21 February 2024

What Features Does Your Business Phone System Require?

By Ronald Smith

In this modern age, finding the right phone system for your business can be a confusing task. With a myriad of options available, it can be challenging to determine what features are essential for your needs. But fret not, my friend! I’m here to help you make sense of it all.

First and foremost, let’s talk about your communication needs. How do you wish to connect with your customers, partners, and colleagues? Do you require the ability to make and receive phone calls? Do you need the convenience of voicemail and call forwarding? These basics are the foundation of any phone system, so be sure not to overlook them.

But wait, there’s more! Depending on the nature of your business, you may also want to consider additional features. For instance, if you’re constantly on the go, a mobile application that allows you to make and receive calls from your smartphone can be a game-changer. Similarly, if you have a remote team, features like audio and video conferencing can greatly enhance collaboration.

Security is another vital aspect to consider. In this digital age, protecting sensitive conversations and data is of utmost importance. Look for phone systems that offer encryption and secure connections to safeguard your business’s information.

Furthermore, think about scalability. As your business grows, your phone system should have the flexibility to grow with it. Consider whether the system allows for easy expansion or the addition of new lines without causing unnecessary disruption.

Lastly, don’t forget about customer support. No matter how robust a phone system is, there may come a time when you need assistance. Look for providers that offer reliable and responsive customer support to ensure any issues are promptly addressed.

In conclusion, when choosing a business phone system, it’s crucial to assess your communication needs, explore useful features for your specific business, prioritize security, consider scalability, and ensure excellent customer support. Armed with this knowledge, finding the perfect phone system becomes a breeze. Happy hunting!

What Features Does Your Business Phone System Require?

If you’re working from a home office or on-site, you need a phone system that’s a perfect fit for you.

A perfect-fit phone system is one that has the features you need right now, and it’s also prepared for the features you might need in the future.

Contents

Why Phone System Features Are So Important

Phone system features are really important, you know. Even the most basic home phones have common features like caller ID, an answering machine, and volume control.

But if you want to step up your game and be more professional, you need better features. Let’s say you’re working from home and using a regular home phone – do you just want to place the phone on a counter when you have a customer on the line? I don’t think so!

Let’s explore the cool stuff. Phones with cool features don’t cost much more than the basic desk phone. It’s better to get all the features you can, than to wish you had them later and have to buy another phone system.

40 Awesome Phone System Features

Here’s a list of what we think are the top 40 phone system features. There are many more features available, but we’ve handpicked the ones that we believe are most helpful for small business owners.

1. ACD System

An ACD system means that the phone can give callers options through a voice menu. For example, you can press one for the sales team or press two for the marketing team.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Imagine receiving a message on your computer, telling you that a program is making an App run faster. The same thing happens with your phone. Inside the phone’s technology, there’s a way to speed up a process automatically.

3. Audio Paging

You can make an announcement and have it play out loud. For example, you might say John, please pick up Line 1. Audio paging lets you create an announcement, save and listen to it before playing it.

4. Auto Attendant

An auto attendant is like having a digital receptionist. It’s a voice menu system that helps people navigate through options, just like a receptionist would in person.

5. Automated Phone Directory

Let’s talk about some cool phone features. First, we have something called an Auto Attendant. It’s like a menu that takes you to different options when you call. But there’s something even better – an automated phone directory. Instead of just choosing a department, you can actually choose a person! All the names are stored in the directory, but remember, it can have different amounts of people in it.

6. Caller ID

Now let’s talk about Caller ID. When someone calls you, their phone number and name show up on your phone.

7. Phone Call Queue

When calls come into a company, the callers hear a message and are put in a queue or line. They’re told what position they’re in, and they get to listen to music while they wait. For example, they might hear something like thank you for calling. You’re currently the third person in line.

8. Click and Drag Configuration

9. Make Calls with a Click

With this cool feature, I can use the internet to connect with someone without having to physically dial their number. It’s all done with just a click!

10. Set Up Conference Calls

I love this feature, especially when I can’t meet my team in person. It’s important to be able to join conference calls and communicate professionally, especially when I’m working from my home office.

