Top Ten VoIP Features for Small Businesses
VoIP services have leveled the communications playing field for small businesses, allowing even the smallest startup access to enterprise-grade technology. Before IP communications, only large enterprises could afford a PBX system, which allowed for advanced call routing, forwarding, and auto-attendant features. Today, those features and many more are available to businesses of all sizes.
IP Communications Supports Small Businesses
IP communications supports universal access to advanced business telephony by integrating voice signals onto the data network. This innovation makes it possible for small businesses to leverage their own data network, either buying IP software or buying IP access via hosted VoIP services. Hosted VoIP services typically allow customers to add and subtract telephone system features as needed, making IP communications affordable for small businesses.
Ten VoIP Features for Small Business
Here’s a look at the ten most important VoIP features for small businesses, from basic to next-generation:
- Call Routing and Forwarding supports remote access for a mobile workforce. Features include “Find Me-Follow Me” ringing, which forwards calls from office desk phone to PDAs, laptops, home phones, and more.
- Automated Call Distribution helps small businesses make the most of their contact center staff, by automating call distribution to the best available agent.
- Data Integration links the telephone system with customer relationship management (CRM), inventory, and sales cycle systems.
- Auto Attendant routes calls to a standard greeting, voicemail, or to a self-service directory.
- 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.
- Conferencing. Today’s VoIP business telephone systems feature instant conferencing via unified communications technology, as well as video and Web conferencing applications.
- Voicemail. Advanced VoIP voicemail services feature unified messaging, which sends messages as an audio recording or an email. Users access voicemail from any communications device, including PDAs, laptops, and home phones.
- Wed-Based Administration Interface allows users to set call and routing preferences, as well as make moves, adds, and changes.
- Unified Communications Collaboration Tools help small business workers collaborate with partners, clients, and colleagues worldwide. Features include document sharing, screen sharing, virtual whiteboarding, wikis, and business “social networking” applications.
- Presence Management helps small business employees work together across geographical distances. The presence tool identifies who is available and the best means of contacting them (phone, email, IM).
Today’s small businesses face logistical challenges as they compete in the global marketplace. Lacking the global office network of large enterprises, small businesses rely on their data networks to bridge the geographical divide. Hosted VoIP services afford small businesses access to both basic and advanced IP communications features, bringing together remote colleagues and supporting relationships with business partners and customers worldwide.