What Makes a Good VoIP Provider?

By Emma Lewis, bOnline

With the landline switch-off coming soon, many small business owners are now looking for alternative ways of making and receiving phone calls. 

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) works by providing reliable and high-quality communication services over the internet, rather than using traditional copper landlines. But choosing the right VoIP provider for your business can be daunting. For example, some, like bOnline – specialise solely in small and micro businesses and freelancers, whilst others are focussed more on larger companies or private residents.

We’ve put together this article to offer some guidance in what to look for in a VoIP provider.

Call Quality and Reliability

VoIP calls tend to have much higher quality sound than calls made using landlines or mobile phones. That’s because sound is transferred digitally over the internet in ‘packets’, so there’s less interference. Having said that, you need to make sure your new VoIP provider can offer clear and consistent voice quality, with little risk of delays, disruptions or dropped calls.

Packages and Pricing

A good VoIP provider should have competitive and varied pricing plans to suit your needs. Plans should ideally include call minutes and for small businesses a 12 month contract is often much preferable to a longer one. Check the small print too, in case of any complex billing structures or hidden fees.

International Calling

If your business involves making a lot of international calls, find a provider that offers an international calls package at a fixed monthly price. Calling internationally can be very expensive, but with the right VoIP international call package in place you won’t need to worry. And of course, you’ll save money too.

Range of VoIP Features

VoIP packages tend to come with a range of handy business-friendly features as standard, but not all are the same. As a minimum, you should have access to call forwarding, voicemail, data analytics and hold music to help you manage your calls efficiently.


As your small business grows, you’ll want to scale up. This might involve employing more people or moving premises. In previous years this meant buying more landlines, or transferring the ones you’ve got. But the beauty of VoIP is that you can easily add or remove users yourself, potentially saving a lot of money on separate lines. On top of that, look out for a VoIP provider that supplies you with an online dashboard which you can use on any internet-connected device. This makes it easy to work remotely from your smartphone or tablet, even without a VoIP handset.

Integration and Compatibility

If you’re using other communication software or tools (for example CRM systems), make sure the VoIP system you choose can integrate seamlessly with them. This can streamline workflows and improve efficiency. However, if you’re not too sure, get in touch with their customer service team beforehand to ask.

Ease of Use

Your new VoIP phone system should be intuitive and easy to use so that you can manage the interface yourself without any technical knowledge. Some VoIP providers actually offer a free trial so you can test everything out yourself before taking the plunge.


As mentioned, VoIP isn’t tied to a static phone line and handset but uses the internet to make calls instead. This means it should be accessible from a broad range of devices including smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. It should also be supported by a good mix of operating systems.

Customer Support

Good VoIP providers for small businesses should recognise that not everyone is comfortable with setting up and using VoIP technology (or has the time to). This makes reliable, expert support really important. Multiple ways of getting in touch with the support team should be on offer, including email, chat and phone.

Security and Privacy

Security and privacy are top priorities, especially as VoIP calls are transmitted over the internet. Look for providers that offer encryption and other security features to safeguard your communications.

Reviews and Reputation

A really good way of spotting the ideal VoIP provider for your small business is by reading online reviews. Google reviews and Trustpilot contain user reviews that should give you a feel for things like reliability and customer service.

Time is of the essence as with the landline switch-off approaching, Openreach will no longer sell landlines at all from next month. Remember that what a “good” VoIP provider looks like for your business won’t necessarily be the same as for someone else’s. The key takeaway here is to do your homework and shop around, and where you can get a free VoIP trial it’s worth it. It’s important that you know which features you’ll most use, what your challenges and goals are, and how much you want to spend each month. Only then can you match a VoIP provider to your requirements.