The number of features available in enterprise phone systems can be overwhelming. Most small businesses will not use all of the features available, but some features are indispensable. The following features should be part of any small business phone system:
Auto attendant provides many of the advantages of a receptionist, without the staffing cost. Callers usually hear a recorded or digitized greeting, and then they can either enter an extension number or use a directory search. If the caller does not want to transfer to an extension or voicemail, then they can use a menu option or enter 0 to receive further assistance.
Call forwarding is more than simply passing a call on to an alternative number. There are now find-me or follow-me options that can change the call forwarding options based on a schedule. For example, find-me call forwarding can be set up to ring a series of numbers simultaneously or in sequence until the recipient is found. Follow-me call forwarding uses the recipient’s schedule to determine where to route calls.
Company directories are helpful for any small business. A company directory helps create the image of a larger business, and it suggests to callers that customer service is important. Most company directories allow searching by name, but other possibilities are search by office location or department.
DID provides callers a number that appears to be a direct connection to the party they are calling. This is helpful for professionals and other business people who need direct contact with their clientele. Sometimes a caller would rather reach the recipient or their voicemail directly, without having to speak with a receptionist or go through an auto attendant. DID also gives businesses the flexibility to assign their own phone numbers.
Voicemail to email is becoming a standard feature of small business phone systems. When callers leave voicemail messages, they are captured as an audio file. That audio file is then sent to the recipient’s email. This way the recipient is notified of the message and receives its content without having to be in the office or call into the voicemail system. This not only reduces response time to voicemails, but it can also increase productivity by providing a more immediate interface with voicemail. Messages are also available as email attachments for future reference.
Make sure these features are part of the must-have features list for any small business phone system.