British Telecom Review

Reviewed by:  Derek Cromwell

The Gist

BT provides a variety of VoIP solutions for your business to help find the features and services that fit your needs

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BT Highlights

  • Cloud based and on-premises solutions.
  • Plug-n-play cloud based services.
  • No maintenance costs.

Pros

  • Fully hosted cloud-based features.
  • Robust call management features.
  • Automatic call recording.
  • Online and mobile management.

Cons

  • Must pay extra for unlimited UK calls.
  • Best mobile features reserved for enterprise-level plan.

Value For Money 

BT aims to provide an affordable VoIP solution to small business owners with their solution broken into three primary service plans. The basic plan runs £13.00, the mid-range “Connect” plan runs £18.00 and the highest “Collaborate” plan runs £23.00 – the fees are per month, per user for each plan respectively.

For a small business the Basic plan provides sufficient features to operate including groups, logs, auto attendant voicemail, fax call queues, call recording and conferencing. For those who are scaling up their business and need a bit more like CRM integration, the Connect plan is likely the best option. The Collaborate plan provides everything you get in the lower plans with the addition of web and video meetings.

I was disappointed to see a limitation on UK minutes (500) in place on each of the plans alongside an additional connection charge for each plan. The higher tier plans do provide the option to pay for unlimited UK calls but I feel this should be an included value-added benefit – not a premium add-on.

Aside from tiered features, BT offers a standard selection of other benefits including free in-network calls, mobile application and remote management, reporting and a fully hosted cloud-based system that requires no hardware to get started.

Future Scaling 

BT has its plans scaled on the number of seats or users you’ll have on staff. The basic BT Cloud Phone (which encompasses the three plans listed above) is designed for up to 9 users. There is also a BT Voice option if you have 10 or more users, which is more of an enterprise plan, designed and built around the features you need and your staffing.

This allows for a great deal of scalability once you begin to grow beyond the initial roots.

If your business grows exponentially you’ll be happy to know BT also offers more complex, on-premises phone systems that can handle 50+ users. There’s a significant buy-in cost when you bring the hardware on site so you’ll want to work closely with BT to go over hardware options and your needs/expectations to ensure deployment goes off without a hitch.

Ease Of Setup And Management 

With the cloud-based plug-and-play nature of BT there is virtually no hardware configuration other than plugging in your IP phones. You’ll have some software configuration as you set up your call groups, routing, auto-attendant and the like, but there is an extensive knowledge base, FAQ and 24/7 support to help you with your setup.

It’s extremely easy to get started and a great choice for the busy business owner or one with limited technical knowledge. If you’ve ever plugged in a LAN cable and an electrical cord then you know everything you need to know about getting the cloud-based services installed.

Customer Service

Even with simple plug-and-play services there are bound to be issues. Thankfully BT anticipates customer needs and has their service department set up to tackle issues from every angle. Not only do they provide support and engagement via their spectrum of social channels, BT offers support services through email, live chat, service status updates, and a segment knowledgebase categorised by service type and problem

For general support services you can even reach out directly or schedule a call to have a rep reach out to you at your best available time.

Their technical support staff is available 24/7 with one caveat: it’s not free. If you want enhanced support services around the clock you’ll have to pay for it.

Mobility

Even at the most basic level of service, BT provides mobile accessibility. You can take your calls and access most of the VoIP functionality from the mobile application – including management of your entire VoIP system.

For enhanced mobility and true remote access, BT has split that functionality off into a service plan called BT One Phone. This plan is designed to give you the functionality of a desk without being tied to a desk. This ensures that you’ll never miss a call again – which honestly you can get with appropriate configuration of a standard VoIP line so it’s disappointing to see it broken off into a completely separate service plan like this. It’s also geared toward a 15+ employee use plan so you’ll want to weigh the cost/benefit options for utilising the One Phone plan.

To Sum It Up 

BT offers a fair rate with a great list of features ideal for small business owners but their approach to minutes, customer service and mobility makes it feel like they’re trying to work in extra fees for things that a lot of other VoIP services include as standard functionality.

Last Updated:  March, 2016

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