Who is Apptix?
Apptix is a cloud-based communication service company that started offering VoIP service in March 2007. Previously, Apptix offered a hosted email service. Now, they offer a variety of bundled unified communication solutions, in addition to core services. Like VoIP. Which I discuss below.
11/08/2010: Apptix has changed its prices since we published our review of Apptix. Old and now-inapplicable portions of the review are struck through and comments and new sections are in italics (Like this comment.)
When I checked out Apptix's prices for this review, they advertised 3 primary business phone system options with per user and activation fees on their website. Before we get into the pricing details, I also contacted an Apptix sales representative (who shall go nameless) with regard to how his company does VoIP. His explanations are listed when relevant.
- Apptix Premium Service costs $49.99 a month and $49.99 to activate
- Apptix Business Service costs $39.99 a month and $39.99 to activate
- Apptix Business 500 Service costs $24.99 a month and $24.99 to activate.
Apptix Pricing Update
Since this review of Apptix was published, they have lowered their prices on monthly fees and renamed their plans. The prices and plans:
- Apptix Virtual Extension Plans: $9.99 and up (Virtual PBX service described below as Virtual Worker).
- Apptix Unlimited Plans: $24.99 a user and up (This is at least the Business Service described above and below).
- Apptix Metered Minutes Plans: $16.99 a user (This the Business 500 service descrived above and below).
Both Apptix Premium Service and Apptix Business Service offer unlimited local and long distance within the continental United States and Canada.
Business Service has standard business-class features for a VoIP Phone system (voicemail, call forwarding, and find me/follow me); Premium Service offers these standard features and phone integration with Microsoft Outlook, support for Apptix's softphone applications, Remote Office Use, Enhanced Call Forwarding, Hunt Groups. The list of additional features is a little difficult to find, but there are many more features listed and included with these services than just those listed here.
I'm not sure if how the activation fee works, specifically; it's probably a setup and installation fee, so it's probably in addition to the monthly fee for your first month. 11/08/2010: Apptix no longer charges an activation fee.
Apptix's third option, Business 500 service, offers 500 outbound minutes a month (Now, Apptix has sensibly renamed this plan as Metered Minutes Plan. But it works the same way.).
Additional minutes cost 5 cents a minute and you pool minutes between your phones (so, 3 phones with business 500 service means you get 1500 minutes to use between your 3 phones). All three services offer unlimited inbound minutes a month, so you're fine if someone calls you. Business 500 Service also includes the same business-class features as Business Service.
Within Apptix's comprehensive pricing list (located on the bottom of their VoIP landing page; when I saw it, it was current to June 2009), they also list reasonable options for Call Center technology ($149.99), additional Auto Attendants (each account with at least four users gets an auto-attendant; after that, they're $14.99 a month), and a receptionist console (scales depending on users: $44.99 for 8 users, $89.99 for up to 30 users, and $419.99 for unlimited users.).
An FYI about the Call Center technology: purchasing it doesn't mean you can set up a call center with unlimited calling.
While Apptix doesn't have a Fair Use Limit (according to the sales rep when I spoke with him; more about this later), they do prohibit using your unlimited calling phone system from setting up a call center. How they do this, I don't know. However, Apptix isvery willing to set up a call center-focused calling option for you (you'll just pay metered rates for a certain volume of minutes a month). The Call Center technology from Apptix allows you to set up a basic call queue system that you may find useful, especially if you have an active sales staff.
Apptix's Comprehensive Pricing List also details a Virtual PBX option and a 'basic' level service (adequately named "Basic Service.")
Apptix's Virtual PBX-style option is known as Virtual Worker Service; it routes unlimited calls to an extensions, which can then forward to voicemail or other phone numbers. That's $9.99 a month, which is reasonable (if a little pricey).
An Apptix representative I spoke with gave me information on the Basic Service ("What's the point?" was my question.): it's a phone for your business with unlimited calls, but with none of the business VoIP features you might need elsewhere. So, no music on hold, no call forwarding rules, etc. He recommended the Basic Service for use with a lobby phone. That was I thought it might be used for, too.
How they're going to sell it, I'm not sure. But that's their problem.
In addition to an activation fee for each new phone (although this is a VoIP company; you may be able to talk your sales rep into waiving the activation fee for you. No, I don't know how to do this.), Apptix charges a monthly fee for each of their services. That's reasonable.
Apptix does sign you to a minimum 12-month contract. There isn't a penalty if you break the contract, but you do have to pay Apptix the remainder of the associated fees. After the initial contract, though, your billing/contractual relationship becomes month-to-month.
