Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) eliminates all of those issues. It’s a type of business phone service where connections are established and converted using the internet… not old-fashioned copper wires. That means set-up is almost immediately regardless of where your team is working from.
The best part? There’s no need to revamp your office to have a solid communications tool. VoIP phone systems work with the devices you’ve already got. So long as you’ve got an internet connection, you’re open for business.
So, are you ready to make the switch to business VoIP? Here are the top five VoIP features that your small business needs to search for when choosing a new provider.
1. Local and Toll-Free Numbers
Did you know that 7% of people are likely to answer a call from an unknown caller? That skyrockets to over 27% when the unknown caller is using a local area code that the person recognizes.
It’s important for your small business to have a local number in the area you’re servicing. That way, customers don’t get put-off answering (or making) calls to your business. The fear of being charged extortionate calling charges can be enough for them to ignore your call altogether.
Most business VoIP providers offer free local numbers as standard. But you should also check that they offer toll-free numbers for customers outside your local area.
People calling toll-free phone numbers don’t get charged extra fees when taking long-distance calls. Customers will see that your number is toll-free on your caller ID. So, if you regularly make business calls to and from different locations, using a toll-free one could make people more likely to pick up.
2. Virtual Auto Attendants
Chances are, you don’t have a human receptionist to welcome incoming calls and route them to the person they’re asking to speak with. You don’t need one. An auto attendant aka “virtual receptionist” does that for you.
Auto attendants work by playing a voicemail to people calling your business. It’ll ask what they need help with by asking the caller to press a button on their keypad. That might include:
- Press #1 for opening hours
- Press #2 for directions to your store or office
- Press #3 to be connected with the sales department
- Otherwise, hold the line and get connected to customer support
One of the biggest benefits of having an auto-attendant is that it saves money on staffing costs since you have a virtual receptionist on your team.
Auto attendants also create a professional image for your small business. Incoming callers get an immediate response with the automated greeting. Then, they’re automatically directed without explaining their reason for calling several times.
Plus, they capture the 32% of callers who hang up and never call back. Incoming callers don’t need to head straight to voicemail if a person is unable to take their call. The auto-attendant greets them before they get a chance to hang up.
3. Call Routing and Forwarding
Call routing is another top VoIP feature. It works by automatically transferring inbound calls to a specific device. You can configure them to divert calls based on:
- The location of the person calling
- The agent who’s already spoken to them
- How busy the agent usually taking the call is
- The type of enquiry they’re calling about (based on their auto-attendant response)
It’s a functionality that your VoIP business phone system should have. Call routing reduces call duration and wait times. Instead of asking them to hold the line whilst you figure out which person is best to direct them to, your system knows what to do. It will connect them to the right agent based on the auto attendant’s response. (You can even play hold music whilst their call is diverted to make the experience even more pleasant.)
The end result is increased customer satisfaction. That’s valuable for any small business—especially considering Americans will pay 17% more to do business with companies that have great customer service reputations.
4. Mobile and Desktop App
Earlier, we mentioned that you can use your business’ VoIP system on any device, so long as it has an internet connection. This means your personal mobile phones and laptops can become communication tools—again, saving money on equipment cost.
A personal cell phone can be configured to receive business calls throughout the day using call forwarding. Once the work day is over, or the weekend arrives, toggle the find me/follow me settings for call redirection to “off” and you won’t get disturbed on your personal cell phone outside working hours.
- iPhones or iOS
That way, your team can work from anywhere—including their home, on the way to meetings, and in the office—no matter what device they’ve got with them. An internet connection is all they’ll need to make and receive business-related phone calls.
5. Video and Voice Conferencing
It’s not just voice calls that your small business can process through your VoIP phone system. Some service providers offer even video conferencing, a top VoIP feature that brings your team together.
To host conference calls with more people, you’ll need a conference bridge. With this add-on feature, you can connect with more than three members of your team, at the same time, as often as you’d like, no matter where you (or they) are working from.
Conference calling makes for better collaboration and improves overall communication. The vast majority (94%) of businesses think productivity is boosted with regular video conferences, too. Why? Because with a business VoIP system, you don’t need to rely on messages inside your CRM, nor long and confusing email threads, to get up to date on a project.
Hopping on a conference call and sharing your screen can be managed through your business VoIP system. Hence, they are branded as a unified communications tool: you don’t need many add-ons to get a full communication suite for your small business.
Looking for video conferencing options? Start by comparing popular options such as RingCentral vs. Zoom.
As you can see, there are various VoIP features that small business owners need with their phone service. Make sure your package offers an auto attendant to save on receptionist staffing costs, and double-check there’s compatible software for the devices you’ll be using to take business calls.
Need help finding a VoIP supplier? We’re here to help. Get a free price quote from up to five pre-qualified cloud-based phone providers who each offer these features.