With the advent of new technologies like voice over IP (VoIP) systems of communications, various industries are going through transformations these days. By realizing the numerous advantages VoIP phones have over the traditional voice communication systems, more and more businesses are benefiting by making the switch. With a continuously expanding range of VoIP providers and appealing packages, there are many different types of plans to choose from. So, if you are struggling with this kind of decision yourself, here are the top features you should have in mind when picking a great business VoIP service.
1. Find Me – Follow Me
Modern life means a hectic schedule, multi-tasking, being dynamic and mobile. You don’t have to be a digital nomad to need a Find me – Follow me call routing feature. This feature allows you to take calls from various locations, without giving out a long list of contact details to all your business partners. Say you want people to call you primarily on your office phone, but if you don’t answer within two rings, it can loop in your mobile phone, and if you still don’t pick up, to have the call redirected to your home phone. This is one of the most important features to look for when getting VoIP for small businesses, because you don’t want to miss important calls from clients, your boss, or anyone else relying on you.
2. Auto Attendant
Also known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), the auto attendant allows you to record a welcoming greeting, but also to include a menu with options to reach the different departments within your company. This feature does not replace the need for a receptionist, but it certainly adds a note of professionalism, boosting your business’s credibility, while also improving efficiency.
3. Music on Hold
It might not seem much, but this is a great feature of a business VoIP service. Studies have shown that a third of the callers will hang up when put on a silent hold. You wouldn’t want to miss out on such an overwhelming amount of leads for your business. Besides keeping your callers entertained, it gives you the right place-holder for advertisements and important business messages.
4. Audio and Video Conferencing
Businesses have gone global. They have customers, partners, and employees all over the world. Employees from branches located in different cities and even different countries work together. VoIP providers have the perfect solution for this. The audio and video conferencing feature facilitates communication, while also cutting travel costs, saving time and making things much easier. No need to hop on a plane, waste time on flights, and spend money on hotel rooms for a brainstorming session. Now, you can just set up a conference call and participants from different corners of the world can join in. Want to hire new staff for your branch on a different continent? You can always use the video conference call and you will feel like being in the same room.
5. Voicemail to Email
Are you worried about not always having a pen and piece of paper handy when you need it? Now you have a great alternative. You can let these calls go straight to voicemail. Messages will be sent to your email in an mp3 format so that you can listen when you have the time for it. Moreover, you can always go back and recover all the details in case you feel like you missed something. All voicemail messages are there for you to review until you decide to remove them from your inbox.
6. Call Screening
Do you find that a lot of you or your receptionist’s time is spent answering unwanted calls? Now you don’t have to worry about that. Most VoIP phone systems available come with a call screening feature that will allow you to sort out calls before answering. Just look at the caller’s ID and decide what to do about that call. If it’s a private call, you might want to redirect it to your mobile phone. If that office supplies provider is calling again to convince you to try out their new products, you can disconnect the call all together. If you prefer that one of your employees will take the call, you can easily redirect the call to the respective employee’s extension.
7. Coaching Tools
This usually comes with two options: barge and whisper. On whisper mode, you can just listen to the call between your employee and a customer, and assess in real time how the new employee responds to the customer. You can always switch to barge mode if you want to give your employee tips and prompts without interrupting the call. This is especially important when your employees are dealing with customers on a regular basis and you want to offer a high level of customer support.
8. Bandwidth Utilization Reports
This is an important feature to look for when getting VoIP for small businesses. It allows you to monitor data usage, know what’s going on within your company, and optimize for cost efficiency. A bandwidth utilization report gives you an overview of all the details regarding the call history within your company, rates, calls duration, and costs.
9. Speed Dial and Redial
Speed dialing is a basic feature that many VoIP providers out there offer. Once you have implemented the new communications system, you can train your employees to make the setting and have all the frequently called numbers registered in the speed dial phone book. It saves the time spent looking up numbers, this way increasing efficiency and avoiding human errors. Redial definitely comes in handy when you are in the middle of a conference and the call gets disconnected.
10. Data Integration Linking
This is another great feature that allows the integration between different systems such as a CRM (customer relationship management) system, an inventory database, or a sales cycle system. Data from different sources is used so that when taking the call, your employees can have all information regarding the respective customer on their computer screen, right in front of their eyes. This way, your sales agents are bound to close deals in a shorter span of time, and customer support agents can deal with callers’ issues and requests in a more professional manner.
If you’re interested in more reasons why your business should switch to VoIP, check out this article. If you have comments or questions, leave them in the comments!