Does Goliath Win This Round? Review of BT’s Business phones
searching for a new or replacement business phone system and are considering BT?
BT is the most significant telecommunications supplier in the UK market, so is of course on your list if you are looking to start a new phone contract.
The good news is BT (British Telecoms) offers a wide range of phone system solutions for all types and sizes of businesses.
They offer short and long-term contracts, with solutions that can expand with your business.
BT’s origins stretch way back to the founding of the Electric Telegraph Company in 1846.
BT currently operates in over 180 countries and is the largest provider of fixed-line, mobile, and broadband services in the UK.
They also provide subscription television and IT services.
BT supplies telecommunication services to corporate and government customers around the world under their BT Global Services division.
They also serve more than 18 million customers within Great Britain and brought in record revenue of £24.062 billion in 2017.
So let’s get down to business:
BT business phone options
BT offers three different business phone systems, which vary in both technology and contract type.
The best option for you will depend on the scale and working style of your business.
Cloud-based VoIP Systems
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems transmit all your calls over the internet rather than traditional phone lines.
BT offers a VoIP system for small businesses where they host the switchboard system for you in the cloud.
This means that you have the phone handsets in your office and BT handle the rest.
Cloud-hosted VoIP can meet the demands of small businesses looking for an effective communications system for anywhere between 2 and 52 users.
The system is flexible as you can easily add users or features. Here are the benefits for your business from this system:
- You only pay for the features you and your staff will need.
- The system has an online management portal that allows you to track your team’s usage.
- Call costs are very low as you are using VoIP technology
- You can make and receive calls wherever you are, whether in the office or through your mobile.
- Your customers can dial a BT business phone number and will get through to you whatever device you are using.
On-premises PBX phone systems
BT’s On-premises PBX phone systems are another option.
Designed with medium to large-sized businesses in mind, the system combines a site-based PBX system with VoIP digital calling technology.
The BT On-premises PBX phone system can be set up to host teams of 5 to 20,000 staff members.
This setup gives you both the sophisticated enterprise features of an in-house call management system and the affordability of VoIP calling.
Using dedicated software and IP telephones, you can make and receive calls, send and receive emails or have conference calls from any device, whenever you are online.
In collaboration with Avaya’s IP Office, you can connect your mobile phone, your office phone, and your computer so you can read emails, take calls, and listen to voicemail all in one place.
Here are the benefits of the BT On-premises PBX phone system:
- Call delegation and selection options mean your customers will get answers directly from the right person or department.
- Your employees can work at home even under unavoidable circumstances such as heavy snow or transport strikes.
- With a BT business phone number, your customers have a single contact point for your business rather than just relying on numbers for each staff member
- You can easily track missed calls and give callbacks.
- Can cut costs by calling over the internet.
- Can host a conference call with up to 250 people to improve communication efficiency and reduce travel costs.
- You can quickly and communicate problems or good news to everyone in your office
BT One Phone
BT One phone is BT’s state of the integrated art system that can tie all of your communication systems together.
It has been created for companies that primarily use mobile phones for communication, through desk phones and computers can be tied into the system as well.
If your workforce is geographically spread or your team travels frequently, then this could be the best option for you.
One Phone also handily rolls all your mobile bills together into one contract with total usage limits.
This phone system gives you a whole range of benefits:
- Integrated voicemail so you don’t miss a message or a phone call. Sadly, half of the customers whose calls were not answered on their first try will never try again.
- The BT One Phone system will reroute unanswered calls to a mobile or flow through a delegation list.
- Digital receptionist eliminates the need to have a receptionist or operator answering incoming calls, and ensures calls are never missed.
- Staff can answer their calls wherever they are, ensuring excellent customer service as well as accommodating flexible working options.
- Staff can work from anywhere and be seamlessly integrated into the system, providing customers with a unified face for your business.
You might have seen a system that sounds right for your business, but how much will you need to spend?
