15 phone system features for every business27 January 2021
With telecommunications tech constantly evolving, small businesses are relishing in acquiring the latest business phone system tools, previously only afforded by large organisations.
If you’re planning to upgrade your phone system this year, or you’re starting out fresh and need a comprehensive system to keep your business running smoothly, then make sure you read on. We’ve saved you time doing the research by compiling the must-have phone features for 2021.
The following list is a great starting point to get you thinking about the type of phone features that may be relevant for your business needs.
1. Welcome message
If your business receives a regular flow of customer calls, it’s likely that when someone calls your business they’ll be placed in a queue. Rather than make your customers listen to the phone ring, you can pre-record a greeting which advises them you’re experiencing a large number of calls and that you’ll attend to them shortly. The average length of a phone greeting is around 15 seconds, so just remember to keep it short and sweet.
2. Call queues
Take your greeting a step further and provide your customers with automated call queue messages that advises them how far along the queue they are, and the estimated waiting time. Keeping customers in the loop with call queue, is one way to prevent them from hanging up if their call isn’t being answered straight away.
3. Auto attendant
Another way to greet your customers when they call – particularly if you don’t have a receptionist to answer all your incoming calls, is to use an auto attendant. With no physical operator required, your customers will be greeted by a pre-recorded message and select the reason for their call via the menu options. They’ll then be put through to the corresponding department or extension who will attend to their call.
Automated attendants are a standard feature of business phone systems. They can help improve customer satisfaction by directing them to the right person from the get go. And all without you needing to hire a receptionist.
4. Auto ring back
Business phone systems are so sophisticated these days that if your line is busy, it can call a customer back once the phone line is free. It saves the customer from having to wait on hold, or calling back another time to try and get through to the person they want to speak with.
5. Extension dialling
If you have a number of people in the office, then you need to have phone extensions. This will allow you to transfer calls easily to another line, be it internally or externally. It also means you can set up an auto attendant to best point callers to the right person by dialling the relevant extension.
6. Call transfers
The call transfer feature allows users to forward a phone call that’s in progress to a different phone. Calls can be transferred to another extension, mobile phone or external number, which ensures quicker response times for the customer.
7. Call forwarding
If you or any of your staff are always on the go, then the ability to forward your calls to mobile or another device before it hits your voicemail is very useful. This feature works particularly well for any business that has a sales team, or for those who often work remotely. You can set it up so that the call rings all your devices simultaneously, or have them ring in your chosen sequence such as office line first, then your mobile and if you still don’t answer it can go to voicemail.
8. Mobile twinning
Let your team’s productivity soar! Setting up mobile twinning is great if you can’t always track down your staff or they forget to forward their calls. Mobile twinning pairs your desk phone to your mobile phone, so when you ring an extension it will ring both the staff member’s extension and their mobile phone at the same time. This is also ideal for employees who move around the office a lot throughout the day, such as IT staff, your sales team or maintenance.
9. Voicemail to email
A very common and convenient feature built into business phone systems today is having a voicemail to email feature. This records voicemail messages and attaches them as an audio file sent directly to your email inbox, along with the voicemail message transcribed in written format, so you have the option to read the voicemail instead. It also sends other important details such as the date and time of the call and the caller ID.
If you’re running a VoIP phone system, you can easily return your calls straight from your desktop. What’s also handy is you can forward the voicemail to another team member, should you need them to call the customer back.
10. On hold music or messages
No business phone system should be without on hold music or messages. There’s nothing worse than silence or pushing the mute button to put a customer on hold. This can too easily make the customer think you’ve dropped their call, leading them to hang up on you.
Having targeted messages for your customers to listen to while they’re on hold is a great branding opportunity and can also inform them more about your business while they wait.
11. Ring groups
Also known as a hunt group, this feature automatically diverts an incoming call to ring across several extensions either simultaneously or in a series until the phone call is answered. So, if you have a number of employees within a team – say for example in accounting, and someone calls to speak with the accounts department, the call can be directed to everyone within the team, and whoever is available at the time can pick up the call. This is a great way to ensure calls are not left unanswered.
12. Instant messaging
Some phone systems have supporting mobile and desktop apps with instant messaging (IM) applications. Similar to SMS messaging, you can type a message and send it instantly to a co-worker. It’s great if you need a quick reply about something without having to pick up the phone, which can sometimes be an inconvenience or email, which may take longer to receive a response.
13. Conference calling
If you need to have conversations or meetings with multiple people who are in different locations, then having conference calling or video conferencing set up on your business phone system is a must. You’ll be able to chat with others at the same time, using just the one line via a dial-in number.
14. Call recording
Many VoIP phone systems can record calls. The audio is saved in cloud storage and allows you to refer back to the conversation at a later date. Businesses use call recording for training purposes and as a means of improving customer service.
15. Real time reporting
Having access to call data in real-time can provide your business with valuable insights. You’ll be able to see the number of calls as they happen, including how long a typical call lasts for, who answers the most calls, which calls result in leads and so forth. Plus, you can also use these real-time analytics to manage your call flow. If you see that one employee has a long queue, you can divert some of their calls to another employee. This means your incoming caller won’t need to spend more time in the call queue.
Looking for a phone system packed with features to propel your business? At Business Telecom, we offer complete small business phone system solutions to meet your communication needs. Get in touch with us today to get started.