Many business owners think that the phone system is purely for making and receiving calls and that is all the features you need. However, the phone system is usually where your customers make 1st contact and so a professional image is extremely important. Bad quality phone converations due to poorly designed and implemented systems do not portray a good image to these customers.
Some features to look for are:
- Voicemail - standard with some systems, optional with others. Also, different voicemail systems hold different amounts of message time and allow only a certain number of users to access it at once....hence, pricing is different.
- Auto attendant - good for making a small company sound big (i.e. press 1 for sales, 2 for support....yet all calls end up on the same phone. This feature is available as part of the voicemail option on some systems.
- Music (announcement) on Hold - most systems come with a port for plugging a radio into. This is not exactly legal these days nor is it proffessional. Some systems allow you to place your own message to be played to a caller on hold. This is far more professional and is a way to up-sell.
- Hunt groups - is it better for your business to have incoming calls go to voicemail or forward onto another person?
- Direct Inward Dialling - have the ability for callers to call direct to your staff's extension, freeing up the receptionist's time to perform other tasks. This feature does not suite all business. Note that this feature requires a certainn type of telephone line to operate, but we can sort that out for you.
- Computer Telephony Integration - such as the ability to click on a contact in Microsoft Outlook and your phone sets up the call for you. Or have incoming calls pop up a PC screen showing the details of the customer who is calling and their service history with you company.
This is not a feature that you may need today but it is worth knowing that you have the ability to introduce productivity features in the future with very little capital outlay.
Most people think that they need a sophisticated phone system or Voice over IP system to do this....not so. Some of the smaller and inexpensive solutions have the ability to provide this feature.