How to Determine your VoIP Feature Needs

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: January 26, 2011

Once you’ve decided to switch to VoIP, the next step is to determine which features will benefit your company the most. They may all seem useful, but if you don’t utilize the feature on a regular basis it may not be within your best interests to pay the additional costs.

You should also keep in mind that high speed internet is generally required when using VoIP. If you don’t have the proper bandwidth available, some of the features listed here may not work as intended.

Some of the advanced features and their benefits:

Conference calls

This allows you to have between four and ten callers in one phone conversation. Employees can participate in meetings on short notice, and don’t have to be in the same location. This may also be useful if some of the employees work from home or need to travel frequently.

Virtual phone numbers

You can use VoIP to create virtual phone numbers for area codes other than your own. This has the potential to be beneficial for companies who tend to receive phone calls from all around the country. The customers simply dials a “local” number that automatically redirects to the phone system in your main office. They don’t have to dial a long distance number, so the customer may be more inclined to call.

Video Conferencing

This allows you to add video to your conference calls. If your company wants to be able to make visual presentations to employees who cannot be present, this feature is a good choice. It also generally inexpensive through VoIP since it costs the same as a phone call.

Auto-Attendant

The auto-attendant provides phone users with a detailed menu that lets them dial by name or extension. This can help to free up the operator since they no longer have to directly connect each phone call. If your customers are regularly experiencing long waits over the phone, you can potentially improve your quality of service by adding this feature.

Phone number portability

This means you get to keep the same phone number no matter your location. The feature is particularly useful for companies who move around on a frequent basis since they don’t have to repeatedly send out their new phone number to their customers.

Recording phone calls

You can use this feature to keep a permanent record of all phone conversations. This can help protect the company from lawsuits, since you will have proof of what happened during a phone call if a customer claims otherwise. Recorded phone calls can also be used to improve customer service, since you can listen to previous calls and observe how your employees interact with the public.

Extra voicemail

You can add additional voicemail boxes beyond the number provided by the package. Many companies prefer to get one for each employee, but this might not be necessary for temp workers.

Voicemail transcription

Many VoIP systems offer the possibility of transcribing voicemail for you. If you have someone in the office performing this task on a regular basis, this feature can free up their time for other duties or eliminate the need for the position entirely.

One final matter to consider are the special packages that may be available. If the hosting service has a package that includes most of the features that you want, choosing it can often save you more money than purchasing the options à la carte.
 

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