Communication is key in business. Whatever your niche, you need smooth and reliable lines of communication. You need to know that customers or clients can reach you when they need to. You must be able to handle and organize your communications efficiently, which means the systems you have in place for internal and external communications are critical.
When it comes to telephony, more firms are starting to rely on voice over internet protocol (VoIP). You may already know about the overriding cost and convenience benefits VoIP delivers. What you may not realize is that VoIP systems also offer a wide range of advanced features.
It’s those advanced VoIP features that may make such a system a must-have for your business. So let’s look at the extra services and benefits that VoIP could deliver to your firm.
Basic Benefits of VoIP
Before discussing advanced VoIP features, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the basics. In recent years, VoIP has become the most popular telephony choice with US businesses. Across industries, companies are abandoning traditional telecommunications in favor of IP telephony.
The wide-ranging move toward VoIP is due to a range of notable benefits that the tech delivers:
- Lower Costs
VoIP phone systems are cheaper to install and to run for the majority of businesses. When setting up a VoIP system, you don’t need to consider costly extra line rental charges. Call charges are also often cheaper, especially for long-distance calls.
- Accessibility and Mobility
Many VoIP systems are cloud-based. That makes them far more mobile and accessible. They let you make calls from anywhere, as if you were in the office. That type of setup is far more suitable for modern, mobile businesses and is great for managing a remote team working from multiple static IP addresses.
When a business grows, it can be tough to get a traditional telephone system to grow with it. Having extra lines installed is expensive and inconvenient. There’s no such problem with VoIP. The cloud-based systems are infinitely scalable. Expansion often takes little more than a quick chat with a supplier.
Those are only three of the main benefits VoIP holds over traditional telephony. They’re usually enough to persuade many firms to make the switch to VoIP. And even if they weren’t, the advanced feature sets that some of the top VoIP setups boast surely would be.
Advanced VoIP Features to Bolster Your Business
Top VoIP providers offer businesses all-encompassing unified communication systems. Those systems cater to the most sophisticated communications needs. They often include a raft of advanced features to improve business operations. The following are only a selection of the kind of features on offer:
- Call transfer and forwarding
- Call monitoring, recording, and logs
- Audio and video conferencing
- Cloud PBX and automated attendant
- Call screening and auto answering rules
- Visual voicemail, voicemail to email and other integrations
- Hot desking
Call Transfer and Forwarding
Most small businesses don’t have the resources to be on-call 24 hours a day. At least not in a traditional sense. Call transfer and forwarding features of VoIP systems can make it seem like you are.
You can forward calls from one phone to another until the right person can answer. That might be from a desk phone to a cell phone, and then a home phone. You can configure the exact setup to suit you and your business.
Call transfer features are also useful. The best VoIP systems let you transfer active calls between phones or handsets with ease. Gone are the days when you have to hang up on a contact because you need to leave the office. Now you can transfer the call from your desk phone to your cell and pick up right where you left off.
Call Monitoring, Recording, and Logs
Oversight of your staff and the calls they make is vital, particularly if you’re in a regulated field. VoIP systems have a range of advanced features that help to make oversight much simpler.
Many of the top systems boast live call monitoring. That lets you or your compliance manager listen live to calls made or received by your staff. By doing so, you can quickly pick up and correct any mistakes or examples of bad practice.
You can also easily record VoIP calls. Many systems will record calls automatically if you set them up that way. Call recording is useful for training sales or customer service staff, which has become increasingly important in recent years. It lets you play their calls back to them and helps them to improve their technique.
Audio and Video Conferencing
Many big business decisions need input from lots of people and departments. But getting that input through multiple phone calls or email threads is inefficient. That’s why many firms hold regular conference calls.
A top VoIP phone system caters to both audio and video conferencing. They use fast connections to make conferences far more reliable. You don’t get the lagging or dropout issues of a traditional conferencing solution.
VoIP systems are collaborative by nature, which means conferencing can be far more effective. Users are often able to share files, collaborate on calendars, and even share desktops. All those added activities are possible in real-time. That helps boost efficiency and makes sure call participants get the most out of their time.
Cloud PBX and Automated Attendant
A private branch exchange (PBX) is how firms communicate within an office. It’s the system that handles and manages internal calls. The version of PBX offered by VoIP systems is cloud-based. That allows for a far more comprehensive range of features and capabilities.
Cloud PBX can revolutionize a business’s phone system administration. In-depth settings and rules can be easily implemented to improve call management. What’s more, off-site servers host the whole system, so it isn’t subject to power outages or other issues.
VoIP setups also take things one step further with an auto-attendant. These features help even small businesses project an air of professionalism and scale by changing customer service using AI. An attendant routes phone calls automatically and introduces elements like hold music or messages. That ensures callers know that yours is an organization they can trust. It’s also why the feature is often called a virtual receptionist.
Call Screening and Auto Answering Rules
Call screening features give you complete control over who can contact your company. You can set up a VoIP system to block certain numbers or make sure specific callers always get through to you. That way, you have control over how and when you deal with different clients or contacts.
With some systems, it’s possible to create even more complex auto-answering rules. These are rules that define how to manage particular calls at different times of the day, week, or year.
For instance, you may have a crucial client who you must answer whenever they call. You could set an answering rule to divert their call to your cell if they ever call out of business hours. On the other hand, you may have an overeager supplier who calls on your direct line. You could then set a rule to divert their call to the relevant department automatically.
Visual Voicemail, Voicemail to Email, and Other Integration
It’s far simpler to integrate VoIP setups with other systems than it is a traditional phone network. VoIP is cloud-based and often relies on desktop or mobile apps. That means the systems can integrate natively with workstations, email, and other services.
Visual voicemail is an excellent example of a feature born out of such integration. Rather than having to manage voicemail on a phone handset, you can access and handle it on a PC. Voicemail to email, meanwhile, lets you have voicemails sent to an email address. That makes it far easier to listen and respond to messages on the go.
If you have lots of staff who make or receive calls as a central part of their job, they’re going to want to set up their phone in a certain way. They may wish to set unique extensions and to record a personal voicemail message. Such settings can tie a worker to one specific phone.
With a VoIP system, that’s no longer the case. Hot desking features are often provided by the best of those systems. Those features let staff access their specific settings on any phone or device as long as the device connects to the overall VoIP setup. They may not even need to be at your main premises to still have a phone automatically set up as they want it.
Future-proof Features to Improve Your Business Operations
When you transition your business communications to VoIP, you’re doing far more than changing your mode of making phone calls. You’re opening up your commercial communications to a whole host of new features. Those features can help you, your staff and client to communicate and collaborate better. And working better is something to aim for as issues experienced are shared quickly, particularly via social media. Understanding your brand presence online through social listening can help identify what are the main problems that are occuring.
The advanced VoIP features described here can help take your business to a whole new level. They let any firm project professionalism and scale to their customers. By taking advantage of these advanced features, you’re future-proofing your communications. There’s no doubt that VoIP is the telephony of the future.