It is best to consider what features are important to you now in your business regarding your telephony and then to list off some additional features that would be of benefit in the future when you start planning for a Hosted PBX.
It is interesting to note that while many Hosted PBX providers appear to offer a range of features to suit almost any business application, they are not all made equal. Some may be suitable for starting out, while others are more suited to a larger corporate with many users, so finding the right fit for your business can be more challenging than signing to the first Hosted PBX provider you talk to, but the migration to the right solution can pay dividends for your businesses improvements in telephony.
The most common difference between providers seems to be the costs that vary from provider to provider, these are generally justified with features that may or may not be useful for your business. We have added some insight to the most common features and help to remove some of the confusion in deciding what features your business needs.
Use the following features that are some of the most common amongst many Hosted PBX providers and try to anticipate what features you may need or want before you make contact with providers, this will allow you to be aware before you make that call.
Business phone number
Did you realise that you can have one or more local or national phone numbers, allowing your business to appear more established and legitimate (this is great for businesses that are just getting started).
Each staff member will require their own extension, this generally means that they will also have a handset, softphone, or mobile app to allow them to make and receive calls from anywhere.
Virtual extensions or Follow me
This is where you can connect one or more of your business numbers to forward to your mobile and answer calls just like you would on a regular extension, allowing your staff to be reached even when out of the office.
In order to make sure your callers are not left waiting, this feature allows them to be redirected if your extension is not available to a ring group, this will then send calls to multiple team members at once or in a cascade.
This is great for when you're having a large influx of calls at the same time and customers have to wait for someone to answer the call. By creating call queues you can route callers so that they hear a welcome message and hold music, and even advise them their place in the queue, allowing your staff to manage the callers in an orderly fashion and keeping your callers informed.
One of the most common features for a phone system is the ability to funnel or direct calls to the most appropriate team members, this is achieved by utilising an auto-attendant, which will present callers with a list of options and allowing the caller to select the most appropriate path.
Voicemail to email
Whether it's a call out of hours or a staff member was busy on another call, we are not always able to get every call, that is where voicemail to email is a godsent, it will record the message and send as an email to the appropriate staff members to handle the callers concern or callback.
Some businesses require the ability to record calls for compliance or quality assurance purposes, regardless the requirement it is a vital feature for some businesses.
There are of course many other standard features that are offered by default like, call forwarding, blocking, barring, and caller display. It is best to consult with your Hosted PBX provider to confirm they are able to meet your expectations and deliver your new business phone system that is capable to of supporting your business needs for today and the future.