RCN Hosted Voice Review

Improved the clarity and quality of our calls and the stability has been spotless

What is our primary use case?

We use the hosted phone system. We have about 65 seats. My team does all the calling. And I have several more who use the Office Mobility part which is the cell phone feature. They also do all our data.

How has it helped my organization?

We transitioned to RCN from using the old AT&T regular analog phones and Vonage phone system. We always had problems with crackly lines but as soon as we switched over to the RCN VoIP phone system, the clarity and quality of our calls improved and there has been no downtime. In all the years we've been with RCN we have maybe had one downtime event and it was corrected in ten minutes. With the clarity and the reliability of the calls, it increased our sales. It doubled our sales. People had a reliable product that they could pick up, call someone, and the other person would hear them. It made life a lot better.

I don't think we have any packet loss, in general. It's such a reliable product. It's something I don't have to worry about. I can use my Office Mobility and it's going to work.

It was life-changing for us because we went from the stone age to the future. It really changed the world. Adding Office Mobility was a game-changer too.

What is most valuable?

The Office Mobility feature has been the most satisfying one because it allows part of my team to be remote at an event and still be active with the phone and their client base. They're always in reach during office hours. It also gives me the freedom to work remotely too, which is amazing. The quality of the calls doesn't diminish between using the Office Mobility and the desk phone.

What needs improvement?

The analytic part of it, the control panel, those are their biggest areas where they have to improve. There are competitors out there where, when you open the control panel, they have tons of analytics, the ability to add lines, to see which people are on the phone. I've gone through this with a bunch of people at RCN before. They have a great product, but they could make it outstanding with the right analytics and control panel. To do a call recording takes forever. 

In their control panel for administrators, like myself, who have to manage the system, it would be nice to have a feature where I could go on there, order a phone if I need one, get a line, and see which members of my team are online right now.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The uptime is excellent. We're always up. We don't have issues. I can always reach someone. Someone can always call me. The stability of it is spotless. It's rock solid. Everything works great. There's no need to tinker with it. I'm sure people always tinker, but it's a rock solid product, stability-wise.

We haven't had a disaster yet. The only time we had something happen was when the City of Chicago accidentally, while they were looking for a water line, cut a bunch of fiber lines. It not only affected RCN, it affected the whole city block radius. Every person in the area was out and down. But they did a really good job and, within 24 hours, rerouted everything and had us back up.

Looking back at the traditional, stone age system, we had issues all the time. We had static on the line. We always had some type of issue with AT&T traditional phone lines and Vonage. If you've ever dealt with AT&T, their customer service is horrendous. The same with Vonage at that time. They were horrendous. It cost us money.

When we gave RCN a chance that all changed. We never had issues. Someone was right around the corner to pop in and take a look. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is fine. We are maxed at 80 employees. We're a small company so we don't have the need for that larger scalability where we're going to jump to 150 users. I don't have that knowledge about how scalability would work at that size. But given what I know, I imagine that scalability would not be an issue. As long as you have the proper data, I think this product would work the same with 200 users. But my knowledge is just on 80 users in total.

We have a sales team and their primary job is hitting the phones every day, making calls. They can range from 15 to 170 calls a day. They are always on the phone. They are really pushing it hard and maxing it out. We also have a production team. They're not on the phone as much. They'll probably get five or six calls a day. There are also managers, HR, finance, but they're not on the phone. They get incoming calls. Most of my calls are incoming. But out of all those users, with their different roles and using the phones at certain times, I haven't had an issue where phones weren't working.

The reliability and scalability haven't been an issue. That's why I refer people to it all the time.

In terms of deployment and maintenance, I take care of the solution myself.

Everyone is using it every day to do their jobs. I don't know what 2019 holds for us, as far growth goes, just yet; maybe two or three more users. It all depends on the first quarter. I'm not worried about growth and this product. I'll just add another line, add another phone and not think about it because I know it's going to work.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer support, for me, has been outstanding. If I have to talk with the support guys, my questions are answered right away.

IT helps that they are US-based and within local markets. I know they're local and that's good if someone has to come out. We can have someone here fairly quickly. It means a lot to have them local because if we do need something they are right there. They're a few miles away from us and they can be here very quickly. They have some pretty good people working there.

I don't use the tech support that much but when I have had to use it, it's been awesome. I get help right away. Within about ten or 15 minutes I can actually get things accomplished. But rarely do I have to use them; once or a couple of times a year, because there's nothing technical I need to call about.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. RCN had a team come in. They had already started the migration of our numbers from AT&T to their system. When the team came in, they set up the phones, completed the migration, and we were up and running. We didn't have to do anything except move out of their way. They did a great job setting that up for us. I had no issues whatsoever. The setup for us was seamless.