11. Find People by Name

Now I can listen to a directory and easily leave a message for a specific person. What’s even better is that some phone systems allow me to send the message to both the person I’m looking for and a general mailbox. That way, I can cover all my bases, even if the person is out sick or on vacation.

12. Standout Ringing

In some office phone setups, there are multiple lines for incoming calls. Each line has its own unique ring, like a single ring, two quick rings, or a triple ring. This is a really cool feature, especially for a home office. You can assign different lines for different purposes – one for work-related calls from suppliers, another for customers, and a third for friends and family.

13. No Interruptions

When you activate this feature, it means that all incoming calls will be sent straight to your voicemail. That way, you can focus on what you’re doing without any interruptions.

14. Amazing Real-Time Data

So, I want to tell you about this cool thing called an add-on for office phone systems with multiple lines and phone numbers. It’s called analytics and it’s super useful for company owners like me. With this add-on, I can check out how many calls came in on each line. See, each line has its own phone number, which makes it really convenient. Now, let me explain how this awesome marketing tool works.

Imagine a company like mine wants to advertise in different places. We might put ads on social media, a billboard, and in a magazine. But instead of using just one phone number for all the ads, we use different phone numbers for each one. This way, we can see which type of advertising is getting the most response. It’s like a secret code to figure out what’s working and what’s not!

15. Fax Sending Abilities

Ah, remember those old days when the sound of a fax machine filled the room? Well, things have changed a lot since then, but people still send and receive faxes. Now you can even send a fax from your mobile phone, thanks to this cool third-party mobile app. It’s like magic! And guess what? You can also send faxes using VoIP systems. Oh, and don’t worry, a business phone system can still have a good ol’ fax setup if you prefer the traditional way.

16. Forwarding Phone Calls

Did you know that you can easily forward an incoming call on most phones? It’s true! And I’ll show you how.

First, the steps might be a little different depending on your phone, but in general, you can either press #72 or 72# to start the forwarding process. Then, listen for a dial tone and enter the phone number where you want the call to go. Easy, right?

But you know what’s even easier? Having call forwarding as a quick and ready option on your phone. With just a few taps, you can forward calls to other colleagues or even direct them to your mobile phone. That way, you’ll never miss an important call, no matter where you are.

17. Keeping an Eye on Fraud

Did you know that calls made over the internet can be monitored to detect fraud? It’s true! This is a crucial capability for businesses to ensure that they’re protected from any suspicious activity.

By using fraud detection software and risk management software, companies can keep a close watch on their calls and quickly identify any potential fraudulent behavior. This helps them take immediate action and maintain the security of their phone systems.

18. Bring Everyone Together with Group Phone Calls

Want to have a phone call with multiple people at once? Well, with the magic of group phone calls, you can do just that!

Whether you need to collaborate with your team or have a family discussion, group phone calls make it easy for everyone to join in. No need for everyone to be in the same room or even the same city. Just dial in, and you’re all connected!

Let’s talk about conference calls. It’s like a big phone call where lots of people join in. Instead of just one person, it’s a group of people or employees. We use it to connect groups of people who are working together as a team.

19. Using a Headset

If you’re on a call, it’s important to use a headset. Using a headset does more than just free up your hands to write or work while you listen and respond. It also helps block background noise, so you can focus better.

20. Sending Instant Messages

Have you heard of instant messaging? It’s when you send text messages right away. You can do it on your phone or on the internet. You can even use it with VoIP systems!

21. Enjoying Music on Hold

22. Interactive Voice Recognition

Imagine this – you call someone, and they know who you are just by hearing your voice! That’s what Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) does. Beforehand, your voice is recorded, and when you call, the phone system recognizes your voice automatically. But wait, there’s more! IVR can also respond to a specific code you type on the keypad. This is super helpful for businesses that deal with sensitive information like finances and healthcare.

23. International Calling

Let me tell you a secret to save money when making international calls. If you and the person you’re calling are both licensed to use Microsoft (one in the US and one overseas), you can call each other using a special program. It’s like magic! And there’s more – some VoIP systems offer a flat, low rate for international calls, which means you can talk for as long as you want without worrying about high costs.

24. Linked Sites

25. Muting Microphones

Some phones have a button to mute the microphone, but this feature is more common on headsets. When you mute the microphone, it simply turns it off.

