good now, there’s no guarantee that it will still be good a year from now.
Plus, I think that phone services will work harder to make me a happy customer, if they know that I’m not stuck with them for a whole year.
Grasshopper doesn’t require any long-term commitment. They don’t even offer yearly prepaid plans. Additionally, Grasshopper offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
These are the core features that I think any good office phone service should offer. Additionally, there are lots of other features that you may or may not need, depending on your business.
What extra features does Grasshopper offer?
The following items are not strictly necessary for most office phone systems, but I think they’re nice to have.
The Grasshopper phone system is a great choice for businesses where employees aren’t always in the office, or who are on call. It’s very easy to route an extension to a person’s cell phone.
This way, your employees can take calls without needing to give away their personal cell phone number to customers. Additionally, your employees can make outbound calls from their cell phones using their Grasshopper phone number.
Voicemail emails and transcription
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of checking your voicemail, you can have them emailed to you as MP3 or WAV files. Then you can easily play them on your computer at your convenience.
Additionally, for an extra fee, Grasshopper will transcribe your voicemails for you, and send them to you as a text file.
Another thing I like about Grasshopper is that it’s very easy to set up and activate. You don’t need to worry about getting new hardware or software. Everything that Grasshopper does is online, so it’s very convenient.
Unlimited call handling
Grasshopper allows your business to handle as many calls as you need. You can customize the hold music, and set up commercials to play while your customers are on hold.
Additionally, Grasshopper even offers a voice studio service as part of their “Max” plan, where you can have professional voice talents record your hold commercials for you.
Your customers who are on-hold can be routed however you want. You can have them choose an extension, you can route them to the next available person, or you can set up your own custom call handling rules.
Drawbacks of Grasshopper
I think there’s a lot to like about the Grasshopper phone system, but it’s by no means perfect. As I see it, there’s one feature that some businesses might want, which Grasshopper doesn’t offer.
Grasshopper doesn’t offer outbound internet faxing. Although you can receive faxes as PDF files in your email, you can’t send them using Grasshopper.
Personally, I get around this by emailing PDFs to the recipient whenever I would otherwise need to send a fax. Nevertheless, this might be inconvenient if you’re planning to send a lot of faxes and don’t want to get a fax machine.
Additionally, Grasshopper charges a slightly higher fee than some of its competitors to transfer your local and toll free number, if you already have one. This is a one-time fee, and I think that you more than recoup the difference in the fee if you use the service.
Is Grasshopper Right For Me?
Now that you know the strengths and weaknesses of the Grasshopper phone system, you can decide for yourself if it’s a good choice for your business.
Grasshopper offers a 30 day money back guarantee, so click the link below to give it a try, risk-free.