Three Features that all the Best VoIP Phone Systems Provide

Posted on: 2017-08-15 | Categories:SIP

VoIP phone systems have come a long way in the past decade. The underlying technology has improved so much that most people cannot differentiate between a VoIP and regular PSTN call. But not all VoIP systems are equal when it comes to value or functionality. Some systems have a few good features while the rest is ignored. Others are pretty average across the board. Only a handful can claim the distinction of being the best in their class.

The VoIP provider market has many segments – some vendors cater specifically to small and medium businesses, others provide systems to large multinational corporations. In each segment there are a few providers who make it to the list of best VoIP phone systems. As their target market is not the same, each vendor focuses on different features.

But there are a few must-have features that all the best VoIP phone systems provide. It doesn’t matter if they target small businesses or a specific industry. If they are any good, they will have these tools in their service portfolio.

Unified Messaging

In an enterprise environment, simplicity rules. Before IP-based phone systems arrived on the scene, companies had to maintain separate networks for different types of communication channels. Faxing required distinct phone lines, fax machines, paper and other paraphernalia. Retrieving voicemail meant that you had to call a number and listen to messages one by one. Email was delivered to your computer and/or mobile devices. Most employees spent the first hour or two of the day checking on their various inboxes.

The best VoIP phone systems provide unified messaging across the board. In most cases, the email inbox becomes the one-stop shop for checking voicemail, faxes, email and even instant messages. Employees can receive and send faxes as attachments from their email inbox. The user decides which faxes need printing and which can stay in digital format. You can get rid of fax machines altogether and reduce paper/ink usage.

Voicemail messages are transcribed and sent to the inbox as well. Traditional systems often had a time limit on voicemail messages because it’s tiring to listen to long winded voicemails. But do you really want to cut off a customer in the middle of a sentence? With VoIP and visual voicemail, users can read long messages without issues. The unified inbox brings everything together in one place – saving time, eliminating room for mistakes and improving productivity.

Auto Attendant

With the growing popularity of VoIP phone systems, auto attendant has become a necessity for businesses. Any organization that does not have some form of auto attendant comes across as unprofessional. Auto attendant makes sure that incoming calls are answered in some fashion. Suppose your staff is busy or your business is closed for the day. But you can still greet callers with an automated message and route them to the appropriate department or send them to voicemail.

An auto attendant serves the same function as a receptionist at the front desk. They can route callers to the appropriate department and guide customers through an automated directory. It can play messages like business hours, location, sales notification etc. that are appropriate to different types of situations. You can program the auto attendant to answer simple inquiries such as billing amount, account information and so on.

Comprehensive Call Routing Options

These actually a whole bunch of features that you can combine as needed. Users can set up call forwarding rules so customers are directed to a coworker, an assistant or managers. This can be useful when an employee is on vacation, working on site or otherwise away from their desk. Find me, follow me is another feature that is a must have for staff members with multiple devices. Workers can set it up so that all devices ring at once or each device rings one at a time until you answer the call. When everything fails, callers go to voicemail. These features ensure that the majority of callers can speak to a person and don’t have to leave messages.

The best VoIP systems also provide hunt groups. This feature is very important for certain departments such as tech support, customer service or sales. You can configure hunt groups in one of two ways. One option is that all phones in a group ring at once so that someone answers the call. Or you can direct the caller to the first available extension. If no one answers the call, it is then sent to the next extension and so on. Hunt groups are useful in situations where it doesn’t matter which particular person answers the call. All that matters is that you answer the customer query.

The exact features that you are looking for in a VoIP phone system depend on your specific requirements. But these three features are a must have in today’s business environment. So make sure your provider offers them before signing up.