Modern business phone systems have gone far beyond desk phones and PBX-powered call routing. They offer a wide array of features to increase efficiency and productivity.
Until a few years ago, many an office worker dreamed of having a personal assistant to transcribe calls, getting instant data on any conversation, or even taking business calls wherever they were – at their desk, on their commute, or at home.
With the advent of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, which routes calls over the internet rather than traditional phone lines, all of this has become possible. Your business can take advantage of these VoIP features and benefits.
No longer limited by analog technology, phone applications are now available on any device with an internet connection. Simultaneously, a plethora of advanced features have been developed to save users time and headaches.
However, the precise set of productivity features available with a business VoIP system varies between providers. Writing this post to give you an idea of which important VoIP features to look out for when choosing a VoIP business phone service, here are ten of the most useful.
VoIP Features and Benefits for Business
Learn the numerous voice over IP benefits or voice over IP features that your business can take advantage of.
1. Advanced Call Management
As the name suggests, advanced call management helps you stay on top of calls. You can prioritize incoming calls, put them on hold, route them to other extensions, or block them altogether.
Advanced call routing lets a business automate the handling of incoming calls. Calls can be routed according to the type of caller (from potential customers to business partners), call purpose, staff availability, or even the individual performance records of agents. It saves team members time, and callers appreciate not being forwarded several times.
Moreover, this VoIP feature also allows you to set up anonymous call rejection. Many calls are time wasters: From robocalls to crank calls, these block your lines, keep your team busy, and take resources away from real customers who actually need help or are interested in your offers. Call rejection features prevent anonymous calls and those from blacklisted IDs.
2. Advanced Auto Attendants
Advanced auto attendants, also known as virtual receptionists, help answer and route incoming calls, saving the need for a human receptionist.
Basic auto-attendant features like pre-recorded messages are standard for VoIP. Some even let callers choose from a selection of hold music – to save them from having to listen to Carleton’s Opus No. 1 or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for the umpteenth time.
More extensive features include multi-level auto-attendants, customizable greetings, and the possibility of routing multiple numbers. Especially during times of high call volumes, this can be a saving grace.
3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Many customers are already irritated before they even start talking to a company representative. That is because they just spent ages on hold or – worse – drudging through an endless menu of choices. Let’s be honest, after the fourth round of “Press one for …”, anyone’s patience wears thin.
Interactive Voice Response helps prevent this.
Instead of waiting and listening to know which buttons to press, callers just state the purpose of their call in their own words. Voice recognition technology – powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning – analyzes that statement, matches it to the lines available, and routes the call immediately.
4. Voicemail to Email or Voicemail to Text
After you’ve been out of office – whether for business trips or vacations – you’ll often spend quite some time listening to voicemail to catch up with what happened while you were gone.
Voicemail-to-email and voicemail-to-text eliminate this arduous process.
As the names suggest, these VoIP functionalities automatically transcribe voicemails and send them to your email or chosen messaging platform, along with call specs like caller ID and the time of the call.
You can then choose to respond to the call or file it away for future reference.
5. Call Recording and Transcription
VoIP Phone systems can’t just transcribe voicemail – they can do the same for entire conversations.
Thanks to the same voice recognition technology that powers IVR, calls can be automatically recorded, transcribed, and filed away – in real-time, if necessary.
This creates a virtual paper trail useful for follow-ups or in the case of disputes.
Moreover, it can also help you nurture relationships with both potential and existing customers since you can easily refer back to what exactly was said on earlier calls.
6. Find Me and Follow Me
When a business call comes in over VoIP, it will find you no matter where you are.
Not only are VoIP phone services available on any internet-enabled device, but find-me-follow-me also takes it another step further.
Apart from other VoIP features, it will try all your numbers to make sure that important calls reach you. You’re on your annual vacation or on a business trip, but a crucial call from the CEO, a distress signal from a business partner, or a vital request from an important client comes in?
Find-me-follow-me will make sure you can take it.
7. (Real-time) Analytics
A huge advantage of VoIP phone systems is that they can deliver in-depth insights into all types of calls, callers, and the agents handling them.
Call metrics such as the time of the call, its duration, as well as the behavioral trends of callers and their locations are recorded and analyzed. If call transcription is enabled, calls will also automatically be parsed for important information such as the subject of a call, the time it took to resolve an issue, and final caller satisfaction.
Powered by AI and machine learning, this functionality delivers invaluable data. This information helps you improve customer relationships and evaluate the performance of company representatives.
8. CRM Integration
One of the VoIP features that boost the understanding of customers is the capability to integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. These systems – for instance, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, or HubSpot – store staggering amounts of customer data all in one place.
By connecting your VoIP service to your CRM, you can unify your information basis. In one glance, you’ll be able to see a customer’s purchasing history, their visits to your website, their response to your email marketing campaigns, and their call behavior.
All this will help you streamline customers’ journeys, improve personalization, and increase conversion rates.
9. Voice and Video Conferencing
Especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, conference calls are essential to business communication.
Many VoIP services include voice and video conferencing. In terms of call quality, stability, and security, especially, VoIP services are better suited to business purposes than videoconferencing-only platforms such as Zoom or Skype.
Often, VoIP services also offer conference bridges. This feature allows conference calls with dozens – or even hundreds – of internal and external participants. To join them, participants simply dial in through a dedicated number.
10. Caller ID Management
Finally, VoIP phone services enable advanced control over caller IDs – both incoming and outgoing calls.
As mentioned above, incoming calls can be blocked on the basis of caller ID. In the same way, VoIP Phone systems can also prioritize calls. If an important client is calling, VoIP systems can allow them to jump the queue.
On the other hand, companies can also manage the IDs of their outgoing calls. In the age of the smartphone, most call recipients will first glance at their screen before answering a call. A trustworthy, transparent ID makes it much more likely that they’ll pick up.
The Bottom Line
The set of features that business VoIP services put at users’ disposal is extensive, and can quickly become overwhelming when choosing a provider.
The list above will help you to prioritize the VoIP features most useful to your business, to narrow down your search.
Finding the right provider for VoIP phone systems for your business will take some time and research. However, with the broad offer available on the market, and the massive advances in VoIP technology, you’re sure to find the perfect fit.