At the heart of every modern business’ infrastructure is efficient and reliable communications, and one of the most vital tools for any company is an effective phone system.
With recent digital developments the office phone is now a very sophisticated device, with features that extend far beyond the capabilities of the traditional single purpose telephone. We’ve listed ten of the most useful business phone features for small to medium companies below.
1. Auto Attendant
This feature allows you to record a voice menu offering the caller a variety of options to direct their call. The caller can then select the department or specific individual they need to speak to. With the inception of VoIP, this feature can be enjoyed by most businesses and you can usually get this feature for free from most providers. Having an auto-attendant saves you time, money and allows you to handle your incoming calls more efficiently.
2. Music on Hold
If your company has to put callers on hold, this feature is a necessity. This prevents your clients from getting bored, irritated or frustrated whilst waiting for a person to pick up the phone; just make sure someone will answer the phone within a few minutes and do not subject your callers to tedious lift music. Large companies sometimes opt to broadcast their adverts, turning this feature into a powerful marketing tool.
3. Conference Call
An important feature for growing or international businesses, conference calling allows three or more people to have a conversation over the phone. Most phone systems allow this to be quickly and easily set up making it a valuable addition for any company.
4. Caller ID
Displaying the phone number and name of the person that the phone is registered to of an incoming call sounds like a simple tool but it can be a very useful feature in a busy working environment. The feature will allow you to filter or direct calls and if you’re using a VoIP system, users can whitelist or blacklist specific telephone numbers or entities, just as is commonly done with e-mail, so that unwanted calls do not reach the user.
5. Call Screening
This feature allows you to look at the caller ID and choose how to treat it. For example, if you are receiving a personal call, you can redirect the number to your mobile phone. If however it’s a company that keeps trying to sell you something you do not want, you can disconnect them.
6. Automatic call forwarding
This feature will allow you to create a list of numbers where you can be found before the call gets pushed to voicemail. For example, you might have your office phone ring three times, but on the fourth ring, the caller will be transferred to your mobile, and if you don’t pick up after two more rings, the call might go to your home phone or anther phone. If the list gets exhausted, the caller will be sent to voicemail. This will allow calls to be picked up regardless of the working location; whether your employees are on the road, on holiday or working from another location and is not restricted to during working hours as it can also be used to redirect calls to a number, or to a dedicated voicemail outside of business hours.
Voicemail is a feature that everyone encounters on a regular basis. For a business this feature can be particularly useful out of hours or when phones are busy. Ensure your voicemail message is professional and engaging (identify you and your business and leave clear instructions) to ensure you are able to follow up.
8. Monitoring and Recording
An important feature that will help you track work rates among your staff, investigate customer service levels and research into complaints made about phone conversations. These recordings can be important in training new staff and allow you to easily monitor how many calls coming in are answered and how many outgoing calls are made.
9. Training tools
This function works well if you’re looking to train and improve your employees on the phone. Instead of giving your employees advice after they’ve hung up the phone, you can give them advice while they’re on the call. Two features can help you train and monitor your employees’ on-phone performance: barge and whisper. Barge allows you to listen to a conversation between an employee and a client without interrupting. Whisper allows you to provide advice, tips, and information to your employees while they are on the phone with a client without the client being aware.
10. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
CTI is a set of technologies for integrating and managing computers and telephone systems. In other words, it is the use of computers to manage telephone calls. It often involves using the personal computer (PC) to initiate and manage phone calls or redirect calls to a particular department within the business.
If you would like to upgrade to a phone system which has these features or simply want to see if they can be added to your exiting phone system, please fill in our short phone system assessment or call us on 01202 70 50 30