Recommend a good cloud based telephone system


I'm involved in a pre-startup situation, with a small company about to start real operations. Initially they will have one dedicated office with dedicated telephone lines, one office admin person, and internet service.

One of the main functions of the admin person will be to answer the telephone, they feel strongly they want anyone calling during business hours to be answered by a living human being.

Most of the three or four professionals in this organization will work at different locations. They have asked me to recommend a cloud based telephone system (let's just call this 'the cloud' for now) that can do the following:

1) During business hours calls to the cloud are routed to the phone line in the physical company office. If a human answers, the caller can be forwarded to one of the professionals.

2) After business hours, or if no human answers, the cloud forwards the call automatically to each of the professionals in turn. It would be great if the cloud told the caller what it was doing when it forwarded the call. Each of the professionals will have a dedicated phone number for this service that won't take voice mail.

3) If in the end nobody answers then the call goes to a common voice mail box. It would be nice the mail box generated an email for each recorded call.

I'm in the United States, but I think this problem is general for many businesses. This is my first direct post to this exchange, I hope this is considered on-topic.

TIA for your suggestions.

Business Communication

asked Oct 25 '11 at 04:08
Jim In Texas
228 points
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4 Answers


I don't know any "turn-key" solution but Twilio platform is pretty solid, scalable and customizable (

Also, from what you are describing, maybe even a simple google voice account (free!) could do the work. Not sure how well it handles multiple callers on hold, though.

answered Oct 25 '11 at 05:04
829 points
  • wo, I've been playing around with twilio for a few hours now. Very cool. The control you have over it makes me smile. – J Locke 12 years ago


I've been reviewing They seem pretty good, but I have not used them yet.

answered Oct 25 '11 at 06:26
J Locke
136 points
  • "seem" is a very risky word. Be very careful how good they might look, I've been struggling with a big name hosted VOIP/Freepbx company that does not support Cisco and reset mailbox extensions to make it look like my fault (asking Billing to compensate us for 3 months of phone service helped change their attitude.) You really need to get customer references to find out what happens after you sign up. – James 12 years ago


Vocalocity can do all of that no problem. We have been demoing it for the last 2 weeks and will be switching over to it completely next year.

answered Oct 27 '11 at 03:32
Ryan Doom
5,472 points


I've been using Thinking Phones for these (and similar) functions for about 6 years now.

They do almost all of the expected PBX-in-the-cloud stuff, plus can usually script up some customized things for your specific needs. The price is fair (IMO) and they've always been helpful in catering to small businesses with odd needs.

answered Oct 25 '11 at 05:04
Brian Karas
3,407 points

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