Add, remove & assign phone numbers on demand
Manage, respond to, and share calls with your team
Send & receive any message you need to
Keep contact details in one place with a shared phonebook
For on-the-go teams to share messages, calls, and contacts
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) business phone systems are cost-effective, dynamic, flexible and remote-friendly. Since they use the internet to make and receive calls, there’s no need for expensive investments in devices and infrastructure. This makes VoIP business phone systems particularly suitable for small businesses.
In this article, we will compare the top eight VoIP small business phone systems in the UK, explain what you should keep in mind when opting for VoIP, share their advantages and disadvantages, examine on-premise and hosted VoIP and discuss where the technology is headed in the future.
8 top VoIP providers for small businesses: An overview
VoIP small business phone systems: What to consider
VoIP small business phone systems: Features to look out for
Advantages and disadvantages of VoIP
On-premise or hosted VoIP: Which is better for small businesses looking to grow?
Chalkboard: The VoIP business phone system for small businesses
VoIP small business phone system FAQs
Why these eight? We have chosen these top VoIP business phone providers in the UK based on how they can help small businesses control their costs, improve collaboration and customer service and grow their business.
If your business has to call several leads in a day and you don’t want your team members to share their personal numbers, Burner is a VoIP phone system for you to consider. Its primary benefit is that it gives you a second phone number for temporary use.
Whether you’re cold-calling leads or sharing a number for an online listing, you can use a Burner number as a temporary number. With Burner, you can have different numbers for different groups of contacts like family, friends and colleagues. Other features include auto-reply, spam blocking and call muting.
If what you want is an additional number for business use however, Burner isn’t the phone system for you. You will need additional features that Burner simply doesn’t have.
Protects your personal number
Different numbers for different contacts
Auto-reply for missed calls
Temporary numbers make businesses look unprofessional
Limited features for business use
No business texting capabilities
If you download Burner from the app stores, you have to pay £8.80 per month. If you subscribe and download from the web, it will be £4.41 per month.
If you’re looking for a VoIP phone system for small businesses, Chalkboard is your answer. This second number for work has everything you require from a modern business phone at an affordable fee. For starters, you can share your number with your colleagues, which will significantly improve customer service and collaboration.
Chalkboard knows the power of texting. You can organise your contacts and send group broadcasts to share promotional messages or information about new product launches. The advanced chat improves customer engagement while auto-reply enables you to send pre-written texts to missed calls.
Chalkboard is recently introduced templates too – these aim to save you time and remove the repetition of having to manually type or copy and paste responses to customers.
Unlike other VoIP small business phone systems, Chalkboard also takes care of your marketing. The app sends automated requests to your contacts for Google and Facebook reviews. You also get a free trial and affordable subscription plans designed for small businesses.
Contact organisation to separate work and personal lives
Group broadcast for mass texting
Auto-reply for missed calls
Number sharing for increased collaboration
Marketing automation to build your online profile
No binding contracts
Doesn’t have video conferencing
No call centre features
By subscribing through the App or Play store, you'll get a seven-day free trial and then it's £9.99/month after that. There are no hidden costs and you are free to cancel anytime.
Download the app to get started right now with your new VoIP small business phone number.
While searching for VoIP small business phone systems, you will certainly have come across Google Voice. There are two reasons for its popularity. First, it’s from the search engine giant and second, it’s free. The VoIP service has a free plan that allows you to make free calls and send free texts to all domestic mobile phones and landlines in the country.
Google Voice also comes with certain tools that businesses might love. You get call forwarding, voicemail transcription and call blocking, for example. With a one-time fee, you can also port your existing number to the service.
If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur with a small number of clients, Google Voice should be enough for you. It is a business phone system for when you don’t need additional tools and don’t need to prioritise customer service.
Unlimited calls and texts to domestic numbers
Call blocking helps you avoid telemarketers
You can forward or download transcripts of your voicemails
No reliable customer support
No toll-free or vanity numbers
You can’t separate your personal and business contacts
The paid plans start at £8.90 and go up to £22 per month.
Among VoIP small business phone systems, one of the most recognisable is Grasshopper because it was one of the first to enter the market. When it was launched, there weren’t any major competitors, due to which the service became immensely popular.
It may not have all the features that small businesses need but Grasshopper is known for its ease of use. Both the mobile and desktop versions are intuitive, making it a credible VoIP small business phone system for distributed teams.
