Our two-attorney law firm was relocating after a quarter-century in one place. We were not sure we wanted to bring our original PBX box with us for the long term, so we began to assess all our phone choices. For no particular reason, I started out with extreme reluctance to consider VoIP, probably due to years of passing chatter about such issues as dropped calls, etc. and overall skepticism about relying on the Internet for important client calls. Upon learning we could not keep our existing main phone number if we stayed with our landline (due to the location of the new office), we began to weight the possibility of VoIP, if only to be able to port our old number. Well-informed friends also told me to give VoIP a fair chance because technology and faster Internet speeds might have made my apprehension outdated. My further study made me realize that VoIP might not merely be an acceptable alternative; it might bring some advantages. Not one to make long-term technology decisions (or spending decisions) lightly, I did my homework. Reading as many reviews as I could find about all the various VoIP/virtual PBX providers, I found a confusing mix of raves and rants for virtually every company. (I soon confirmed that moving on trying to find the company with no negative reviews was futile, and that, probably, they did not reflect a consensus; I also noted that many complaints had to do with high-call-volume users, and our small law firm has light to moderate phone traffic.)
To make a long story a little shorter, after a lot of comparing, we tentatively settled on Aptela, and confirmed our choice after sales consultant Omid patiently answered our endless questions and addressed all our concerns (including frank discussion about the handful of negative comments that seem to appear on every provider's review page). We have been very happy with the training, transition, and our trouble-free first ten weeks using Aptela. No dropped calls or call quality concerns at all. When we speak to each other in-house over the phone, but can simultaneously hear the colleague's voice faintly from down the hall, we recognize that the "live" and phone voices can be slightly out of sync at times. However, my concern about whether that might hinder phone conversations has not proven to be an issue at all. We have noticed no appreciable lag in our phone calls.
To have the best chance of our switch to Aptela working out well, we verified adequate bandwidth by opting for cable internet over DSL. (Fiber optic was not available at the new location.) We bought preconfigured Polycom phones from Aptela, which seems to have been a great choice. Combining newly installed network wiring, a new router/hub/firewall and all-new phones with new VoIP, we were braced for the worst even while hoping for the best. To our pleasant surprise, everything worked well from the start.
We are very pleased with the call quality (particularly since we paid a bit more for the HD handset option)-- much better than our land lines. Relearning how to transfer calls within the office took a little focus (can't just put a caller on hold and tell someone else to pick up). We miss being able to see who else is on the phone by glancing at the phone itself, but get that functionality on the Aptela dashboard. We love being able to send calls to any phone, and to use follow-me settings to receive calls anywhere-- but we have not actually used those appealing features much so far. During pre-move initial training, Aptela helped me record our first voice prompts (we did not opt for professional recording)-- remotely, over my cell phone. I was certain the recording would be poor quality and would have to be redone later, but was amazed at the clarity of that recording. (We kept it.)
Aptela's assistance with training, porting our old number, and fielding our questions was impeccable. We have not had to open any trouble tickets, so I cannot comment about the tech support. Although I am not wild about having to place a support call and then wait for a reply, I believe that will prove more useful in the long run than getting an immediate but less helpful answer from an offshore call center. (I understand Aptela's support team is in at their main office-- which happens to be right in my backyard.)
We have no regrets about either the general decision to switch to VoIP or our choice of Aptela.