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Must-have features of a VoIP phone service

Here's a breakdown of the must-have features and an outline of a few available plans.

Finding the right VoIP phone service to help your company can be tricky. What features will work best and make the company more efficient? VoIP offers the traditional voice services to keep your business communicating, plus many offer access to advanced features that can help staff to be more productive. As an IT professional, you can streamline the phones and internet with VoIP into one system, saving you time and your business money. Busy businesses need different features. Here's a breakdown of the must-have features and an outline of a few available plans.

VoIP must-have features

Having the right features in a VoIP phone system can make your business become more successful. No matter the size of your business, you want to be able to run things in the office as efficiently as possible. VoIP can help you do that. Beyond the basics of voicemail, here are the best features to consider when choosing a VoIP plan.

  • Call routing and forwarding is an absolute must. This feature supports remote access and depending on the plan, allows employees to connect at the office, at home, and on the road across a number of communication devices. Some plans support voicemail forwarding to emails and phones.
  • If your business has a call center, automated call distribution can help you make the most of the contact center staff by automating call distribution to the best available agent. Another option is an auto attendant that can route calls to a standard greeting, voicemail, or to a self-service directory.
  • To improve efficiency, data integration links the telephone system with customer relationship management (CRM), inventory, and sales cycle systems. Some companies offer inbound call screens that show the customer's entire relationship with your business.
  • Directory Service relies on interactive voice recognition (IVR) technology to support automated directory access and call routing. Callers navigate the directory system by speaking a name or extension number.
  • The ability to have conference calls is one of the most important VoIP features. Many VoIP business telephone systems feature instant conferencing via unified communications technology, as well as video and Web conferencing applications.

Some business VoIP plans

The cost of monthly VoIP plans range depending on the features and the provider. It might a better to idea to determine what features will benefit you the most and then choose a plan. Instead of making your business fit a plan, find a plan that fits your business.

  • The AT&T Business in a BoxTM VoIP plan provides an AT&T managed device which includes the router, VPN termination, LAN switch, on-premises Wi-Fi access point, firewall, analog gateway and outbound voice backup. Depending on your needs, you can choose from a data-only, cloud-based or premise-based system. Other features include VIP routing, conferencing and remote worker/mobility support, and "find me/follow me" service that allows you to take calls on the go. The admin and end-user web portals allow for easy call management. It also includes unlimited on-net and unlimited local calling (some plans offer unlimited long distance).
  • 8x8, Inc. offers a number of plans including Virtual Office, Virtual Office Pro and IP Trunking. You can keep your existing phone number. Depending on which plan you consider, features can include an auto attendant, voicemail and extension to extension dialing from any location, a conference bridge, and online meetings with audio, video and content sharing.  Some other features include call recording and internet faxing. Both Virtual and Virtual Office Pro offer an online dashboard for managing calls. You can visit their site and search by your business's needs to see what they can offer your business.
  • The Executive Plan from Momentum is another VoIP business plan available. Employees can be reached anywhere, any time and on any device. You'll never have to give out your personal number and can extension dial from your cellphone. An auto attendant is available with call routing options and customizable, personalized greetings. You can also send virtual faxes and direct voicemails to email accounts. The plans are flexible and allow you to choose from unlimited and per-minute rates.

There are number of VoIP providers and plans in the market right now. Features, necessary equipment and hosting are all important factors as you consider which VoIP plan is the best fit for your business. Some plans allow you to keep your current phones while some require the use of IP phones. VoIP is a great option because you can consolidate your business' utilities by eliminating traditional phone services entirely for a single, merged network.

Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as phone services and social media trends. She is a web content writer for Business.com.

6 comments
Zigma5
Zigma5

All these inclusive services eliminate the need to buy and maintain an expensive phone system, and give everything you need at an affordable fixed monthly cost. Zigma5

michaelharris
michaelharris

IP phones are really important for companies who make a lot of calls daily because with IP phones, the cost of the call will be cheaper. IP phones usually belong to a telephone system. I can recommend Ozeki Phone System XE, Ive heard about it before and sounded good. http://www.ozekiphone.com/what-is-ip-phone-345.html --> this page can help you discover IP phones :) To understand IP phones better, you can watch a video about it.

platteriver33
platteriver33

From my experience, affording VOIP solutions is always hampered by Vendors nickel and diming clients. If your business acquires a VOIP solution, ensure there's a provision for scalability. New releases tire quickly and costs avoid making VOIP a favorable option.

AlexCommSpeak
AlexCommSpeak

A lot of times, the most advertised way is the most expensive one. For business that have large overseas volume, looking up wholesale VoIP terminations services can be a huge advantage. I suggest doing some shopping before turning your company's call center to VoIP.

AlexCommSpeak
AlexCommSpeak

Absolutely agree with your point. A wholesale provider must be able to scale up quickly, allowing for a Call Center gain more bandwidth quickly. Scalability is one of the key factors CommPeak emphasizes, exactly because Wholesale VoIP termination cannot be limited. Another issue is to make sure you're contacting a strictly B2B VoIP termination service, avoiding being just one of a thousand clients, despite requiring the attention a Call Center should get from a VoIP provider

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