BT phone system costs
The cost will both depend on the sophistication of the system you select, as well as the number of users you have:
Cloud-based VoIP Systems
|12, 24, or 36 months||12, 24, or 36 months||12, 24, or 36 months|
|Features include: hunt groups, call logs, auto attendant, voicemail, and fax, call queues, call recording, conferencing||Connect has all the features of Basic plus: auto call recording, call monitoring, CRM integration, and multi-level attendant||Collaborate has all the features of Basic and Connect, plus: web and video meetings|
|500 UK minutes||500 UK minutes – or the unlimited UK calls option||500 UK minutes – or unlimited calls option|
On-premises PBX Phone Systems
|Avaya IP Office||MiVoice Business|
|Combines the advantages of an on-premises system with the flexibility, agility, and features of an IP system||High-end system for businesses with complex communications needs: ideal for call centres|
|Number of users||5 – 2,000||16 – 20,000|
|Price range||From £1,400||From £3,150|
|Ideal for||Feature-rich system designed to grow with a customer||Designed to help maximise customer contact opportunities|
|Compatible with SIP||Yes||Yes|
|Installation||Engineer Install||Engineer Install|
|Proactive remote monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Maintenance||3 care options available||three care options available|
Option to upgrade
Install new extensions
Option to upgrade
Install new extensions
|Support||Fault reporting 24/7||Fault reporting 24/7|
|Cost – payment options||Purchase or Lease||Purchase or Lease|
BT One Phone
|Company Shared Bundle||Monthly Inclusive Minutes Allowance||Monthly Inclusive Texts Allowance||Monthly Inclusive Data Allowance||Monthly charge per Contract||Maximum Number of Users|
|BT One Phone 5k||5000 minutes||5000 texts||5GB||£205.00||50|
|BT One Phone 7.5k||7500 minutes||7500 texts||7.5GB||£305.00||75|
|BT One Phone 10k||10000 minutes||10000 texts||10GB||£445.00||100|
|BT One Phone 12.5k||12500 minutes||12500 texts||12.5GB||£495.00||125|
|BT One Phone 15k||15000 minutes||15000 texts||15GB||£565.00||150|
|BT One Phone 25k||25000 minutes||25000 texts||25GB||£940.00||250|
|BT One Phone 50k||50000 minutes||50000 texts||50GB||£1825.00||250|
|BT One Phone 75k||75000 minutes||75000 texts||75GB||£2665.00||250|
Prices are for 24-month contracts and do not include VAT.
A one-off installation fee may be required, depending on the type of line you have chosen.
There is a £125 fee for a new line or the reactivation of an existing line or £40 for taking over a working line.
If you have a previous supplier, there is no charge to switch your line to BT.
Other charges may include:
- Connection charges
- Repair charges
- Late payment charges
- Reconnection-after-non-payment charges
- Payment processing fee
BT Customer Service and Support
BT has dedicated 24/7 customer help and support that offers live chat, phone, or email services.
Reporting and tracking faults are easy because you can do it online or over the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The provider has 1,800 engineers to fix faults remotely and quickly. They are efficient in minimising downtime to keep your business communications running smoothly.
BT services come with different contract lengths, the shortest option is a 12-month contract, but you can choose contracts for up to 5 years to get a better price.
However early termination charges are steep, so don’t overcommit yourself.
All of the bundles we have covered are subject to early termination charges:
- Termination in the first year of the contract – 100% of the monthly charge due to the end of that year + 50% of the monthly costs due to the end of the contract period.
- Termination in subsequent years of the contract – 50% of the monthly charges due to the end of the contract.
BT Customer Reputation
As the largest supplier of business landline services in the UK, BT must be doing something right.
In Ofcom’s April 2017 review of landline providers, BT sat just above the average for most metrics.
88% of surveyed customers were satisfied with their BT landline service.
BT customer service wait times are low at 1.27 minutes on average.
While not the worst offender, BT had a higher than average complaint rate, at 65 complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 customers.
Complaints were primarily for service quality and billing issues.
These same causes for complaint can be seen in BT’s Trustpilot reviews, where some users complain of unexpected charges on their bills and steep termination fees.
No company is perfect, but BT seems to do a good job most of the time, similar to other providers in the market.
BT compared with competitors.
Here we look at BT’s primary cloud-hosted plan side by side with an alternative from Ring Central, a competitive offering.
For a small business, you will see that BT comes out ahead on total cost.
|Plan Name||BT Cloud Phone Basic*||Ring Central Standard*|
|Monthly cost (per user)||£13.00||£23.99|
|Office phones (per user)||£80.00||£59.99|
|Total 12-month cost (3 users)||£808.00||£1043.61|
Who Should Use BT?
This will be a good option if you are looking for a one-stop shop provider, or if you like to work with a well known and long-standing brand.
BT has excellent options to integrate your landline, mobile and computer systems, so if you are looking for a solution to make your team more efficient and responsive to customer calls, then BT has the answer.
They are knowledgeable if you need to set up a call management system from scratch, as they can offer a range of in-house of cloud-hosted PBX systems.
BT Business Phones Review
Getting a phone system for your business can be a daunting task. However, getting the right one will increase productivity and grow with you. BT offers a range of clever solutions that you can rely on. Having gained the trust of thousands of businesses with their fixed and mobile communications systems, they are the number one communications system provider in the UK.
BT business phone lines should certainly make your short list when choosing the right solution for your team.