The whole deployment, from the time that they started the migration was about three weeks, and that was because of our closing down for a week for Christmas. Some of that was waiting for AT&T and Vonage to release numbers to RCN.

Regarding our implementation strategy, we did a test line to see if it was going to be a right fit for us and it worked fine. We had five test cases and it worked great. After that, implementation was all at once. I did everyone at one time. I killed all my contracts with AT&T and Vonage and started the process of migrating all 70-some numbers. 

I then notified the team what was going to be coming. RCN said they were setting them up in groups of five. And it worked fine. They'd get a phone plugged in, get it connected, and within ten minutes each person was up. By the end of that morning, we were pretty much done. We had already provisioned the firewall with the information RCN provided for us for our data to flow through the firewall. It was so smooth. Competitors have been trying to get me to move but I'm worried that another change and migration would be rough.

What about the implementation team?

We didn't need a third-party. It was handled pretty quickly. Everything moved smoothly.

What was our ROI?

The only return on investment is the increase in sales because of the reliability. Having the reliability of the phones allowed us to increase our volume of work which, in turn, gives us greater revenue. We bought all our phones from them so we reduced our revenue costs there.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is fairly fair. Our contract ended two years ago and it's going to expire next year. We negotiated rates. We were being wooed by RingCentral and Nextiva again with pricing and some of the newer toys that they have on their systems. We had a really good rep and she did a great job of working out a contract and a pricing solution that was acceptable and fair. We were happy and we continued our relationship with RCN for their VoIP solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did try out Nextiva early on. This was before RCN when we were still toying with a few things, and that would have been seven years ago. One of the reasons we tried Nextiva was that we thought technology was moving that way. But we didn't have the proper bandwidth at that time to really give Nextiva the proper testing it needed. It wasn't until we got a full fiber network in our facility that we saw a change and the possibility of having a VoIP phone system. Once we did move to this new technology it changed our lives a lot.

We also evaluated 8x8 Business VoIP. Skype was the other one we tried. We also looked at trying to roll out even more Vonage on their business side, but because of their technical support, because of their customer support, we scratched them off the list fairly quickly. It was our rep who handled our fiber who said, "Hey, we have a phone solution, a VoIP phone solution that we think would save you money and work really well for you." He said, "Can I have a copy of all your phone records?" I said, "You have to really get some good savings here for us to cut ties with AT&T and Vonage." They came back with a good offer and I said, "Okay, that looks great."

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend that everyone do their research. My own feedback would be that with RCN you're going to get fair pricing, if you do your homework. You'll get reliability. You will get great customer support. I can't speak for all the reps at RCN, if they're not as great as Courtney was, but overall, if you decide to go with RCN you're going to have a very reliable product that you're going to be satisfied with. If you want all the bells and whistles and the dashboard and the analytics, it may not be the product for you. But if you want great service and a great product then RCN is there. 

I highly recommend RCN to people. Know what your needs are and you'll find that they meet a lot of those needs and you'll be satisfied with the results.

If a colleague were to say to me that a cloud solution is not safe, I would tell them, because I have a security background, that nothing is safe. Nothing is 100 percent. Everyone does their best to keep things safe. But everything is vulnerable; that's just the nature of our society. I would say there's nothing to worry about, really. We're moving to full cloud very soon. We're moving to G Suite and we're moving to a server cloud solution. I don't have any fears. As long as you put certain things in place, the security gates that you need, you should have no worries.

The Voicemail Transcription is pretty good. I personally don't use it. I'm kind of old-fashioned. If I see a notification that I have a voicemail, I check my voicemail. In my position, I get hundreds of emails a day, so to sift through and use it... From what I can see it looks nice. I deactivated it on the control panel for me. But it does the job. People mention it all the time, saying that it works great for them. They can see it on their phone.

The automated upgrades happen automatically so I really don't see them. I have no real opinion on them because I don't see it happen and they haven't affected my product.

I would rate RCN Hosted Voice between a nine and a ten out of ten. Nine would only be because of the analytic part. But overall, it's a ten. It's been a fantastic product for us as a company. It's been reliable. There's no downtime. They have mobility features that allow us to work remotely and allow us to stay connected to our company and our clients. It allows us to continue to provide service to our clients.

Overall, with the customer service we got from Courtney and the support from their team when we need it, our satisfaction with the product is that it delivers what they promise. They promised that we would always be up and we would always have clear calls. We always do. That's it.

 I can't say anything negative about them. In general, they're outstanding. Anybody who decides to go with them will be satisfied and have a great product. We've had a long relationship with them now and I don't see that ending.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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