Phone System Features and Functions

Office IP phone system features closeup

This article will explain the different phone system features and functions to help you decide which ones are most important to your business.

There are a number of key factors for any fast growing and successful business to consider. One of these factors is having a flexible phone system in place that can handle several different functions and a highly capable business telephone system will mean a better service for your customers and/or clients as well as making life easier for you and your staff.

There are certain functions of a phone system such as call holding and forwarding that are a necessity for most modern day businesses. As well as these core features there are other functions that can also have a positive impact on the efficiency and productivity of your business depending on the services you offer and sector you operate within. It is because of this that the telephone system you choose for your business can have a huge impact, each system can be designed to fully support every aspect of the day-to-day business operations of small, medium and large organisations.

Whether you are looking for a phone system for your business or to upgrade the system you currently have below we have divided the types of features currently available from providers into two categories – The features that are vital for small to medium sized businesses in the growth stage are listed first. The features and functions covered will have a huge impact on the efficiency and productivity of your staff and professional output of your business. The features we feel are not as vital to new businesses but still important for large organisations are listed in the second category below in the large business section and highlight the telephone system functions that every established business should include.


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Telephone System Functions for SMEs

For any small to medium sized business an efficient and modern phone system is of the utmost importance. Not only is communication vital within an organisation but ensuring your customers receive a high level of service translates directly into sales and has a huge impact on the overall success of your business. With that in mind it is worth taking the time to look at the some of the phone system functions and features available below.

Voicemail: So you were out grabbing a coffee when that all important call came through - no need to worry with voicemail - your client can leave their message which you can pick up remotely whilst walking back to the office. Or if you have a day working from home, you will still be able to dial into your office voicemail to retrieve messages.

Call Logging: This is deemed an important security phone system feature. Call logging keeps a record of all numbers which are dialled from each console within your business telephone network. Often call logging is used to monitor calls that employees are making, or to keep a record of the most frequently dialled numbers from each telephone handset.

Automated Attendant: This informs callers of how long they will wait until their call in answered as well as ensuring customers can reach the correct department through making choices with their telephone keypad. This is a vital aspect of customer service today as people tend to be more impatient over the phone, especially when making customer service calls.

Call Redirect/Forwarding: This is for employees who often work off site. Call forwarding ensures that they are always reachable and in contact with the office. The feature allows for calls to be sent through to a mobile phone, either manually or automatically after so many rings. You can also have your calls forwarded to a colleague to handle.

Integration and Unified Communications: This connects your business telephone system with your office PC and your Internet network, allowing managers use multiple devices and communication channels to interact with colleagues, as well as access records of call durations, number of calls made or received and time spend idle. Users can also access call history for any specific date, as all calls are automatically logged.


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Telephone System Features for Large Business

As expected there are a number of differences between SMEs and large businesses and it is not just the number of employees. The logistics and technology that is responsible for maintaining a large organisation is the biggest difference and this is where the telephone system you choose for your business really matters. With a large business there a number of phone features both staff and customers expect that aid productivity and the professional nature of the work you carry out. Because of this as well as the functions listed above for small to medium sized businesses the phone system you implement should include the features listed above and those expanded on below.

Conference Calling: Allows multiple users to join in the same telephone call. This feature can be invaluable for businesses that have multi sites, or who have colleagues and clients overseas. Conference call is sometimes referred to as a phone meeting.

Digital Phone Directory: Just like a mobile phone, users can programme their business telephone handset to store numbers which are used most frequently. More complex systems allow users to share contacts and to dial numbers directly from a phone book stored on their computer.

Call Recording: Some businesses need to record calls in order to maintain customer service standards and for training purposes. Call recording can be set to record every call, random calls, or calls from specified numbers.

Music on Hold: In large businesses, callers are often kept waiting on the line for a long time. Hold music is thought to make the wait more bearable and the music can be punctuated with announcements about products and services.

Call Barring: Allows telephone system administrators to bar certain numbers so they can not be dialed from with the network. It can also be set to stop users from dialing certain groups of numbers, for instance, overseas numbers, premium rates or mobile numbers.

Faxing: Although faxing is becoming a bit last decade what with scanning and emailing, there are still occasions when faxes need to be sent. Having this function on your phone system will give you another option should the scanner have meltdown.

Encoder: In a telephone communication system, an encoder is a device – or integrated circuit – created by a codec. This mechanism uses predetermined algorithms in order to change either a signal or data into code.This allows the device to reduce any complexities found in the data, as well as eliminating any unnecessary signals.

Office Phone Features

Choosing the Right Features

Your business needs should be established carefully before any decision is made over the choice of phone system features for your office. It's also a good idea to not only think of the current requirements but to also consider any projected growth in personnel and services over the following two or three years and this is particularly important for medium sized businesses who are really looking to accelerate growth. This projected growth can then be factored into any decision about phone systems particularly the extension capabilities of the system and how many lines it will support.

Fortunately, with a modern VoIP phone system, adding or removing features from your service package is usually as easy as checking boxes in your VoIP account admin dashboard. Without additional hardware being needed for new virtual lines (it's simply a matter of adding another connection to the office Internet network) and different functionality, phone system solutions can be tailored to your specific needs quickly and inexpensively. This also insures you against investing in equipment that might soon be outdated and need replacing - with hosted phone systems, the provider takes care of the hardware servers, so you won't have to worry about costly maintenance and upgrades over time, even if your business communications needs grow or change.

Next Steps

To get free, no-obligation quotes from the UK's top providers on phone systems with exactly the feature set your business requires, then fill out the form at the top of this page and a select group of suppliers will get in touch with you to provide you with more information and help so you can find the perfect spec for the right price.

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