Best VoIP for small business (2023)
Here is our shortlist of the best VoIP providers for small businesses in the UK. Click the links to read more about each of them or request a comparison quote to find the best VoIP service provider for your business quickly.
Top 4 VoIP systems for small businesses in the UK
If you are a UK based small business, four VoIP systems stand out from the crowd. In this section, we highlight those, but to identify the best one for your business, please request a comparison quote - and we'll send you personalised recommendations.
Before we get into our more detailed review of the best small business VoIP services in the UK, we want to explain more about it and how it works. If you already know all of this or aren't interested, skip ahead to our reviews or request a comparison quote. We'll help you find the best business VoIP service for your company.
In another of our recent posts titled "What is VoIP", we go into a good amount of detail about what it is and how it works, but if you're new to our website, let's give you a summary.
VoIP is an acronym for voice over internet protocol, which is a technical way of saying telephone calls taking place over the internet. With a VoIP service, you typically need some handsets, a laptop, or a mobile phone to make calls. As long as you are connected to the internet, you can make and receive business phone calls.
In the past, you would likely have had a traditional phone system in your office, which connects out to the public branch exchange, but that's not the case with VoIP. All of the call management is done online.
You need relatively little to be able to make and receive VoIP phone calls, with the only requirement being that you have a VoIP provider.
What is required will depend on whom you choose to provide your business VoIP service. Still, typically you will need some VoIP phones and a reliable broadband connection. In fact, with most small business VoIP services, you don't even need handsets; you could just use mobile phones or even your laptop for calls.
One of the great things about VoIP systems compared to traditional technologies is that small business get access to a vast range of advanced features previously reserved for much bigger companies.
Chances are you already have a suitable device to make calls, and with over 95% of us in the UK having internet access, it's more than likely you have an internet connection too - you're reading this article, after all! So the only thing you're missing is a small business VoIP service, which, as we've mentioned, you can get for a very affordable monthly investment.
Yes, VoIP is brilliant for small businesses - in our opinion, it's a game-changer. Similarly to the evolution of other cloud technologies such as Dropbox or Microsoft Office 365, cloud-hosted VoIP gives small businesses access to enterprise-grade technology for a low monthly cost.
Most of the best VoIP services come with a vast amount of useful functionality to make your business more efficient and reduce costs.
There are many benefits associated with getting VoIP phones for your small business, but perhaps most important is that you'll reduce your costs. This section outlines most of the benefits you can expect when you move to one of the small business VoIP services we've covered.
Your business will save money with a VoIP service.
Small businesses are always keen to minimise costs, so the good news is that by implementing a VoIP phone system, many of your telephony related expenses will be reduced. Firstly, there is no longer the need for expensive ISDN business phone lines, which BT is phasing out by 2025 anyway.
Secondly, as the system is hosted in the cloud, there's no expensive equipment to buy or finance; it's all included in your monthly service subscription fee.
Thirdly, as your voice calls are routed over the internet, they are almost always cheaper than calls made via traditional phone services. Also, many business VoIP providers, even the cheapest VoIP services, include a generous amount of free calls with your subscription.
Finally, you don't have to have VoIP phones as you can make calls with your existing mobile phones or laptops. Many small business owners will have a mixture of physical handsets for those who need them and use softphones for employees who aren't frequently on the phone or spend are remote workers.
Flexibility over where you work
Aside from the cost savings associated with VoIP, the ability to work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have internet connectivity, has to be one of the primary benefits.
With traditional phone systems, switching from office to home isn't easy and ultimately results in call forwarding and extra costs. With business VoIP services, you can work from anywhere; all you need is a device that can make and receive calls while you're away.
Central to this is taking your phone number with you wherever you are. Your office may have a geographic or non-geographic number, but with VoIP, it doesn't matter; you can pick up your number from the comfort of your own home or even on your mobile device while you're out and about.
The best VoIP providers have both Android and iOS apps and desktop soft clients. Some even offer web-based calling, so you can access your telephone system even if you're on someone else's laptop or phone.
We touched on portability in the last benefit, but essentially by having a cloud VoIP system, you can use the same telephone number anywhere. You can give the impression you're in the office while sitting in a far-flung exotic location, or perhaps just your home office.
VoIP phone systems are scalable.
