20 Oct Essential Features for Office Phone Systems
If you’re starting a new business, moving office or expanding you may need to consider upgrading your office phone systems, but how can you know which features are essential?
You don’t want to be sold a bundle of hyper sophisticated features that aren’t relevant to your businesses size or services but with all the technical terms floating around it can be tough for business owners to dissect helpful information from the jargon.
Pescado are business telecoms experts and we are here to support you in finding the perfect office phone systems for your needs. We have created this helpful mini guide to aid business owners in their research.
What constitutes as essential features for office phone systems depends very much on your business set up and your goals for the future, so we have compiled two lists.
The first covers some of the most well known, desired features for smaller businesses’ phone systems and the second list covers more sophisticated essential features for larger companies.
Essential Features for Office Phone Systems – The Basics
1) Sound Quality: Good sound quality seems like such a simple feature but one that is frequently overlooked by businesses. It can make such a big difference to the customer experience if you have great, reliable sound quality. It is important to check sound quality on head-sets, conferencing features and all extensions.
2) Automated Attendant: This is a great feature for any business. Sometimes your office will be shut or staff will not available but you still want to appear professional and attainable to your clients. An automated attendant is an excellent stand in receptionist and can come with a range of customisable features such as touch-tone options routing to specific extensions.
3) Hunt Group: Most businesses want to be able to take more than one call without clients being put to voicemail or have multiple points in the office to answer from. Hunt Group allows several extensions to ring simultaneously or the call is auto routed to the first available extension.
4) Microphone Muting: A useful tool for enhancing privacy for your team and clients. Not only is this helpful when you want to ask your colleagues a question or explain a situation without the caller on the line hearing but it can also aid in reducing background noise during conference calls.
5) Call Forwarding: Most businesses of any size will find it advantageous to be able to easily forward a call to their colleagues, directors, remote worker on a mobile or even integrate into a Hunt Group system so you can forward the caller to the first free extension.
6) Headset Enabled: Hands free headsets let your staff take calls while working. They can easily look up information for clients, customers or colleagues comfortably while still on the phone without having to put anyone on hold as they have free hands.
7) Speed Dial: Speed dialling saves staff time and means you don’t need to remember or look up the number for people you frequently call.
8) Redial: This is a great feature even for everyday users as well as businesses. You would want to be able to quickly redial an unknown number if the call was disconnected for some reason. Most modern phones come with a version of this feature built in.
9) Music on Hold: Some people view call music as tacky but it is very useful for letting the client know they have not been disconnected and that you know they are still on the line waiting for an answer. It offers reassurance that the call will be dealt with rather than just silence during a longer hold period.
10) Conferencing: It is very useful to have a conferencing feature in office phone systems. Conferencing allows multiple extensions to connect to a call so that you can have a multi person discussion. Most phone systems will have a limit to the number of extensions that can connect and some very basic systems only allow two extensions to connect so always enquire about this functionality to your business telecoms provider.
Essential Features for Office Phone Systems – More Features for Bigger Businesses
1) Toll Free or Local Phone Numbers: Intelligent office phone systems from expert telecoms providers allow you to set up toll free and local numbers for a variety of areas. This is helpful for businesses of varying sizes and industries because it has a big impact on whether customers decide to call you.
2) Time Based Routing: If you have multiple offices serving various locations you may have them operating on different opening hours. Time based routing lets you route calls to various locations based on the time of day or night.
3) Mobility Features: When you have a workforce who are constantly on the go you want them to have all the functionality they need right at their finger tips. Many modern VoIP phone systems offer high quality, flexible mobility features such as twinning. Mobile twinning lets your remote workers receive business calls on a mobile device, transfer calls to mobile easily via desk phone and place outgoing business calls from mobile. These mobility features are also often known as “find me/ follow me”. Other powerful mobility features that will help your workforce are click-to-dial call control and on-phone corporate directories.
4) Unified Messaging: How simple would your life be if you could get multiple types of messages all to one inbox? With unified messaging your business could have staff receiving voicemails on the handset while a .WAV file of the message is delivered direct to their email and a SMS notification alert also. This is especially useful for remote workers who are on the go.
5) Integrated Instant Messaging: Help your staff collaborate better by choosing integrated instant messaging. When integrated with all staff calendars and phone systems it enables everyone to keep track of each other’s availability in real time. This means you can see if your colleagues are in a meeting or already on a call. A great choice if you have a large workforce who need to keep track of each other.
6) Do Not Disturb Features: This is ideal for busy staff who attend a lot of meetings. You can ensure all calls will be rejected while you are in a meeting.
7) Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR): This is a fantastic essential feature for larger business, especially highly technical companies. If you are a large tech or digital business and you want to leave a good impression to your clients IVR can help to achieve this. Many modern IVR features are highly accurate and can route callers to the correct person with fast connections.
8) Integration with CRM: Office phone systems integrated with your company’s CRM can make your staff more efficient. You can gain helpful features like caller ID, click-to-call and access to call settings all as pop up on your screen.
9) Video Calling: It is increasingly popular for clients to prefer video conference calls. Many advanced phone systems will easily integrate video calling.
10) Monitor, Whisper, Barge and Record Functionality: Integration between office phone systems and computers has opened up a whole new realm of possibility. Monitor features let a staff member listen to a call while neither party involved in the call can hear them. Whisper features allow your staff to listen in on a call and speak so that their colleague involved in the call can hear them but the external client cannot. Barge features enable staff to join an in-progress call where both previous participants in the call would be able to hear you. This is a great conference call feature with more control as it can be implemented at anytime in the call without being invited. Record simply allows two-way recording of a phone call and the audio file is then saved to your network server for review at a later date.
What is the no 1 most essential feature for office phone systems in businesses of any size?
Well the answer to this is actually quite easy. Every phone system no matter how simple or complex should be easy to upgrade and expand. Businesses grow, change their services, downsize and evolve in many ways and so should their office phone systems. You don’t want to pay for features you don’t need or have limited functionality as you become larger. Your business phone systems should grow with you. Our golden piece of advice is to always choose an office phone system with easy expansion so you can quickly incorporate new features as and when you need them.
Pescado provide a variety of cost effective office phone systems, including VoIP phone systems, SIP phone systems and traditional business landlines. For help finding the right office phone system please call our dedicated staff on 033 000 22 000.