You can get started merely by downloading the app without disrupting your operations. Although it only offers basic business features, you can still separate your work and personal calls. The app will alert you whether an incoming text or call is professional or personal.
Easy to set up and use on multiple devices
Effortless to separate business and personal communication
Intuitive and simple interface
Limited business tools such as advanced texting
Unreliable voicemail transcription
Connectivity issues since it uses cellular signal
No video conferencing option
Starts at £23 and can reach £71 per month for small businesses.
In our list of the top VoIP business phone systems, next is Line2, a cloud-based service that focuses on ease of use. By simply signing up, you’ll have your new second line for work to help protect your primary number.
The ease of getting started makes Line2 the right option for freelancers, sole traders and small businesses who don’t want enhanced business tools or integrations. It’s an affordable and simple service that gives you professional call greeting and call screening which allows you to answer calls with a text and request the caller to give their name.
You also get caller ID, hold music and call forwarding with Line2. So, why isn’t it suitable for businesses with growing communication needs? Because it doesn’t offer basic tools such as contact organisation or auto-reply. Number portability has also been flagged as an issue by several users.
A simple app that’s easy to set up
Call screening will help you filter calls
Professional call greeting
Doesn’t have auto-reply, something that all businesses need
No contact organisation to separate work and personal contacts
To see updated call logs, you need to refresh the app
The basic version is available for £10.96 but it doesn’t have a call scheduler or auto-attendant.
If you’re searching for VoIP small business phone systems, TextFree is another option that you could consider. More specifically, if you’re only looking for a basic VoIP phone that you need to talk to your family and friends, this second number app should be on your list.
With TextFree, you get a phone number and an area code. But what makes it a compelling proposition is the fact that it’s free. You can make calls and send messages without paying any charges. You can also share photos, emojis and videos and even use group messaging features for free.
Along with free calls and messages to any virtual or mobile number, TextFree also gives you free MMS and customised voicemail. But while it’s free, the app is ad-supported. If you want an ad-free version, you will have to buy minutes, just like with a prepaid phone.
Calls and messages are free
You can customise your voicemail
Share photos and videos and use group messaging
No business tools such as contact organisation or auto-reply
The free version has ads
The basic version of TextFree is free but ad-supported. To get rid of the ads, you need to purchase minutes.
Dialpad is a unique VoIP small business phone system because it’s powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence). It’s a unified communications system for globally distributed businesses, large sales teams or companies that have to manage call centres.
More than a standard business phone, it’s a voice intelligence software application that allows you to capture notes, provide coaching, note action items, deliver sales recommendations and even diagnose sentiments in real time when you’re on a phone call.
Dialpad also integrates with popular communication and project management apps like Slack, Office365 and G Suite. If you’re looking for call coaching software for your customer service agents or sales personnel, this is a credible option. But the company’s reports aren’t as advanced as some of its competitors in unified communications.
Powered by AI
Real-time sentiment analysis and recommendations
A reasonable range of integrations
Too complex for small businesses
The standard version is priced at £13.40 per month, billed annually. The pro version will cost you £22.30 per month.
Another entrant in our top VoIP small business phone systems is RingCentral. Focusing on unified communications, the VoIP service provider integrates messages, video and calls through its business phone. You get high-definition voice, auto-attendant and service reports to measure the performance of your employees.
RingCentral excels in its integration with hundreds of apps including Google, Salesforce and Microsoft 365, making it a value-added tool in customer service. The app is ideal for medium-sized businesses that have multiple departments such as an integrated agency.
This VoIP system can be deployed alongside your existing technology. The company offers a dedicated account manager with its premium plan and has 24/7 customer care for all plans.
Unified communications combining video, phone, and messages
Excellent integration with other commonly used software
Service reports to manage employee performance
Questionable customer service despite 24/7 customer care
Not easily scalable, according to customer feedback
The Essentials plan will cost you $19.99 per month when billed annually. For the Standard plan, you have to pay $27.99, while the Premium plan is priced at $34.99 per user per month. The Ultimate plan costs $49.99 per user per month.
If you’re a small business owner or startup founder, here are the main things to keep in mind when comparing VoIP small business phone systems.
You should only choose a VoIP small business phone system if it’s easy to set up and use. Don’t be swayed by added features that you don’t need since they might make it a challenge to use the system.
If you’re a small business, the VoIP phone system you choose should be within your budget. Don’t pay for features that you won’t use even if they come as a bundled package.
