Hosted PBX features explained (2)

While in our previous article we’ve tackled some of the Hosted PBX features such as Answering Rules, Call Forwarding, Call Identifiers, Call Park or Call Queuing, today we continue our journey to discover everything there is to know about other features, all as popular as the first ones.

Distinctive Ring

Also known as: Ident-A-Call, Smart Ring

With Cloud PBX having so many options to group calls and users there is a need for employees to know on which number they are being called. The Distinctive Ring feature allows the configuration of different ringtones for internal, external, transferred calls or queues.

Do Not Disturb

This feature treats all incoming calls as if the line of the user is busy.

Emergency Redirect

Also known as: Call Forwarding Unavailable, Call Forwarding Out of Reach

Emergency Redirect provides the option to send incoming calls to another phone number or extension when a phone line is not in service (such as in the case of an Internet outage or power outage).

Find me / Follow me

Also known as: Single Number Reach, Sequential Ring / Simultaneous Ring

This service provides the option to have multiple phone numbers ringing at the same time or sequentially with the main business phone line. When Sequential Ringing is activated the system rings the first number and if there is no response the call is sent to the next number.

Hide My Number

Also known as: Call Block, Caller ID Blocking

When activated, the Caller ID Blocking option sends all or selected calls as anonymous by restricting the identity of the caller.

Hunt Group

Also known as: Ring Group, Call Hunting, Distribution Groups, Line Hunting

This service creates various groups within a VoIP phone system, usually according to each department of the company. The Hunt Group can be configured to ring sequentially (when the first user is not answering or already in a call, the call is sent to the next user), simultaneous (all at the same time) or in a loop.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Also known as: Auto Attendant, Virtual Interactive Voice Response, Automated Attendant

The IVR is probably the most important feature of Virtual PBX due to its wide spread use; almost all companies currently have this system greeting their callers. The IVR (Auto Attendant) plays an audio recording inviting the caller to select from multiple options (for example: For Customer Care please press 1, for Sales press 2, etc.). Once the selection is made the caller is directed to the chosen destination, which can be an extension, a direct number, a Hunt Group, a Call Queue, a voicemail box or even a phone number outside the PBX system.

Intercom

Also known as: Paging, Push to Talk

The Intercom is a modern version of the well known loudspeaker system. The business phone system send calls over the internal voice network and delivers them using the speakerphone feature of IP Phones. The admin user dials an extension which makes an outgoing call to all users in the group, and relays the message without the employees having to pick up the phone. The message could be informative only – where the receiving parties’ microphones are muted – or two-way call where the employee can speak back.

IP Restriction

A crucial aspect of every phone system is its security, and the IP Restriction is one feature that significantly contributes to it, by making it possible to call or receive calls only for phones having the company’s IP address.

Manager Call Monitoring

Also known as: Barge-in, Call Mentoring, Call Monitoring

A very popular feature among the call center-type businesses, Manager Call Monitoring provides a supervisor with the option to listen in on an ongoing conversation happening on the company’s voice network. This option can be used to train or evaluate employees, while its “Whisper” option allows the supervisor to talk to the employee and give indications without the other party hearing.

Ringout

Also known as: Click to Call, Click-to-Talk, Request-a-Call, Call-me-Now

This is a quite new addition to the Hosted PBX feature list thanks to the recent advances of VoIP. It creates a link between a company’s website and its business phone system, allowing the website users to initiate an instant phone call both to his phone number and the business’ phone number. This is usually done by having a field on the website where the user enters its phone number, and a button to initiate the call (like ”Call me Now”)

Selective Outbound Destinations

Also known as: Authorization codes

If a company wants its employees to have different types of access to its phone system, the Selective Outbound Destinations does just that. The administrator selects the users who are allowed only to receive calls, to make only internal calls, only to a certain prefix or to have access to all destinations, including international ones.

Speed Dial

Also known as: Abbreviated Dialing, Speed Call

Speed Dials are short codes used to reach a certain phone number or extension without having to dial the entire phone number.

3-Way Call (Three-Way Calling)

Also known as: Conference Calling, N-Way Calling, Teleconference, Group Call

This popular feature connects a third party to a conversation that is already in course. One of the two participants puts the other one on hold while dialing the third number; once the call is picked up the user unifies the two conversations into one call.

Voicemail-to-email

Also known as: Enhanced Voicemail

Besides being a voice messaging box, Voicemail-to-email sends a copy of each voice message left to an email address. The email usually contains the audio file containing the message, as well as details related to the time when it was left, the caller’s phone number and the duration.

Well, this brings our Hosted PBX features series to an end; while VoIP Providers might name them differently, present some of the elements separately or offer only some of them, these are the most important features that you will find in their offering. It is important to identify the ones needed by your company and, if possible, only pay for the necessary ones. Another important aspect is to use all the components of your package to the best of your interest; for that, make sure you read our 8 Secret Tips & Tricks on using VoIP more efficiently guide.