Muting the microphone has a couple of advantages. For example, you may be listening to someone but don’t want them to hear any noises from your home or workplace. It gives you some privacy.

26. Support for Multiple Devices – Connect to Mobile Phones

This is often called Twinning, and it’s an interesting concept. Twinning is like weaving because you’re combining a mobile phone and a desk phone.

Why would you do that? Well, Twinning allows you to make and receive calls on both devices. It also lets you access information from the desk phone, like a company directory, on your mobile phone.

27. Corporate Directory on Your Phone

Did you know that a digital receptionist can help you find the right person to talk to? It’s true! With certain office phone systems, you can easily access a corporate or company directory right from your own phone.

This nifty feature can really make a difference when it comes to efficiency. Let me give you an example. Imagine I work at a car dealership, and I’m on the phone with a customer who’s interested in buying a new car. They want to speak with someone from the sales department. I know that two salespeople are currently busy on the lot, but luckily there’s a third salesperson available. By using the company directory, I can seamlessly transfer the call and ensure that the customer’s lead isn’t lost. It’s this kind of knowledge that helps workers like me be more efficient.

28. Phone Call Forwarding

Did you know that you can redirect a call to another location or employee? Pretty cool, right? You can even redirect calls from your office phone to your cell phone. It’s super convenient when you’re leaving work!

29. Recording of Calls

Now, recording calls without someone’s knowledge is definitely not okay. But there are times when it can be really useful. For example, lawyers and reporters might need to record calls with the consent of both parties involved.

30. Redial

Ever wanted to quickly call back the last number that dialed you? With the redial feature, you can! It comes in handy when you need to connect with someone again. Some phones even let you redial the three most recent callers. Pretty neat, huh?

31. Remote Phone Use

32. Routing of Incoming Calls to Any Device

Did you know that you can set up your phone to send incoming calls to different phone numbers? It’s really cool! This feature is called call routing, and it’s super handy for businesses like yours.

Imagine you’re running a heating and AC technician service. So, when you’re not available, the first trouble call can go to your chosen number, the next one to a different number, and so on. Isn’t that neat?

33. Screening of Calls

Guess what? You have the power to screen your calls! How cool is that? With caller ID, you can see who’s calling before you even answer. But wait, there’s more! You can also screen calls using a VoIP phone system or a service platform like Nextiva.

Speaking of Nextiva, they offer this awesome feature called call screening and blocking as part of their business phone service and unified communications system. So you can keep unwanted calls at bay and focus on the ones that matter!

34. Screen Sharing

I have exciting news! We now have a fantastic new feature called screen sharing. This means that I can show you what I’m looking at on my computer screen, whether you’re one person or a whole group. It’s going to be a game-changer for our teamwork!

Let me explain why this feature is so important, especially for businesses like ours that deal with charts and numbers. Screen sharing is like a customer service superpower. It allows us to share information and collaborate more effectively, making our work even better!

35. Secondary Ringer

Now, I want to introduce you to another awesome feature we have: the secondary ringer. This feature is handy because it ensures that incoming calls don’t go unnoticed, even if someone is away from their main office phone. For example, if someone is working from their laptop with a headset, the calls will also ring there. No calls left behind!

36. Speed Dial Capabilities

Phones have different capabilities for storing numbers that you can quickly call. Some phones only allow you to set up 3 speed dial numbers, while others let you set up to 9. You can even set up 9 speed dial numbers on Skype.

37. Video Conferencing

This feature lets you have meetings with video and audio. There can be two or more users at different locations.

38. Voicemail

Voicemail can be recorded on your phone or on a separate device. You can also receive voicemails on VoIP systems and listen to them by clicking on an audio file.

39. Voicemail to Email Feature

Some VoIP systems send you an email notification when you receive a voicemail. You can then click on the audio file and listen to the message.

Guess what? I’ve got some exciting news for you! There’s this cool new feature that can actually turn your voicemail into written words. It’s like magic! Let me explain how it works.

Just like on your cell phone, where you can talk into the microphone and have your words transformed into a text message, you can now do the same thing with your voicemail. Isn’t that awesome?