For start-ups and small businesses, you want to ensure that the telephony solution you choose today fits you tomorrow and far beyond. The last thing you want to do is change your phone system after only a couple of years. The great thing with internet hosted VoIP phone systems is that they are scalable. Most of the leading platforms can scale up to thousands of users, so you can rest assured that your phone system will keep up as your business grows.
VoIP for small businesses provides mange features.
We'll get into the detail of some of the features you can expect in the next section of this guide, but it's safe to safe they are extensive. If you're used to having a traditional phone service, you'd either need to pay for an expensive controller to access advanced features or suffer from limited and basic controls. With cloud-hosted VoIP, you can do everything from call recording to music on hold with a few clicks of a button. Yes, certain features come at a premium, but rather than buying the latest and greatest hardware, you'd merely need to upgrade your subscription to access them.
Today, small businesses can present a professional impression and belie their size using cloud-based technologies such as VoIP.
Improved voice quality
When VoIP was first developed, and internet connections were slower and less reliable, calls often suffered from dropouts and poor quality, but in the last few years, as internet speeds have improved, the quality of VoIP calls has surpassed that of PSTN and ISDN calls.
That said, we always recommend a separate broadband line is installed for your phones to keep everyone's internet browsing activity from affecting voice call quality.
Of course, with many of us now working from home, we tend to have a dedicated connection anyway. It's only when the kids get back from school that it becomes shared between your work and their Fortnite.
While VoIP provides a plethora of significant benefits for many small businesses, there are, of course, disadvantages, and we must share those with you. Crucially, none of these issues is insurmountable. If you suffer from any of the problems mentioned, there is usually a simple way to solve them.
A reliable internet connection is essential.
To use VoIP, you need a reliable connection to the internet. If your connection drops out or is very slow, you'll find that calls get cut off, and the quality is poor. It's, therefore, crucial that before you embark on getting a VoIP system, you solve any ongoing issues with your broadband. Usually, where people are working from an office location, we'd recommend installing a separate connection purely for calls to minimise the problems relating to people using the internet for other purposes.
To make VoIP telephone calls from your handset or desktop/laptop, you'll need power, and if it drops, you won't be able to make and receive calls. Fortunately, with your mobile apps, you would still be able to make calls from your smartphone. That's the great thing about VoIP; there are still options if power is cut to your office or home.
Before we get into our detailed reviews of the best small business VoIP services, we want to highlight some of the fantastic features you can expect from most systems. You, of course, don't need to use all of these, but we think it's useful for you to understand what to look out for before you choose your telephone system.
Do you know the automated menu options you get when you ring a large company, i.e. "press 1 for sales or 2 for customer services"? That's an auto-attendant in action, routing your call to the correct destination.
Yes, if it's configured poorly, it can be annoying for customers who can find themselves stuck in loops or the wrong place, but set up well, it's a time saver for both the caller and the recipient.
Even if there are only a couple of people in your business, by routing the call to the correct destination, you avoid the other person becoming your temporary secretary and ultimately save time. It presents a professional image and can give the impression that you're bigger than you are. An auto-attendant is an enterprise-grade call management feature that most business phone services include.
Hunt groups are helpful when your team becomes a little larger. Still, we usually wouldn't recommend using them unless you have more than four people using your VoIP Service.
Hunt groups are another call routing feature that sends calls to several people rather than a single destination. So rather than one phone ringing, you can have a whole team's phones ring and whoever picks up first takes the call. That's the simplest way to explain it, but you can make more complicated ring patterns, such as ringing phones in a set order with hunt groups.
Again, this functionality would usually be reserved for companies with expensive telephone systems. Still, with a VoIP system, businesses of all sizes can benefit.
We find that the Call Park feature is one that many users value- it not only allows you to put a call on hold, but you can then pick it up on another phone or even your smartphone. This is perfect if you've been on a call for a while and need to move away from your desk. Simply ask the customer if they mind going on hold, park the call and then pick it back up on your mobile, and you're free to leave your desk. You can do the same in the other direction, too. If you pick up a call on your mobile via your provider's app and return to your desk, you can park the call and pick it up on your handset, freeing your mobile phone up again.
Call Waiting & Music On Hold
Another small business favourite is Call Waiting - using it means you needn't ever miss a call again. With Custom Music On Hold, you can choose between playing some music to the waiting person, or why not record bespoke promotional messages they can hear while they wait? Best yet, you don't even need to be the one that answers the call -with the Call Pickup feature, other people in the team can answer each other's calls, whether their phone is ringing or if they're queued.
