If you run a small business, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems are built to be your new best friend.
There are plenty of reasons why — very little hardware investment, increased mobility, lower monthly costs — but one that’s often overlooked is how many features you get to improve your productivity and create a better experience for your customers.
Especially when your business is growing or just starting out, a little extra polish can be the difference between explosive success and getting lost among the competition.
To give you a better idea of VoIP’s everyday benefits, we’ve put together this list of the 4 best features for small businesses.
There’s a common misconception that Auto Attendants make a business seem “impersonal” or “too corporate.” Quite to the contrary, Auto Attendants are the ideal tool for busy small businesses who want to make a great first impression on every call.
Auto Attendants present callers with a friendly introduction and then a clear, concise menu of their options. Rather than bogging down your team with basic questions or transfers to other employees, callers can immediately get the info they need or connect with the right person right away.
Plus, with a VoIP system, updating your Auto Attendant options or changing the recording is so easy anyone can do it in minutes. No waiting for IT or manually updating devices. Just make your changes, hit save, and get back to your day.
Even if your business is still young and scrappy, having an Auto Attendant starts every new call with a sense of professionalism.
When each member of your team wears many hats, chances are they’re also taking many types of calls.
Just how it sounds, Call Groups are a feature that rings multiple devices when you receive an incoming call. That way, even if your receptionist is busy, or the next person, or even the next person — you can still make sure every customer gets the attention they deserve.
With a VoIP system, Call Groups become even more powerful because your options don’t just end at ringing a few desk phones. You can have calls ring different devices sequentially or forward out to a cell phone if no one is able to answer. If you have remote employees, VoIP systems can include them in Call Groups as well.
Pro tip: Leverage a Prepend Caller ID so those taking calls from multiple groups know which department hat they need to pick up.
When you run a small business, you’re always on the move. There’s always a fire to put out. Someone or something always needs your personal attention. You probably can’t even remember the last time you were able to sit at your own desk and do something as mundane as check your voicemail. Then, when you do, there’s always at least one important thing you missed…
With Voicemail-to-Email, you never have to worry about missing an important message again. Voicemail-to-Email is a nifty little feature with big impact. Basically, it sends you a notification email whenever a new voicemail is left in your inbox. Depending on if you prefer reading or listening, you can even attach the voicemail recording or have the message transcribed right into the email.
These days, customer expectations are higher than ever. They don’t care if you’re a startup or a glocal enterprise. 24/7 support, lightning-fast responses, personalized service — they want it all. Voicemail-to-Email makes sure every member of your team stays in the loop and can get responses out right away.
4. Softphone Applications
Whether you’re working from home or at the office, Softphones are the ideal feature for small businesses looking to save money and stay mobile.
Softphones are VoIP software that recreates the functionality of a desk phone right on your computer screen. That’s right, unless you really prefer the feel of a physical phone, VoIP makes it possible to cut out those hardware costs entirely while also giving your team more functionality.
For instance, FluentStream’s softphone lets you answer calls, send texts, listen to voicemails, and manage your contacts right in the app. Fully remote employees, or even ones just on the road for a few days, can now be just as reachable as they would be at the office.
As workplaces become more focused on how you work rather than where you work, small businesses need to make sure they’re equipped with enough mobility features to stay at the top of their game.
5. Notification Workflows
Notification Workflows is a customizable (honestly deceptively simple) feature that sends out a notification, or series of notifications, whenever a specific event takes place on your phone system. They’re incredibly useful for handling emergency situations, getting quick responses to angry customers, or even just making sure you don’t miss a specific voicemail.
It basically works by telling your phone system “When ____ happens, send me ____.”
That may not sound all that useful at face value, so let’s look at a few examples.
Imagine you’re a customer support manager and you’d like to know every time a frustrated caller leaves your support queue without speaking to an agent so you can call them back right away instead of leaving the situation unresolved.
Or imagine you’re in charge of billing and you want to make sure you know right away when someone leaves you an agitated voicemail.
Finally, for a positive example, imagine you’re on vacation (lucky dog…) but you’d still like to be informed if your team starts struggling with the call volume they’re receiving in your absence.
With Notification Workflows, you can be instantly alerted to all of these situations and many more with an email, SMS, Chrome push notification, etc. Especially for small teams with too much on their plates already, they’re an invaluable tool for keeping problems from becoming emergencies.