bOnline specialises in providing small businesses with communication services that are fast and easy to set up and use. Currently focused on providing VoIP phone systems and full-fibre (FTTP) broadband, this fast-growing company is already trusted by over 50,000 businesses nationwide. bOnline’s services have gained widespread recognition, including awards from Startups.co.uk, Comms Council UK and the Growing Business Awards, plus top ratings from TrustPilot, Techradar and many others.
Much of the company’s success can be attributed to its refreshing attitude towards supporting its customers, described well by this strapline on its website: “made for business owners, not IT wizards.” bOnline is challenging the market with its enterprise-grade and cost-effective technology aimed specifically at freelancers and small businesses— without lengthy contracts, hidden costs. Casey Solomon, Head of Marketing: “We provide our customers with an affordable digital-first solution to help them grow and succeed. Many traditional telecom companies have neglected small businesses, but we have changed that by designing something just for their needs.”
Casey continues, “Our customers are not just looking to save costs and just a line rental: they appreciate features that help them run their businesses more efficiently. For instance, we enable them to handle multiple calls at once, with a simple call flow where a professional message is played, and if there is more than one person, routing calls to whoever is available.”
As well as features and pricing, a big bonus is bOnline’s approach to service provision, reducing the time and effort involved for its customers. “We are one of the few providers in the UK from which you can get a business phone number in two minutes and be making calls two minutes later: without having to speak with us.” As well as making life easier for small businesses, this approach helps bOnline continue its impressive growth: it is currently bringing on anywhere between 1,300-1,800 new customers per month.
Self-service enabled by Enreach’s API
The secret to this rapid customer onboarding is bOnline’s self-service portal, created in-house, emphasising a simple user experience. The portal acts as a dashboard for customers. By being directly connected to Enreach’s unified communications (UC) platform, customers can make and receive calls in just a few minutes. This is made possible by Enreach’s open API approach, which was one reason why bOnline selected the platform above the competition.
Robert Akehurst, Head of Product, confirms, “Enreach’s API integration is one example of how it can help us build a next-generation solution. We were looking for a forward-looking partner who, like us, is always looking to improve and innovate and can achieve things in a fast and flexible way. That was important for us because we continually gather customer feedback and data analytics from 10+ sources to improve our offering on a weekly basis .”
Casey: “The problem with other technology vendors is that everything can take a long time, and they cannot work around our requirements. Enreach has been able to help us get moving very quickly and has helped us build an amazing product for our business customers. They can also iterate fast and keep up with us as we make improvements.”
Moving away from tradition
However, bOnline had not used Enreach from the start, as Robert explains: “When we started a couple of years ago, we were using a well-known cloud UC product. So provisioning each customer could take about two days in total.”
Casey adds, “It was a manual process involving us talking to the platform provider and giving them a list of names to upload. It wasn’t very user-friendly at all, especially with our business model of signing up so many new users a month. So we needed a zero-touch solution.”
Robert continues, “So, we started to look at how we could automate that process and evaluated what the incumbent vendor and others could provide. Enreach not only had the infrastructure we need, but it also demonstrated some of the new features coming along, especially those that enhance the user experience, something which is very important to us.”
“Since we have been with Enreach and used the API integration for our automated service provisioning, customer onboarding has come down from two days to just two minutes for each customer to get set up. Also, we have added other tools so that via the dashboard, customers can log in and administer their accounts themselves. Our users don’t have an IT department, and they want to set up their telecoms in their own time and quickly. So we give them a solution where they are in control and can make changes in a very user-friendly, fast way.”
Always seeking ways to improve what it delivers to customers is part of bOnline’s DNA, and it continues to collaborate with Enreach to add new features and explore new options. For instance, enhancements to call recording are something currently being investigated, but looking further ahead, integration with other forms of contact beyond voice — such as messaging apps — and mobile services are on the radar when the time is right.
As Casey points out, “We aim to give customers what they are asking for, and every day we analyse what they are contacting our team about, then review that feedback and consider if we can turn those into self-service options for them.”
bOnline’s ambition is to be not just the number one telephony provider in the UK but across Europe too, and is forecast to reach 100,000 business customers by the end of 2023. This may sound like an ambitious target for such a young company, but with its track record so far and its current growth trajectory, looks undoubtedly achievable, particularly with the support of Enreach’s future-facing, flexible and innovative platform.
This case study was published on Comms Business