Is the VoIP business phone system designed for small businesses or medium and large enterprises? For example, you won’t need call centre features that would only suit companies with hundreds or thousands of customers.
Can you easily get access to customer support with your VoIP small business phone system? Or do you have to rely on online forums to seek solutions? Remember, even a day’s interruption can cost you revenue.
While most VoIP small business phone systems are scalable, some might force you to upgrade to expensive packages. Check how scalable the provider is if you plan to expand your business or hire more employees.
Some VoIP small business phone systems lock you into long-term contracts. This will make it difficult to exit the service if you’re not happy.
It would be helpful if your VoIP small business phone system gives you a free trial to check out its features, customer support and user interface.
Make sure that the VoIP small business phone system you choose has the following essential features:
Like with any technology, it helps to know the pros and cons of a VoIP small business phone system before you select one to try.
Since VoIP uses the internet, you can make and receive calls as long as you have an internet connection. You could be at home, in the office or travelling and still be connected.
More and more businesses have remote and hybrid employees and VoIP is the perfect solution for these organisations.
If you opt for hosted VoIP, you don’t have to spend on additional devices or invest in expensive infrastructure. This makes VoIP particularly useful for small businesses. Beyond that, the operational expenses are also lower when compared to traditional phone systems.
Most VoIP small business phone systems have affordable plans, especially for international and long-distance calls. This significantly reduces your monthly expenses.
One of the biggest advantages of VoIP – specifically hosted VoIP – is that it’s exceptionally easy to set up. You don’t have to call a telecom provider, make the initial payments and then wait for them to set up your phone lines.
By downloading the app, you immediately get a new number that you can use for business. Want to add or remove more users? You can do it through your dashboard.
In conventional phone systems, you have to make additional payments to get even basic business tools. But VoIP small business phone systems come with tools that help you improve collaboration and customer service while reducing costs.
From call forwarding to group broadcasts and number sharing, these tools help optimise your business communication. The best part? You can also manage your telephone usage and make the necessary changes.
If you use any of the traditional phone systems, you have to contact your telecom provider to add users or features. This takes time and can cause needless interruptions to your business.
With VoIP small business phone systems, you can easily add users or features. So, if a remote team member joins your business, you can quickly give them a new number with the required functionalities.
If your internet connection gets interrupted, it will lead to dropped calls. Like any cloud-based service, you won’t be able to use any of the features if your device is offline.
Unstable internet connections or inferior hardware can affect the audio quality. Depending on the problem, there could be echoes or other background noise.
In case your internet network is congested, it could result in delays in the transmission of digital packets used in VoIP. When they are improperly reassembled at the receiver’s end, it creates latency and jitter.
In VoIP, you will have to choose between on-premise or hosted systems. An on-premise PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is deployed at the location of the business. The system includes devices, servers and the network that will connect them.
An on-premise PBX gives you better control over the system. You don’t have to depend on a provider to add or remove extensions. But it’s costly since you have to spend on the initial hardware and take care of its maintenance. You will also need trained personnel to manage the system.
A hosted or cloud PBX is hosted by the VoIP service provider at their location. The company will take care of the infrastructure and technology. It’s exceptionally cost-effective since you don’t have to spend on hardware and devices or manage their maintenance.
You also get additional features with hosted VoIP and easily manage and control the system. But any disruption to your internet connection will affect your service.
Chalkboard gives you everything you expect from a VoIP small business phone system and much more. You get a second number for work with number-sharing that will improve customer service and internal collaboration. With group broadcast and advanced chat, you can unleash the full power of text marketing for your business.
All prices as of October 2022.
It's an affordable and feature-rich VoIP small business phone system that can help you grow.
You can use it anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection with enough bandwidth.
Since there’s no hardware involved, you can easily move without any interruption to your service.
Most VoIP providers give you a certain number of minutes tied to a subscription plan and these tend to be cheaper than conventional phone charges, especially for long-distance and international calls.
VoIP small business phone systems are here to stay and will be increasingly popular due to their mobility, cost-effectiveness, scalability and functionality. With the introduction of 5G, there will be a substantial increase in internet speeds and bandwidth. This will make it easier to conduct the full range of unified communication through VoIP.
Most providers will also integrate AI into their phone systems. This will make it easier to detect calls, provide context, diagnose security issues and generate real-time analysis and feedback.
All information provided in this guide was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of future changes.
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