Business phone systems
Basic telephony functions
Most phone systems offer basic telephony functions that give your business flexibility in making and receiving calls. In addition to making and receiving calls, other important small business phone functions include:
- call redirection
- conference calling
- call logging
- call barring
- sending faxes
Essential office phone features
Voicemail is a core telephony function. It allows callers to leave messages while you're away from the phone or on another call. You can store, redirect and access voicemails remotely. You should use voicemail as a temporary measure only; leaving it on for long periods or not responding to messages can damage your customer relations. If you plan to be away from your phone for a while, think about using call redirection.
Call redirection automatically reroutes calls received on one phone to another. For example, you could redirect calls received at the office to employees who work from home, or to salespeople visiting clients, ensuring that calls from potential customers are answered.
Conference calling allows you to work collaboratively when businesses or colleagues are on different sites. It lets you conduct telephone calls involving more than two people - a useful way of coordinating work on projects involving different teams or businesses.
Call logging is used to record the number, timing and duration of calls made from each extension. This helps to ensure that your phone system is used appropriately. You can use call logging to monitor productivity in departments where phone calls are a core business activity, such as customer service or sales departments.
Call barring restricts access to certain numbers, allowing you to control the use of your phone system. For example, you can use call barring to stop employees dialling overseas or premium-rate numbers.
The ability to send faxes is still important, eg for sending urgent documents that you do not hold electronically. However, document scanning and email are increasingly replacing this function. See more on the benefits of computer telephony integration.
Advanced and call centre telephone features
Businesses with more complex needs, such as call centres, may benefit from a range of additional features to help them manage their workflow. These may be call recording, automatic attendants or automatic call distribution, or any other features that help with handling higher volumes of incoming calls.