It may have just been my sales rep, but he implicated that Apptix would be willing to work with you if you were unhappy with their service. Or if you found a better deal somewhere eslse. That's definitely something to keep in mind. Apptix has at least taken into account how their prices compared to others in the business. Their desire to lower prices speaks, in my mind, to their desire to ... please the people they supply service for.
All in all, Apptix has a fair pricing structure. It's not the cheapest, but it's consistently priced, and upfront about its additional charges. Another nice thing about the website is the way the site is organized: you can't buy the product without talking to someone. That means you don't purchase phones you don't need and you don't get users you don't need. It's a nice, personal touch.
Apptix's Features selection
Apptix offers a lot of features. Each feature is explained succinctly and in detail, including the Call Center options and Auto Attendant options. One of the coolest features Apptix offers is a telephony toolbar, which allows you to use your telephone from Outlook or Internet Explorer. Apptix also integrates their Voicemail service with Outlook, so you can consolidate and easily use your address book.
Check out the complete features list on Apptix's website. But Apptix's impressive list of features is a good thing.
Like most VoIP companies, Apptix operates fully-redundant system over a managed network. Confused?
Apptix is saying they have their own private network to route your business phone calls. Two private networks, actually (they're redundant, see?). That's definitely a good thing.
Most importantly, Apptix offers a 99.99% service level agreement (SLA). A service level agreement means that if Apptix's network is down for any period of time (other than scheduled maintenance, which Apptix will notify you about), you'll get a refund for the period of time when the network is down.
Finally, Apptix's sales rep boasted that they hadn't ever had a service outage. That's a good thing, too.
Customer Service and Call Quality
Without having used Apptix's service (we already have a business phone system, thank you very much. No, I'm not telling you who our provider is.), I can't really speak about how customer service works at Apptix. However, they have 24/7, inhouse support (or at least they advertise it that way) and an after-hours emergency support line. Their website is also easy to use and navigate, although they don't have a public knowledge center.
A sales rep isn't customer service, okay?
If you look at Apptix's reviews elsewhere on the Internet, you'll find that Customer Service has been one of their frequent criticisms in the past. However, almost every review of Apptix is based on their Hosted Email Service – I couldn’t find very many of Apptix Voice; really, I couldn't find any.
Anyway, my sales rep was friendly and helpful. He wasn't even pushy. He answered all my questions and only tried to blow me away with jargon a few times. He also let me know something that explains our high rating for customer service:
Apptix Voice's customer service and Apptix's Hosted Email customer are completely different entities.
The sales rep also made sure that I knew I could contact him whenever I wanted to, were I a customer. (Okay, he also said I could contact him I had any questions about Apptix or VoIP at all. So... he's a good salesman).
Basically, he can act as a liason/first responder if you need him to. But he encouraged me to call the customer service department, which is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But knowing that VoIP is a completely separate department from the hosted email service was reassuring. Different departments for different services is sound corporate policy.
Furthermore, on June 3, 2009, according to company press released, they hired Harold McGann as their customer service Vice President (McGann was previously the head of customer service at Network Solutions). That may have caused changes, for good or bad. Who knows?
That's where you come in. Let us know you about your customer service interactions with Apptix's reps. Also, let us know about their call quality: I had some distortion when I called them, but it was on my end.
Apptix can also offer unified communications, since they offer:
- A variety of email services
- Hosted Sharepoint
- Web Conferencing
- Secure Instant Messenger
- Outlook Voice Access
- Online Backup
Apptix also offers VoIP Phones, too, at a decent discount from MSRP. However, they only offer Polycom Soundpoint phones as "Apptix ceritified." With any other phone type, you'll have to speak to their technicians.
Realistically, this shouldn't prove a problem. If you like Polycom, you can go with them. Don't like it? You can use phones you already have or just buy some new ones. They provide SIP/Hosted PBX service, the customer service rep told me. You'll be fine when it comes to equipment.
Apptix also offers a lease agreement for VoIP phones. However, you need to spend $1500 or more in "qualifying equipment and installation purchases." If you're spending that much, you may as buy some phones. Then you won't have to return them, either.
Overall Apptix Review:
The overall score above is an aggregate of my scores on reliability, call quality, price, features, and customer service. I gave Apptix 5 stars in reliability, call quality, and customer service, 3 stars in price (fair but high pricing), and 4 stars for call quality. Call Quality is something I can't really judge, but Apptix shouldn't be penalized because I don't know something. Customer service is a similar unknown quality, but their sales rep was friendly and he offered to help if there was a crisis.
Do you agree? Disagree? You can reply to this review or write your own. I'd really appreciate knowing about your experience with Apptix's VoIP service.
This review was provided by one of our voipreview.org staff members and the content of the review is the opinion of our staff member. At the time of this review, Apptix was a paid advertiser, but we received no compensation specifically for this review.