There is no doubt that a Hosted PBX phone system has a wider range of features than the traditional PBX. Apart from the common features, such as: Caller ID, Call Waiting and Call Transfer, a Hosted PBX offers many additional highly useful ones.
Here are only some of them, which will certainly benefit your business by turning your office phone system from a simple way of communication to an efficiency and customer satisfaction tool.
This is probably the most popular feature of a Hosted PBX, which allows efficient call routing and significant savings. Interactive Voice Response, also known as the Auto Attendant feature, provides the caller with a list of choices designed to connect to the desired extension much faster. As such, the Auto Attendant decreases pressure on the company’s receptionist by eliminating the need to filter and distribute calls. Multiple IVR trees can be used if you want to offer the callers with more than one language, or to send calls to sub-departments.
Extensions or direct numbers can be reached just by listening to the personalized menu and selecting the number corresponding to the contact. Or, even better – without having to listen to the entire list of choices – callers are allowed to seek the right staff member using a smart Dial-by-Name capability.
This Virtual PBX feature will allow you to set up different time patterns for call handling. You can configure your call routing policies according to your business hours, and route calls to different on-site and remote employees. Usually, the options are: by hours, by weekday, by date or by week time.
Customized Music on Hold
Music on Hold is a great Hosted PBX tool to provide your callers with a better experience when reaching your business and no one is available to take the call immediately. Most businesses opt for calm, soothing, Buddha-bar-like music, but you can also choose to have recordings telling your caller about your newest promotions, location, etc.
This feature is crucial to ensure that no calls are missed even in the event of an Internet or power outage. It provides the capability to automatically redirect your incoming calls to another destination (another phone number or extension) when your extension/ business number is offline.
Manager Call Monitoring
Manager Call Monitoring, known also as Barge-in, allows you to listen to an ongoing conversation taking place between one of your company’s lines and an outside line, or between two internal lines. You can access the call with two-way audio (call participants can hear you), use the Whisper option to communicate with one of the parties, or the Spy option, without those persons being aware they are being listened to.
The Hunt Group distributes a call coming on one number to multiple devices, ringing all idle users, until the call is picked up. The system can be configured to ring simultaneously (all users at the same time), sequentially (if the first user is not available, ring the next available agent), or in a cycle (in a loop).
Find me/ Follow me
This service allows you to define a phone number which is alerted sequentially or simultaneously with your VoIP phone number upon receiving an incoming call. If you do not answer, the call is released and the service moves on to calling the next number.
Call Identifiers enable users to identify incoming calls from their office phone number when their line is forwarded or Find me/ Follow me is active. A prefix entry will be added at the beginning of the actual Caller ID of the calling party to inform the user that the call was intended for the business line.
Or, you can set identifiers for internal use. For example, if you have extensions grouped by departments and you have employees who answer to more than one queue, you can have the name of the department precede the Caller ID (i.e.: Sales: John Doe).
Why use an additional speaker system throughout the building when you can use the phones as speakers? You can set up an extension that will send intercom calls over the speaker system integrated in your IP Phones. If you want to relay a message to some or all employees in your company or a group, you only need to dial the paging extension and the other parties will hear your voice on their speakerphones without the need to pick up a call. You may choose between two-way audio, so that the other parties can talk back, and one-way audio, when your voice is sent to the devices without the possibility of receiving an answer.
Conferencing allows multiple users to meet in the same call, no matter their location. Your Conference Room can be an option in your IVR menu, or can be configured with a different number. You can even have different local, Toll Free or international numbers assigned to your conference room, so that each attendee calls a local number.
This Hosted PBX feature is crucial if you wish to increase the security of your lines and ensure that they are not used by anyone outside your network. IP restriction is a feature that allows you to restrict the access to the service to only one IP address.
This is an easy way to link your business phone system with your website and show care to your customers by calling them instead of them calling you. It basically is a website script that you add on your website. Your website will ask the user to enter his callback number and will connect to your Hosted PBX in order to make an outgoing call to the specified number, and ring in your office at the same time so you can pick up the call. Make sure that someone is available to pick up though, a customer receiving a call from you and hearing a voicemail greeting instead won’t be very beneficial for your image.
Updated contact lists are difficult to maintain, especially for large businesses. A Company Directory provides a full list of all the active extensions and their users, facilitating internal communication; once an extension user name changes, or a new extension is added, the information is updated in the directory without any additional actions. Users no longer need to search the contact information in other systems and dial numbers manually. Also, the Company Directory will ease the access for the callers, as they will be able to reach an extension by entering a part of the user’s name.
Most businesses don’t know what each of their Hosted PBX features does and don’t use the phone system to its maximum potential, so make sure you read about the ones you don’t haven’t activated yet and see how you could use them in your business context.