CLI Flexibility sounds complicated, but all it means is that you can make calls from various numbers - you don't always need to dial out on the same one. This can be useful if you're running a regional marketing campaign and want to present a local image or if your company has several brands or sub-companies and you want to keep them separate. Again, big businesses use this and will call out on the VoIP phone number they want you to see, so why shouldn't you have the ability too?
Call recording used to be an advanced feature that would require additional hardware and software. Fortunately, today you can access it with a simple software license. Even small businesses can benefit from call recording, and it's essential if you work in financial services from a compliance perspective.
Instant Group Call
Once you have your cloud-based business VoIP system, you and your colleagues can have both planned and ad-hoc group conference calls. You can invite people to your call at any time, which is particularly useful while we're all working remotely from each other.
One number anywhere
We mentioned this earlier, but a significant benefit of a business VoIP system is that it has a single telephone number. This feature makes it simple for customers to reach you. It gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere without missing important calls. You no longer need to tell clients you're working from home - it doesn't matter - your calls will be routed directly to you wherever you are.
This is only a relatively small snapshot of what we think are the best features of business VoIP systems. There are lots more that we haven't mentioned that are worth your consideration.
- Automatic callback
- Busy lamp keys
- Call forwarding
- Call rejection
- Click to dial
- Company directory
- Diversion inhibitor
- Do not disturb
- Last number redial
- Video conferencing
- Website live chat
- Internal team messaging
- Sites, groups and departments
Our in-house telephony experts have reviewed the best small business VoIP services currently available in this part of our guide and ranked them accordingly. As we mentioned earlier, to find the best VoIP service for your business, we strongly recommend you request a comparison quote from us. A member of our technical team will review your requirements and then match you with your company's best business phone service.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best VoIP service for small business?
UK based businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to VoIP phone systems. The best system for your business will depend on your requirements but what we can say is that you should look for a company that is well established and ideally has UK support. It's also essential to choose a provider that isn't too big as you don't want to become insignificant to them.
How do I set up a VoIP phone system for small business?
It's best to start by requesting a comparison quote from us, and one of our experts will review the market and match you with a VoIP provider based on your requirements. Once you've decided on the right provider for your business, we can assist you in getting set up and moving any phone numbers over to the new system.
What is the best VoIP phone service for small business?
The five best VoIP services for businesses in the UK are:
- Gamma Horizon (9.7/10)
- 3CX (9.5/10)
- Phonline+ (9.4/10)
- bOnline (9/10)
- Lily Comms (8.5/10
How much does a VoIP system cost?
The cost of a VoIP system will vary depending on your specific requirements. If you opt only to use softphones and are happy to use new telephone numbers, the cost will be as low as £9 per user per month. If you want handsets, headsets and a range of phone numbers, the price will be higher.
How does VoIP work for small business?
Typically, small businesses opt for a hosted PBX, as doing so brings a significant number of advantages compared to buying a physical phone system. VoIP works by transmitting telephone calls over the internet rather than traditional PSTN and ISDN networks. As the calls aren't tied to a phone line, you can make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection.
Is VoIP cheaper than a landline?
Yes, VoIP calls are typically much cheaper than calls from a regular landline. In addition to reducing call costs, you don't need to buy a handset as you can use an app on your laptop or smartphone called a softphone.
What is a PBX system for small businesses?
Usually, a small business will get the most from a hosted PBX rather than an onsite system. It depends on the company, though, so please get in touch to speak to one of our small business experts about your requirements.
Can I be my own VoIP provider?
Yes, you can, but you will need some software, hardware and SIP trunks. For most businesses looking at this option, a system like 3CX is a good choice, as you can host it on your premises and pay for licenses and SIP trunks.
Is there a free VoIP service UK?
The only free VoIP services are aimed at primary consumers, think Skype, Whatsapp, and Zoom's free version. As soon as you want a business service, you can expect to pay for it. Most providers operate on a per user per month basis.
What is the best telephone system for a small business?
The best telephone systems for small businesses in the UK are currently:
- Gamma Horizon (9.7/10)
- 3CX (9.5/10)
- Phoneline+ (9.4/10)
- bOnline (9/10)
- Lily Comms (8.5/10)