Your business phone system is a mission critical tool, so it’s imperative to pick the best system for your business, not only for today, but for the next few years. With so many competing products on the market, it’s easy to get caught up with the unusual features and tools you hear about. But, as with everything, first you need to make sure you have the basics covered. Then, it will make it easy to distinguish between the differences (and price points) with the unusual or advanced features. Here are 10 key features to look for in a phone system for your business virtual PBX.

PBX VoIP Attributes

Here are the basic phone features that most businesses use on an ongoing basis.

1. Call Detouring

Call forwarding enables inbound calls to be forwarded to another phone, including a mobile phone, home phone, a co-worker’s phone or an assistant’s. Some forwarding features employ a hunt group methodology that forwards the call to a sequence of phone numbers until it’s answered, or a final number to leave a voice mail.

2. Conferencing

Phone conferencing features enable multiple extensions to connect for a multi-person discussion. It’s important to ask what the maximum number of lines is that can be included in the conference, particularly for the conference features that is built into the phone itself. Many phones just allow for two additional callers.

3. Voice Mail

Voice mail features come with virtually every phone system on the market today, but there are some variations on what’s provided. Here are few key features to look for:

• Remote accessibility to messages. You should have a way to get your messages, whether you are in the office or at a remote location. Whether the message feature is on the phone itself, or you use a remote voice mail system, you should be able to access your messages anytime and from any place.

• Ability for caller to leave a long message. Even though long winded voicemail messages can be tiring, in a business setting, you do not want to cut off your caller while they’re leaving a message by forcing restrictions on voice mail length.

• Call greetings. Having a couple different pre-recorded greetings that can be played during different occasions, such as when you are on the other phone line or out of the office, shows a professional attention to detail, and can make it efficient so you don’t have to constantly change your greeting as circumstances change.

4. Hunt Group

A hunt group is useful for important inbound calls, such as sales and customer service inquiries, that you do not want to go to voicemail. Hunt groups can be configured so that a group of local extensions ring in unison for inbound calls, or the incoming call is automatically routed to the first available extension in the group. And if that extension does not answer, the call is quickly routed to next free extension until the call is answered. This is particularly important for inbound sales inquiries – it’s never a good idea to make potential customers work hard or even wait to do business with you.

5. Call-on-Hold-music/greeting

Is hold music important? Studies show that it is. In a study conducted by
If callers hear music, they’ll tend to remain on the line for 30 seconds longer than if they hear silence. And 85% to 88% of callers prefer on-hold messages to silence.1 Ideally, your business does not put callers on hold at all, but the reality is, this is going to happen. So, it’s a good idea to keep them engaged with music or some kind of messaging.

6. Caller ID

Most business people do not have the time to answer every inbound call or solicitation that comes in, which is why caller ID is en essential phone system feature. Many sales people will block their phone numbers when making sales call in attempt to over ride caller ID. Nevertheless, it’s an important feature in IP PBX to have to be more efficient.

7. Call-Muting

The ability to mute your VoIP phone is important for a variety of reasons, including privacy in a conference call setting or simple to cut out background noise for the people who are not speaking but are participating in group calls. The mute button should be obvious and easy to access.

8. Headset-Enabled

Business phones should also be equipped to work with a standard hands-free head set.

9. Speed-Dialing and Quick-Redialing

Speed dialing is a basic feature that should be used regularly. In fact, employees should all be trained on inputting often-called numbers into speed dial because it’s far more efficient across the board than having multiple people looking up multiple phone numbers every day. Redial is also a useful tool, particular for conference or client calls if there’s a disconnection.

10. Auto-Attendant

An auto attendant ensures that your inbound calls are always responded to, even if your staff is too busy to answer the phone or during off hours. In today’s environment, a PBX for business that does not have some kind of automated phone attendant is often considered “small fry” or even unprofessional. Auto attendants serve as stand-in receptionists and can come with a variety of customization tools, such as the ability to offer callers touch-tone options that route to specific people or extensions (through an automated directory), or different messages, including business hours and directions.

Author's Bio: 

Technology specialist at therealpbx.com ‘Adom Brown' is a specialist in Small Business PBX systems. The Real PBX is a pioneer in providing Hosted PBX Services that deliver business class voice quality, real time customer assistance, scalable office Business Phone system, Hosted PBX Systems, Virtual PBX and more. Their enterprise class Hosted PBX VOIP include top notch features like Unified Communication.