Instead of converting voice to text on your cell phone, this feature converts your voicemail into written words and sends it to your email. It’s a fantastic option for busy people like you and me, who need to handle multiple phone calls at once while also keeping track of the messages left by other callers.

40. VoIP Phone Calls

Let’s talk about Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP. Instead of using a regular phone line, with VoIP, you make calls using the internet. It’s pretty cool, right? To get all the special features, like crystal-clear voice quality and video calling, you’ll need a fast internet connection. But don’t worry if you don’t have super-fast internet. As long as you can send emails, you can still use VoIP.

Choosing the Best Phone System for Your Small Business

If you’re a business owner with just a few employees or even if you’re a one-person show, you might not need all the fancy features that come with a big communications system. But if you’re hoping to grow your business, it’s a good idea to think ahead and choose a phone system that can grow with you. That way, you’ll have the best tools to help your business succeed.

During the pandemic, all of us had to get creative and adapt to new ways of doing business. And that meant using technology to communicate when we couldn’t meet face to face. Even if you’re running a small business, you might find yourself interacting with bigger companies. So having a reliable and efficient phone system is really important.

Choosing the Right Office Phone System for You

Back in the day, everyone used something called PSTN, or public switched telephone network. It was basically a landline for our phone calls.

Nowadays, we have a new and improved way to make our calls – through VoIP! But what is VoIP? It’s a fancy way of saying that we use the internet to talk instead of a traditional phone line. And let me tell you, the sound quality is just as good as using a landline.

But that’s not all! There’s also something called a cloud phone system. It may sound complicated, but it’s actually really easy to use in business. The great thing about it is that there are many different ways to access it, so it’s perfect for businesses of all sizes.

Now, you might be wondering if it’s time to get rid of your landline. But wait! What if you’ve had the same phone number for years? Well, guess what? You can actually keep that number and switch it over to a VoIP service. Pretty cool, huh?

Other Phone System Options for Your Office

So here’s the deal: some features might be just right for certain businesses. Let me tell you about a couple of them:

Time-based Routing

With this feature, you can route calls to different locations based on time zones. Pretty handy, huh?

Unified Messaging

Now, this one is cool. It allows you to receive different types of messages in one inbox. No more jumping between different places to check your messages!

Baby Monitor

Okay, listen to this. Some phones can actually connect to a baby monitor. Isn’t that neat? Especially useful if you’re working from home with a little one.

Now, let’s talk about how business phone systems actually work, shall we?

There are two main ways phone systems work – through traditional phone lines or over the internet. If it’s over the internet, you have two options: cloud-based or VoIP. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, by the way.

Now, you might be wondering, why would a business need a telephone in the office?

Well, here’s the thing. Even if a business doesn’t use the telephone in the traditional way, having an actual telephone in the office can still come in handy. You never know when you might need it!

Let me give you an example. So, your business phone receives calls, right? Well, with a cool digital attendant, those calls can be directed to where they need to go. You can even set it up to redirect calls to another phone or a cell phone.

But, let’s not forget the good ol’ business telephone that sits in the office. It’s like the central command that sends incoming calls to the right place.

Now, let’s talk about the different kinds of business phone systems, shall we?

There are three main types: landline (PSTN), VoIP, and cloud-based.

A cloud-based system is pretty neat. It sends voice and info over the internet. And guess what? You can access all that info from anywhere! Yup, on your fancy cell phone or any other device.

Wait, what exactly is a cloud-based phone system, you ask?

Let me tell you about this cool thing called a cloud-based phone system. It’s a system that sends voice and data over the internet and stores all that info in the Cloud. Wanna know the best part? You can access this Cloud information using all sorts of devices, as long as they have an internet connection.

Using the Cloud is super convenient because it doesn’t matter what kind of device you have – a cell phone, tablet, laptop – as long as you’ve got an internet connection, you can get to your information. How awesome is that?

Now, what exactly are VoIP phone systems?

Well, there’s a bunch of phone system providers out there using this fancy thing called VoIP. It’s a system that lets you communicate over the internet, and guess what? It’s often cheaper than the traditional phone systems we’re used to.

  • RingCentral
  • GoToConnect
  • 8×8
  • Verizon Digital Voice
  • Magic Jack for Business